Monday, August 31, 2020

Mystery Solved

An unknown pattern.
Kind of thing that drives me nuts.
It looks familiar.

The block? A Four Patch
But couldn't find it in BlockBase.
I posted it on the Facebook page Quilts Vintage & Antique.
They all admired it. Laura suggested I look at it as a star.

Not in BlockBase in the Four Patches: Stars

Jocelyne posted blocks she'd made from a picture she saw online
(maybe the same picture I had) but most of us agreed it had to be
a published pattern. It was so complex.

I drew it up in EQ8
And made a pattern for a 12" block by dividing it in quarters.

Print this out at 6". Add seams.

And then I remembered where I'd seen it before.

Nancy Page showed it as a quarter of the block. It's odd, filed in the Two-Patch
patterns divided diagonally.

I looked up Allentown Nancy Page in Newspapers.com.

Found it in 1935.
Too bad Nancy didn't show the whole four-patch.
A lot more people would have stitched it.

Monday, August 24, 2020

Hollyhock Wreath

Mid-20th century applique

A modern take on traditional pattern, probably drawn from a Ruby Short McKim pattern.

 She included Hollyhock Wreath in her booklet Designs Worth Doing (ca. 1930) and may have published it first in the Kansas City Star in the late 1920s.

It was novel yet Colonial (as she might have said), a take on the wreath design that had been popular with applique artists since the 1840s (not the least bit Colonial.) McKim often copied or updated old quilts but she indicated this one is her idea. For her 16" square block she abstracted the usual flowers and leaves to basic geometry, a hallmark of modernism. The long leaves stretch the block out into the corners, filling the square.

Hollyhock Wreath June 14, 1933
No good idea went uncopied and in 1933 the Nancy Cabot column in the Chicago Tribune did a version.

It's 2.53 in my Encyclopedia of Applique

See a pattern here:

This quilt with its square flowers---is that reverse applique in the leaves?--- may be a new quilt rather than vintage. I found the photo floating around on the internet
from a magazine page with no I.D.

A version of this variation patterned in a Spool Cotton pamphlet from Coats & Clark thread company in the 1950s? Quilt dealer and author Florence Peto contributed to this catalog and I wouldn't be surprised if the Hollyhock Wreath made in 1936 was not one of hers.

This pattern told you to cut an 11" background square.

It's a lot like McKim's but set with an alternate appliqued block. The pattern indicates it was copied from an old New York quilt---unlikely.

The next incarnation is in the 1950s & '60s when the same photo was widely distributed in syndicated needlework columns like this one from "Nancy Baxter." I have no Nancy Baxter file so it will be fun to see what I can find in Newspapers.com.

I was surprised to find only two versions at the Quilt Index,
above from the Wyoming Project, below from New York's.
No information but they look 1960- till recently.

A rather free-form version, perhaps from one
of those newspaper patterns in the 1960s--- a little squarer than
the usual, but eye-catching.

Monday, August 17, 2020

Bowmansville Star

For the new editions of BlockBase and Encyclopedia
of Pieced Quilt Patterns I added patterns
passed around in small communities rather
than published in the pattern literature as most of the 4,000 plus
designs are.

One we added was the Bowmansville Star,
which will be in the small category of whole top designs
as "Popular in Lancaster County."

Just one pattern piece---a square.

From The Herrs, Lancaster County dealers

Stella Rubin's Inventory

There are many variations; this one from RickRack antiques,
Which I did not include.
You have to stop somewhere.

UPDATE: In the comments Sue had a good question. What's the date on these???
I'm guessing they begin in the 1880s and since quilters were so conservative in southeastern Pennsylvania, using the same patterns for quite a while, I'd guess you see them into the 1940s.

Conestoga Auctions version.
 I bet a green or blue
has faded badly in the star's arms.

How did they keep the shading consistent? Counting? Design floors in the spare room? Design beds in the spare room?

Monday, August 10, 2020

Field of Daisies

Here's a pretty pattern with an art deco flair,

subject of discussion in July over at the Quilts: Vintage & Antique
Facebook group.

Field of Daisies is a Laura Wheeler
syndicated newspaper pattern that was first published
in 1935, published far and wide.

Opal Dodd Gott  (1910-1992), about 1970 
Preston, Missouri, a gift for her nephew who showed it to the Oregon Project.

Julie Silber had one to tempt us with---

Quite a tour-de-force of fussy-cut hexagons.

Virginia Berger recognized the border pattern right away
as she owns this version.

Hers is set in quartets on point, a very effective design.

This quilter knew what it was called.
The photo is from Mark French's ebay store. Julie bought
it from Mark and sold it to someone who like me
wants to know the name of the pattern.

I don't know why this hasn't caught on.
Banner headlines on quilts.

The San Jose Museum of Quilts has a similar quilt.
We'd guess most of these with the 1930s Nile green
are from the late 1930s.
It is in my Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns as #796
among the modernistic flowers. Here's the old version---I didn't quite get it right, missing
a seam & proportions are a bit off.

It didn't translate to BlockBase as well as you'd hope either.

I imported #796 from BlockBase to EQ8
and redrew a few lines...
Pretty close in a better pattern for an 8" block.
Proportions more accurate and shows the missing seam I
couldn't see in the original newspaper pattern.

Monday, August 3, 2020

Alice Brooks Design

A block that never made it to a finished quilt,
perhaps due to a little difficulty with that lower curved piece.
As Teddy Pruett has said:
If it's impossible to piece it's Laura Wheeler or Alice Brooks.

Alice is Laura's evil twin
(and Laura's pretty darn difficult herself)

My view of the diabolical duo, the imaginary designers
for what we pattern collectors used to call 
The Old Chelsea Station Needlecraft Company.

I spent much of my lock-down time this spring finding new patterns for the new editions of my Encyclopedia/BlockBase package. I missed many Alice Brooks designs in the first and second editions.

This design would have met their criteria:
Difficult to piece

Sure enough.
Why it doesn't have another seam in the corners to make
it a little easier to piece is a mystery.

Unless you consider the source.

You'd think they'd never pieced a quilt in their imaginary lives.

Three Patch will be in the new BlockBase and new Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns coming out soon. In case you should want to make one.

See another diatribe about Alice here.

And more about the new editions here: