Monday, May 27, 2019

Iowa Star or Texas Ranger

About 1890-1920

The pattern is BlockBase #2982,
Iowa Star or Texas Ranger

The quilt above may have been made from the Texas Ranger pattern
in American Woman magazine in 1902.

The Ladies' Art Company probably copied their design,
changed its name to Iowa Star and included it in their
early 20th century catalog.

Iowa Star from the Ladies' Art

Most of the examples I've found are mid-19th-century

Maybe inspired by the Ladies Art Company's catalog
which may still be in print.

Or by Carrie Hall's block pictured in her 1935 book
as Iowa Star. The proportion of the triangle changes.

Two blocks in a sampler quilt from about 1890-1920

Pepper Cory's collection
From Kentucky

This one isn't done in a block but rather as an all-over type of pattern.

The way this older quilt is pieced, red diamonds pieced to stars. This one's a variation with
an extra square inside the center square.

There are a lot of variation on the basic pattern structure,
adding more triangles and changing them to diamonds.
This would be a nice block of the month, a kaleidoscope
extravaganza. All Y seams, all day.

Maybe next year.

The pattern was published as Forgotten Star in the Prudence
Penny column of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer

See a related pattern at these posts:

Monday, May 20, 2019

54-40 or Fight

Mid-20th-century quilt from an online auction

The pattern is mysterious at first---all those checkerboards and tulip shapes.

But if you go to a corner you can usually find the repeat block.

It's one of those nine-patch stars with long, spiky points that I've been posting about.

Kansas City Star, 1940

Mahala Prescott of Maine, Mass Quilts & the Quilt Index

It seems to have been a popular pattern in the 1890-1920 period
when these gray, black and navy blue prints were also popular.

From the Iowa Project
A typical example of turn-of-the-century style.

New York Project

Mid-20th century

Ruth Finley told us in her 1929 book it was called Fifty-Four Forty or Fight, without any further discussion. Quilters have assumed the name refers to a political slogan about a U.S./Canada border dispute in the 1840s.

The Moore About Nancy blogger recently wrote about this pattern, published with that name in 1933 by Nancy Cabot in the Chicago Tribune.
"Nancy Cabot however refers to it as a battle between Russia, England and the U.S over Alaska in 1884! I'm not sure what she is talking about. She also mentions that women of the period (1844) 'had no effective outlet for their political opinions' and that this block is the 'spontaneous expression of patriotic American women'."

All which is pretty typical of the historical myths that quilt pattern writers like Finley and Loretta Leitner (Nancy Cabot) relied upon to fill up space.
The pattern just is not that old. The earliest publication I've yet found is in the booklet published about 1910 under the name Clara Stone, where it's called Grandma's Star. That may be the source for those blue, gray and black quilts from the era.

Finley may have been thinking of the basic spiky-pointed star, this
dated example from a pair of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania pillow cases.

But that basic pattern has no checkerboards in corners or center.

From a set of blocks dated 1843 in the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

The default name for the block with 5 four-patches and a spiky star is
54-40 or Fight.
No one calls it Grandma's Star or the Railroad.

Emily Pruett Butler, Arizona Project

Emily would not be thrilled to see how her mid-20th-century quilt has faded but it gives one ideas about making some of the stars dominant and others background.

Here's a link to a free 12" pattern.

I imported BlockBase 1627b into Electric Quilt 8.

49 blocks 12"
84" Square
Alternating a dark block and a lighter block

Shading it medallion style

Monday, May 13, 2019

Stars with Long, Spiky Points

Too bad the blues faded. This early 20th-century-quilt just out of the frame would have
been some quilt. 

The pattern is BlockBase #1623: Sun Rays. I've done a few posts on these spiky stars as a setting pattern rather than a block:
The blue version above looks like the patterns is in the block set on point.

Here's the block (with the points chopped off)

Not that common
See a post on a variation we call 54-40 Or Fight


Only published once??!
Here it is in BlockBase #1623
I gave it an apostrophe as if it belonged to Ray, but it should be Sun Rays Quilt.

I have pictures of the design going back to the 1840s

Block in the Philadelphia Museum of Art

A variation?

I have just a few published patterns in this seam structure,
a nine patch with spiky points. Probably because the star points are harder
to cut than a simple half-square triangle. The block design may have been
adapted from the earlier setting pattern.

Variations as Blocks
Encyclopedia of Pieced  Quilt Patterns

Simple but interesting when set allover.

I've never seen a quilt made in BlockBase#1629 Dove at the Window,
printed in the Kansas City Star in 1945.

But this unnamed variation was popular around 1900.

It must have been published.

We'll call it BlockBase #1628

I drew it in EQ8
as a 12" block

25 blocks gives you a 60" square quilt

Cutting a 12" Block
A Cut 4 squares (2 light, 2 dark) 4-7/8". Cut each in half diagonally. You need 8 triangles.
B  Cut 2 squares (1 light, 1 dark) 5-1/8". Cut each into 4 triangles with two diagonal cuts. You need 4 triangles.

For D & C

Alternate with a 12" block with the corners cut off.

And one last variation in an odd top made of glazed solid
color fabrics. Date???

The pattern has many possibilities

If you rotate the HST corners in the pattern you'd get this

Rotating every other block one turn would give you
a complicated all over design.