Monday, May 25, 2020

Hetty Winthrop Pattern Designer

Hetty Winthrop patterns, which ran in a few newspapers in the early 1930s, have not been well documented. The pattern above is the only Winthrop design in the Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns & BlockBase.

And it's not drawn the way Hetty showed it.

A Quick-Quilt in BlockBase

I searched through Newspapers.com looking for Hetty's patterns and found quite a few, mainly in the Spokane Spokesman Review in 1933 and 1934.

I redrew her basic block so it's more pieceable.

But aside from the design above, Hetty's patterns weren't that innovative. She seems to have lifted liberally from the other pattern designers of the time.

# 56 Evening Star here had been published earlier under that name in the 
Oklahoma Farmer Stockman

Rolling Pinwheel from the Salt Lake City
Deseret News in 1934 was a Ladies Art design under
the same name.

I found a few that look to be original, but they worry me.
Hetty seemed to know very little about putting a quilt together
so it's just as well she was copying from other sources.

Snowflake is to be appliqued of white shapes onto blue.

Seth Thomas Rose is copied story and all from Ruby McKim, with a few incorrect facts. Araminta Kreeger (not Kreeker) brought it to Missouri, not Kansas.

McKim's drawing

So who was this pattern pirate? Of course Hetty Winthrop is a pen name, evoking Colonial ladies and old New England families for the Bell Syndicate, a large newspaper company in business from 1916 to 1973. They distributed many comic strips and fiction other than needlework. But quilt patterns were hot in 1932 and '33. I would imagine Hetty was an artist working for Bell recruited for this needlework task at which s(he) was not too talented.

Wilene Smith has posted a page on Hetty, noting four US papers that bought the column in the first go-round beginning in December, 1932. It was revived in 1938 & '39 for Canadian papers through Dominion News Bureau, which also printed it in the early 30s.

In case you want to collect Hetty's patterns the papers are:
The Spokane Spokesman-Review (which is where I got most of my clippings)
The Salt Lake City Deseret News
The Chicago Daily News
and the Oklahoma City Trader
I searched for the words New Practical Design Quilt to get the most hits at Newspapers.com.

Another applique.
Morning Glory from 1933.

Wilene's page on Hetty:

Monday, May 18, 2020

Square and Compass

From the Washington Township New Jersey Historical Society
A rather graphic version of a pattern published several times
as Square and Compass.

Ruby Short McKim's version from about 1930

There's some variation in how large the squares and the circles are in
proportion to the odd shape.

Portrait of Anna Westmire (1828-1916) and the quilt she made
in Miller, South Dakota.

A reporter wonders if Anna's pattern has to do with the Masons:

BlockBase will print you a pattern with a rather small circle (the compass) and a large square.

12" block

I was intrigued by the geometry of the square and circle.
What if you shaded....

But I see Marta at With Love From Marta Quilts has already considered that option

Stacy's Compass & Square

Monday, May 11, 2020

Obscure Pattern---Mill Wheel

Mea posted some blocks she found at a thrift store. They certainly are odd...pieced... an 8-pointed star with truncated points, pieced in leaves, encircled by a double row of triangles. Strange.  Strangely enough I had seen two more examples.

Both on ebay last winter
Same center but only one circle of triangles.

And this one..... Pieced corners. An all-pieced block
All three might be Southern with that ring of spiky triangles.

Quite quirky.

And right before press time so to speak, I found another example in the book Missouri Heritage Quilts by Bettina Havig

This one is thought to be about 1880, made by Victoria L. LeFever Smith. 

78" x 101" 
You cannot see the elaborate stuffed feather quilting. It must
be an impressive quilt.

Victoria L. LeFever Smith  (1841- 1926)
Victoria made the quilt the family called Mill Wheel
for her daughter Ada Smith Hexheimer (1869-1940)

The LeFevers were Missouri pioneers. County records indicate Victoria's father Samuel came from Pennsylvania to Marion County just west of the Missouri River about 1830, buying a farm near the new town of Hannibal along Bear Creek. 

The famous Hannibal on the river.

Victoria grew up there, married Thomas Jefferson Smith and is buried in Hannibal.

You could piece it.
As two out of the four examples above have shown us---it's not easy.
Could get skewed.

But Bettina drew us a lovely pattern.

Print this out at 200% for a 16" block.

Monday, May 4, 2020

Stellar Idea

Quilt from an online auction in a most puzzling pattern.
It's not just random; there is a repeat design in there.

One of several ways to look at it:
 Find the square block.

A star of diamonds
This detail showing the black-on-red prints with a stripe shirting indicates
it's probably from about 1880-1920.

There is this piece surrounding the square block,
a sashing.

A little easing would be required to get this to fit.

Another option is to look at this as the block.

A central star with four parts framing it.
And if you repeat those blocks you get the design.

Although what's going on along the borders is too much for me.