Monday, January 28, 2019

Butterfly from Laura Wheeler/Alice Brooks

Kelly Cline is quilting an old top and was curious about the pattern.

She found it in my Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns
#929 Butterfly from the Laura Wheeler/Alice Brooks syndicated column.

Their pattern is all pieced with embroidered antennae.

Kelly's is missing the antennae. Here's where the seam lines
seem to be. 

Top by Savannah Adkins, documented in the Arizona Project,
photo from the Quilt Index. She embroidered antennae over 
the seam lines.

It's a clever pattern, making use of the fashion for fans and wedding ring arcs in the 1930s and '40s. But hard enough to piece that you don't see that many of them.

From the New York project

There are a lot of butterfly quilts in the Quilt Index files
but this one is rare.

I found a few in online auctions

UPDATE: Laura Lane at the New England Quilt Museum reminded
me of their cover quilt:

Here's one in the warm side of the spectrum from an online auction.

The quiltmaker took the easy way out and appliqued the pieced butterflies.

With black embroidery thread.

Same solution; different species.
Note tail antennae

It's popular today, however. You can find patterns on the internet.

This one from Leila who added a seam to the bug body.

So, there you go, Kelly.

Monday, January 21, 2019


Here's a terrific mid-20th-century quilt top

The pattern: Sunbeam from Ruby Short McKim
McKim published this design twice.

It's #2620 in BlockBase

She suggested a pillow or a quilt with alternate plain white
blocks in the Kansas City Star in 1929

And included it in her sampler called the Patchwork Quilt
in the Denver Post in 1931

The McKim sampler was a popular design; here's one from
Cindy's Antique Quilts.

And I've got pictures of  a few repeat block quilts and tops in the
 pattern from online auctions.

This beautifully pieced block is in the colors McKim suggested.

A sampler of color combinations

This block caught my eye. It's a two-color version and the
alternate white spokes fade into the corner pieces.
An asterisk.

I erased some seam lines.


The Chicago Tribune's Nancy Cabot column published a slightly different
 version in 1933 with the center square a little smaller. You can find a pattern here:

Nancy Cabot also called it Whippoorwill.

And read more about the Ruby McKim sampler at this post:

Monday, January 14, 2019

Tippecanoe Club

In 1906 The Delineator magazine published an article about quilts by Jean Thompson. She included several patterns with their names, one of which she called Tippecanoe Club (left side, 2nd from bottom).

Her Tippecanoe Club was a popular pattern despite its complex pieced curves. Here are some of
the published variations from BlockBase. Hers is most like BlockBase #3103, which was published in the Kansas City Star as a tulip block.

I had not seen this name before but I figured it had something to do with the presidential election of 1840 won by William Henry Harrison, nicknamed Old Tippecanoe for an 1811 victory over Shawnee troops headed by Tecumseh and Tenskatawa near the Tippecanoe River in what is now Indiana.

A Tippecanoe Club was a Whig political club, described in Boon’s Lick Times in June, 1840:
"The meeting proceeded to organize a Tippecanoe Club - for the purpose of promoting by all fair and honorable means, the election of Gen. Wm. Henry Harrison and John Tyler to the Presidency and Vice Presidency of the United States."

The quilt pattern probably refers to the second incarnation of Tippecanoe Clubs in the 1880s when Harrison's grandson Benjamin Harrison ran for president as a Republican. The ribbon below is from Benjamin Harrison's second unsuccessful campaign in 1892.

Tippecanoe Clubs continued as political organizations into the 20th century.

For more about the quilt pattern see this post:

Monday, January 7, 2019

Farmer's Wife---How many blocks ever made?

Did anyone ever make this block?
This is a question pattern historian Cuesta Benberry and I used to ask each other. Some designs seem so obscure that we were thrilled to come across an actual quilt in the pattern. 

I don't recall ever seeing this one made into a quilt, however.

It's BlockBase #4088
Best known as Farmer's Wife.

It's interesting but hard to construct, and as you might
guess by the seam lines, it's filed in BlockBase under Miscellaneous. I looked at
it as a pieced block.

I recently found the original source. In 1912 the Farmer's Wife from St. Paul, Minnesota  showed a sketch of "A New Quilt Pattern" by Mrs. H. L Miller. This pattern was designed expressly for this magazine from which it takes its name." The Farmer's Wife  would send you a pattern for a dime.

I was pleased to find the source of the pattern and the name. The periodical published many quilt patterns over the years.

I squared up the sketch but it still looks obscure, probably all appliqued.

Eveline Foland drew a variation for the Kansas City Star and her pattern, all appliqued, does look do-able.

Carlie Sexton offered a pattern at the same time. She
seems to have made up at least one block.

Have you ever seen a vintage block or quilt in the pattern?

Recently Sue Daley re-drew it and actually stitched a block!

Sue sells plastic templates for a pieced version.

Or print it out in BlockBase any size. Here's a sheet with an 8" pattern.

UPDATE: Margaret wrote me a note telling me Jen Kingwell has done a whole quilt, also sells the pattern and templates.