Monday, March 26, 2018


The Prairie Farmer is one of the earliest American periodicals to print quilt pattern pictures on a regular basis. Here's the Saw Tooth Bed Quilt sent in by Mrs. Reed in 1886.

She says:
"It is a recreation to me to piece bed-quilts, and so I have brought to-day a pattern that is very easy to both cut and join. The body of the center square is 9 inches...Two colors are prettiest for this pattern, as red or green for the centers of the blocks and the corners filled in with white, but other colors may be more convenient."
She's drawn a square in two corners and half-square triangles in the other. The pattern doesn't have a BlockBase number but I'm writing it in as 2050.3---Saw Tooth-Prairie Farmer 1886

The name was in the air. In 1885 Etta Richardson won a prize at a Maryland fair with her "saw tooth quilt."

Ileana had this one for sale on eBay---same color scheme different corners.
Of course there are many similar blocks.

Putting triangles in all the corners is a common variation.
The number of HST's along the side is also a variation.

Same block, on point with California gold print sashing.
I love this block and all its variations so have saved lots of photos.

Square only in the corners 4 across
As far as date: Everything above looks to be about 1870-1890.

This one is older; in fact it is dated 1843

From the Ohio Quilt Project book Quilts in Community, 

Our Sunflower Pattern Co-operative made a quilt inspired by that 
Ohio quilt   for a Kansas museum dedicated
to John Brown, the radical antislavery activist. 

Sashing makes this easier as you don't have to line up
all those points where the triangles meet.

Polka dots always a good idea. This one seems to
have been started in the 1870s and finished in the teens or later.

You can go on and on. Ileana also had this mid-19th century version for sale.
12 HST's across.

Each about an inch.
I'd guess this one was probably contructed with the white blocks a plain square
and the sashing the patchwork. Pairs of strips set between the blocks. That's the way
I'd sew it (except I am NOT going to even think about it.)

A more common variation halves the center square into two triangles.

Last quarter-19th c

Lend & Borrow by Mark Lauer

Lend & Borrow is the February block in the
Antebellum Album sampler over on my Civil War Quilts blog.
See earlier versions here:

Here's Wendy working on her pink and brown version
of the John Brown bedquilt.

See the pattern with a couple of ideas for the John Brown Bedquilt
in our Etsy shop.

You can buy it as a PDF for $5:

Or as a paper pattern through the mail for $8:

Monday, March 19, 2018

Pudding & Pie---Jelly & Jam

I've been looking for a name and source for this pattern for a while.

As the blogger at Starwood Quilter noted
It is not in BlockBase.

So I had no name and no number but a lot of photos of quilts from about 1950.

It should be in BlockBase and my Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns as a 
Miscellaneous Four Patch (page 185)

But it's not.

It was driving me nuts. How to find it?

Then I thought about 
Crowd Sourcing

So I posted some photos on a Facebook group of quilt historians and within seconds Joan told me she'd seen it as Pudding & Pie.
We figured out it was published by the Alice Brooks syndicated newspaper column, probably in the 1940s.
Merikay found a copy of the clipping from 1939.
"A Clever Change-About Design
Pudding & Pie"

I could have crowd-sourced the information in my stitch group as Carol tells me she has this book...

Tessellations by Jackie Robinson who calls it Tessellated Star.

 I added a sketch to my copy of the Encyclopedia as #1406.5.
It's such a clever pattern and easy enough. 

Most of the time.

That's a 45 degree angle.
The rectangles finished to 2" x 6" so cut them 2-1/2" x 6-1/2"

I drew it in EQ as a 12 inch block. You could use 2-1/2" precuts for
the strips. 49 blocks = and 84" square quilt.

If you shade it counterchange fashion (one block is the reverse of the other) 
and alternate the blocks

It would look like the version that Starwood Quilter did at the top of the page.

Since it's pieced from JellyRolls how about Jelly & Jam?

I feel better. The pattern has a name and number. Thanks to the crowd.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Mexican Rose

Quilt signed 
"Jane Barr July 1849"
Collection of the Smithsonian Institution

I don't know what Jane Barr called her pattern, but we'd all agree
it's a Mexican Rose...

A name first published by the Ladies Art Company perhaps in their 1898 catalog
of quilt patterns.

Also published as Mexican Rose by Marie Webster
in her 1915 book Quilts
It's #22.41 in my book Encyclopedia of Applique,
categorized as a four plus four block: Four motifs alternating
with four other motifs rotating from a central point.

The major characteristics are the simplicity of the north/south 
units, which can be a diamond or a leaf shape

The corner florals on long stems tend to be multi-petaled and viewed 
from the side. 

With variation possible

Crib quilt

Lots of extra applique from a mid-19th century quilt from the
 Shelburne Museum's collection

From Fourth Corner Antique Quilts

We owe to Webster our connection of the pattern to "stirring frontier activities...Mexican Rose...reflecting domestic interest in important events..." Presumably she is talking of the Mexican War in the late 1840s to gain territory from Mexico.
I'm afraid that Webster's story cannot be substantiated with any evidence that the design was called Mexican Rose in the 1840s when it first appeared or that it had any connection to that war.

In 1906 a writer who saw it as a daisy
wrote a short article about making a sofa pillow
of red, yellow and green silk. The pattern was
copied by several newspapers.

As we can see by Jane Barr's quilt the pattern is decades older.

The example in the Benton County, Oregon, museum
has a border made of the daisies.

Attributed to Mary Ann Myers in Mississippi, documented in 
the Texas Project

Once the pattern appeared in print it became popular.

The North Carolina Project found several examples from
the end of the 19th century and perhaps into the 20th.

By Mary Margaret Miller

By M. E. Williams, in
the collection of the North Carolina Museum of History

Colored sashing is typical in this group.

Berks County, Pennsylvania, sampler, late 19th century

The pattern's not often used as a sampler block until after it
was published about 1890. You don't see it in mid-19th-century albums.

The design was also quite fashionable in the Miami Valley
sampler/albums made in Ohio about 1900.

The ELI quilt from the 1890s in the collection
of the International Quilt Study Center and Museum

Like the eagles in this group of quilts, the Mexican Rose variation
was practically a necessity

It's an easy pattern for beginner applique.

Print this out on an 8-1/2" x 11" sheet of paper for a pattern of sorts. It would fit in a 20" finished block.As you can see by all the examples, red and green is probably the traditional fabric choice.