Monday, May 29, 2017

Mennonite Stars: Whole Top Designs

Broken Star or Carpenter's Wheel quilt sold at Skinner's Auction.
Binney Collection.

Here's a pattern with no BlockBase number or name, poor thing.
The star block takes up the whole top, a Star of Bethlehem variation.

Date-inscribed 1887
Holstein Collection, IQSCM # 2003-003-0159

These are full-size quilts and should have been indexed under the category Whole Top Designs along with Lone Stars, Center Diamonds....

And these more common Broken Stars. This pattern, broken into many
diamonds is a relative, numbered BlockBase 4007.5.
Capper's Weekly called it Broken Star in 1925, and
that's the name that's stuck.

When I was organizing my Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns I had no published source for a name for the simpler star quilts. And I hadn't seen that many examples. So it's not in there.

The large stars are a regional design, generally from southeastern Pennsylvania Mennonites, about 1880 - 1910. And usually of solid color fabrics. Here's a picture of one called Carpenter's Wheel
from America Hurrah Antiques and the Quilt Engagement Calendar.

An exception to the solid color rule.
The green and red patches are small-scale prints.

Broken Star  (80" square) from Phyllis Haders's collection years ago. 
The whites are prints.

By Mrs. Miller, Pilgrim Roy Collection
Museum of Fine Arts Boston.
More typical solids in green, red and chrome orange.

The pattern is commonly seen as a repeat block quilt. I found plenty of pattern sources and names for the smaller blocks.

#3807,  for example. was published as a repeat block  by the Ladies Art Company about 1890,
when most of these larger single star quilts were made. They called it Dutch Rose, which may have been a reference to the Pennsylvania Germans.

The standard names today are Broken Star or Carpenter's Star.

Pat & Arlen Christ Collection
The standard pattern for the large versions seems to be BlockBase # 3811a or 3811b, which has triangles in the corners.

I gave the Whole Top Version the number 
4007.3 and wrote it in on page 492 of my Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns.

Paulette Peters did a beautiful version in 1979. I found
this at the Nebraska project's files on the Quilt Index.
I was not that surprised to find very few earlier Mennonite
example in the Quilt Index. Few Pennsylvania files are up there.

You can still find this 1981 Yours Truly pattern for a wall quilt online.

Or have BlockBase print out rotary cutting instructions for pattern # 3811a on a large scale.
Wait a minute! I'll do it for you. Here are rotary cutting numbers for a 72" square block.

The program sees the pattern as more complex than I do. For some
reason it thinks the pieces set on the diagonal should be slightly larger. Why?
I'd ignore that.

Here's a summary:

The diamonds are cut from 7-7/8" strips.
The sides are 11-3/8" long.
E goes one way, F another, but I'd ignore that too.

The squares are cut 11-1/8". It gives you two
sizes 11" & 11-1/8". I'd use the larger measurement & trim.

The half-square triangles A are cut from squares cut 11-3/8", sliced into 2 triangles.
And the triangles B & C along the edges are cut from squares cut 16-1/4", sliced into 4 triangles.

73" x 76", online auction.
Early 20th century?

Monday, May 22, 2017

Sugar Loaf as a Square Block

A variation on the star block I showed last week.
This design seems to have been a Southern pattern,
done in the signature shades of chrome orange, blue and brown solids.

Here's a great example in the same colors. No source, just
found it floating around on the internet.

Hearth & Home magazine published the design
as Sugar Loaf in the early 20th century and that
may be the source of some of  the quilts

Here's a block set in sashing of  a light shirting print.

This one might have once been red, white & green.
The problem with the end-of-the-19th-century
solid cottons was their fugitive nature. They often
faded to tan and in this case almost completely to white.

Perhaps 1910-1940/
If you get tired of all those diamonds you could alternate a
simpler similar block.

 Mary Jane Reese Findley, Rusk County, Texas, about 1885.
Texas project & the Quilt Index.

Mary Jane's variation has more diamonds in the triangles--- Hers is set with sashing
in that characteristic Southern brown solid, but most of her diamonds are prints.

One could see the design as related to the triangular block also known as Sugar Loaf

From Cindy's Antique Quilts

Possibly inspired by the classic star of diamonds.

Monday, May 15, 2017

BlockBase 2719: Key West Star

BlockBase 2719
About 1900

This is a full-size quilt so those blocks are pretty large.
I have three examples of this design pieced in similar colors from
the turn of the last century.

But I haven't been able to find a period pattern than might
have inspired the red, white and blue quilts.

The design was published in the 1970s by Jeff & Beth Gutcheon
as Key West Star but these tops are older than that.

The Gutcheon name was probably inspired
by a more common design Key West Beauty,
which is more of a kaleidoscope than a star.

There are several ways you could piece this and come up
with the same graphic results, but none of my ideas here
has a BlockBase number or a name.

As a 4-pointed star block, cutting the white diamonds in half
the long way

As a Four Patch with more pieces but the same look. Blue diamonds cut into 2 triangles.
If you loved set-in seams: as an all over with the blue  and white shapes here as diamonds
rather than pieced of two triangles.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Bleeding Heart

Late-19th-century design from an online auction.
From an ebay listing

Thought to be from Bronxville, New York.

Almost identical to one in Merry Silber's collection, now in Julie's.

The only difference is subtle---in the ebay quilt the blocks are more consistently
oriented north and south. They may indeed be the same quilt with the difference
just the way the ebay quilt was photographed but....

It's a mystery pattern. 
If appliqued it should be on page 72 of my Encyclopedia of Applique
 in the 9.9: Four Miscellaneous elements

A pretty miscellaneous bunch of patterns

Related design from the Cattaraugus County Museum in New York.
Same elements---hearts and diamonds.

This quilt is on display in their quilt show until the end of May.

Here's a variation with five units.
Attributed to Abigail Fairchild Hedges (1785-1863) 
Collection of the Newark Museum

On the reverse of this quilt is a typewritten label:
 "Bleeding Heart. / A Bride's Quilt, made by Abigail Fairchild. / Combination of patch and applique. / Abigail Fairchild born Newton, Ct. 1785,/ married Charles Hedges in Wheeling, (then / Virginia) 1811. / Loaned by Mrs. John Toohy, New Milford, Conn."
It was donated in 1963 by Roy Denslow.

Abigail Fairchild was born in Newton, Connecticut. She married Charles Hedges on January 1, 1811 in the frontier town of Wheeling in western Virginia. Hedges was from Frederick, Maryland. She is buried in Ohio County, West Virginia.

But are these designs appliqued? When you see a floral in a circle check to see if there are seams extending to the edge of the circle.

It would be easy to piece the center.
Beyond that---real show-off piecing.

Related to these pieced designs, perhaps. All three were published in the 20th century as Bleeding Heart.

I came across this photo of a quilt in Bill Volckening's collection.
Hearts surrounded by diamonds & triangles. Another variation on the Bleeding Heart?