Monday, April 29, 2019

Hospital Sketches Block #4: Cockscombs & Currants

Hospital Sketches Block #4: Cockscombs & Currants by Marty Webster

This month's free pattern for the Hospital Sketches BOM on my Civil War Quilts blog is Cockscombs and Currants.

1853 Elizabeth Stark,
Kansas Museum of History

Last month's classic was the Love Apple, a pattern with many variations.

Love Apple from the Virginia project book

The Cockscombs and Currants block, however, seems more cut to a pattern. The center features a circle with 8 radiating leaves or petals (usually red). A bud that fills the corners grows from four green leaves. Four curving stems grow from the circle between the leaves. Currants grow along the stems. The greatest variety is in the number of currants. In sorting through these pictures (I've got many) I see the fabrics are red and green (no pink, no chrome orange) and they are usually solids.

Watercolor of a quilt from the Works Progress Administration
project in the 1930s.

I'm surprised by how consistent the central arrangement is
with that stem fitting between the red leaves.

From the West Virginia project & the Quilt Index

It makes more design sense to me to arrange the stems like
this, growing out of a petal instead of between them.
But this format is the exception.

Block #1 & Block #4, a nice balance

I indexed quite a few in my Encyclopedia of Applique with names like Poinsettia, Oak Leaf, Grapes and Oak Leaf, and Cockscombs and Currants. Comfort magazine published the design as Chestnut Berry and Flowering Almond in the 1920s. In 1860 Elizabeth Nessly Myer described a  "Flowering Almond" quilt in a letter and left a quilt to her descendants much like the pattern here.

Flowering Almond bush

Dated 1852 from the Dixon family.
Indiana project and the Quilt Index

Dated 1853 from Ohio, online auction.

These tend to be from the years 1850-1870 with the earliest date-inscribed example in my files 1852 and two dated 1853.

An exception to the red and green rule

Well I could go on---I have dozens of photos of 19th-century examples...and a few 20th century.

From Cindy's Antique Quilts inventory

Karla Menaugh's interpretation of a 19th century arrangement.
Abiding Joy is in our Cranberry Collection book.

Abiding Joy by Karla Menaugh

90" x 90" Quilted by Lori Kukuk

Monday, April 22, 2019

Bleeding Heart or Violet Blossoms

Four orphan blocks,
a variation of a complicated pattern.
Based on the same structure as the Turkey Tracks in the last post.

BlockBase #2668, Nancy Cabot in the Chicago Tribune called it Violet Blossoms,
The Ladies Art Company--- Bleeding Heart

The center square in a square goes around three times in the BlockBase drawing

But the examples I have only go around twice.

Nettie Freier from the Michigan Project

Two late-20th-century examples from the Quilt Index.

Golda Stone Caudill from the Indiana Project

None of these match my drawing.

Here's a simpler version, but that's not quite it either.

Maybe all these quilts were inspired by Carrie Hall who showed her
block in her book Romance of the Patchwork Quilt in America in 1935.

Here's her beautifully pieced block in the Spencer Museum of Art.

Here's a quick quilt of #2668

Modified to Carrie Hall's simpler version.

It would be challenging to piece, But you could just wing it in applique.

Monday, April 15, 2019

Turkey Tetrazini

I've been looking at the many photos in the files that we would call Turkey Tracks and I noticed this variation... 

Recently posted in an online auction.
Fancy border; fancy quilting, probably 1850-1880.

Different quilt, same pattern
Not quite so fancy.

Different border

The pieced pattern in many variations was popular. Here's a quilt that
looks to be 1870-1910 Southern what with the fugitive solid fabrics, the thick batt
and the fan quilting. But no corner square.
See a post on other Turkey Tracks here:

Album made for Hannah Nicholson, dated 1843
Smithsonian Collection

Turkey Tracks blocks are common but this one with a square pieced into the corner is rather unusual. It's BlockBase #3105, published in the Kansas City Star in 1929 as Turkey Tracks and by Carrie Hall in 1935 as Mrs. Ewer's Tulip. 

"Mrs. A.B. Ewer's Tulip quilt block 1900"

Carrie Hall stitched many of the 800+ blocks in her collection at the Spencer Museum of Art, but Mrs. A.B. Ewer probably gave this vintage block to Carrie. I looked for Mrs. Ewer in Leavenworth, Kansas where Carrie lived but the only A.B. Ewer I found was in Sheboygan County, Wisconsin. Carrie was born in Wisconsin, so Susan Girard Ewer may indeed be the woman who made the block.

The Denver Post published this unsigned pattern in 1933 as Pond Lily

Top from 1960-1980 maybe from an online auction. Sashed.
She may have been inspired by Carrie Hall's block.

You can see the BlockBase drawing is not a great reproduction of the Ewer block. I modified it here by exporting the drawing to Electric Quilt and changing a few lines. I wanted it to look like the 19th-century versions.


This pattern is for a 15" finished block.
 Print these out on 8-1/2" x 11" sheets of paper. That top line should measure 7-1/2"
 Add seams to the pieces above. The templates below have the
seams already there.

About 1875-1910, from a Jeffrey Evans Auction
Block on point, alternate plain blocks.

The three antique versions alternate the blocks.

12 alternate blocks on the square
75" x 75"

If you set them all over you get a whole different look.
Turkey Tetrazini?

Sunday, April 7, 2019

Ohio Star --- Nine Patch Stars

Quilt dated 1832

Signed Eunice Bailey, from Pennsylvania

Eunice's star quilt pattern is one of three common nine-patch star structures we see in antique quilts. 

Block about 1890-1920 based on the claret red

#1631 is based on a nine patch with equal-sized units

About 1890-1920 based on the cadet blue
Most of these photos are from online auctions

We tend to call it Ohio Star.
It has many published names, which I will get into later.

About 1890-1920 
The star is based on some pretty basic patchwork designs---- Broken Dishes
triangles and squares.

This one looks older, the light blues are a toile.

The blocks are often set on point.

The earliest dated example I have in the files is 1811, 
in a medallion format quilt in the collection of the Cincinnati Art Museum....

With a John Hewson panel in the center.

A date consistent with some of these chintz-style quilts.

Patricia Smith Collection
Fashion seems to have dictated busy stars alternating with blocks cut from furniture chintzes in the 1820-1840 years.

Seen in the New York project, from the Quilt Index

All these chintz-style versions probably 1825-1850

We have this very busy quilt with a flounce in the collection
of the Helen F. Spencer Museum of Art

And talk about busy. For years I've been looking at this photo in Ruth Finley's 1929 book of
a quilt she owned, trying to figure out the pattern. Now I see what she meant. The stars are set on point in strips.
"A dark quilt pieced of many colors, but with brown predominating. Set together with strips of old American ''geometrical' chintz pattern in brown, tan, orange, red and green. One quarter of quilt shown."
By geometrical chintz she means the kind of print we call cheater cloth.

As in the back of this star.

The alternate strips in Finley's quilt

I have not seen this particular piece of  'faux patchwork" before.
Finley's block is #1631.

International Quilt Study Center & Museum
Dillow Collection

Taste began to change in the 1830s
New England Quilt Museum

Less busy, more contrast

Album dated 1843 made for Hannah Nicholson Grave
Smithsonian Institution NMAH

As fabric grew more abundant one could create a color scheme of scraps.

Rocky Mountain Quilt Shop


Indigo prints and shirting prints- 1890-1920


Crib quilt from Laura Fisher's inventory

Taste changed again. I have very few photos after 1920.
The print might be a faded red rather than a double pink

This pink and white version is dated 1936 with initials B.M.E.
The block seems to have fallen out of favor.

Doll quilt from the Pat Nickols Collection, Mingei Museum