Monday, September 28, 2020

Sadie Mallison's Pattern Quilt

These sampler quilts of pattern blocks are fun for those who love patchwork patterns. This one as recorded by the Massachusetts project and the Quilt Index, attributed to Sarah Mallison of Beckett, Massachusetts in Berkshire County.

It's unusual for these quilts in that it is inscribed with two dates and two names: "Sarah Mallison 1905/ Bertha M ?1937" We can assume Sarah pieced the top in 1905 and Bertha tied it over 30 years later.

One wonders where Sarah got her patterns. In 1905 she'd have had access to many publications that dealt in patterns---magazines and needlework company catalogs. Patterns like the house and tree and drunkard's path were widely available but others have some mystery as to the source.

Like this red and white sawtooth block. Where did Sarah find it?
Was it published or handed around from a friend.

When looking at these pattern samplers we have to keep in mind that many seamstresses did not use paper patterns but made up a block to keep the pattern. Those collections of quilts "to make someday" often wound up as sampler tops.

The Nancy Page newspaper column by Florence LaGanke Harris published 
the design as Crows Foot but that was in 1934. Sarah must
have had another source.

Quilt in the design from 1960s?
Possibly from the Nancy Page

The other source I have for the design is the Ladies' Home Journal in 1896,
which may indeed where Sarah found it.

Sarah (Sadie) Hazzard (Hazard) Mallison
From her Find-A-Grave site.
She may be in her forties here in the 1870s.???

When Sarah's descendant brought the quilt in to be photographed not much was known about her but  today we can easily find her grave and a photo there. Bertha Crow Mallison (1888-1982) is buried in the same cemetery in Beckett, Massachusetts. She must have been a relative, a daughter in law perhaps, wife of son Charles.

I added Sarah's sampler to her grave file as it looks pretty certain she had a hand in it. I should look at each of the blocks and see what the source was..... But just like Sadie I am probably never going to get around to making all those quilts or finding all those patterns.

Berkshire Eagle, 1916

Monday, September 21, 2020

Bouquet in a Fan & Relatives

An odd quilt but familiar to fans of Kansas City Star designs.

#1399.6 Bouquet in a Fan by Edna Marie Dunn in 1933

Dunn did most of the Star patterns in the mid-20th century but she did not
sign many. This might have been one of her original designs.

A year earlier the Star had published Nosegay with a nine patch.

Farm Journal published it too
but even though the design was widely in print

very few quilters attempted it

On line auction

From the Indiana project & the Quilt Index

Twenty-year old Olive Weber Spiegel of Sumiria, Indiana worked with her parents on this quilt in 1938; her father John Weber helped with the design and her mother Lillian Weber quilted it.

The problem may be the basic pattern---whether there's a star or a ninepatch in the center---It just isn't that graceful.

Unless you set in groups of four.

A variation offered by Nancy Cabot
in the Chicago Tribune. 

Monday, September 14, 2020

Lovers Knot

Barbara R sends pictures of a quilt top partially quilted
that she inherited from her mother. She's thinking her
mom might have purchased it.

 74” x 86”

She knew it was a Laura Wheeler pattern Lover's Knot

3010 in BlockBase in a page of similar hard-to-piece blocks.

Not often made. This one is from an online auction

Here's a clipping from the Pottstown Mercury in 1933 or 1934.

Easy to Make in the best traditions of the Colonial needlewoman.

Here's an updated version for a red & white version from Lovelli Quilts.

I recolored the BlockBase drawing to make it look more
like the original and I see I thought that there was an
extra seam in the long ribbons extending into the corners.
That would make it easier to piece.

The original pattern was a little hard to figure out from the sketch
and I see my proportions are off too.

I revised it a little. Print this 8-inch pattern out at 150%.
And as with most Laura Wheeler designs....good luck.

Monday, September 7, 2020

Organizing a String Quilt


String quilts are often a explosion of color with fabrics placed rather randomly as they come out of the scrap bag. We've been looking at some great examples over at the QuiltHistorySouth Facebook group.


Dark, light, dark light---some thought given to contrast.

A few follow a different rule---place a consistent color in one strip and you get a more organized effect.

The Louisiana Folk Life project recorded this string design
 based on triangles by Sallie McKinnie Graves ( 1886-1968)

Here's another in a similar pattern by Ruth Eubanks
from the North Carolina project.

One way to look at Ruth's triangular unit and block.
Little Boy's Britches by Sally Anna Ingraham Parker, Haynesville, Arkansas
Collection of the Old State House Museum in Arkansas

Sally's quilt organizes the view by piecing a consistent
color in the center strip of each triangle.

It's a simple way of organizing a string quilt (if one
wanted to organize a string quilt.)

I've been fascinated by this pattern which is just a string pieced diamond
with a consistent black strip in the center.

I called it a Victorian Puzzle

I recently found the pattern in the very influential Comfort magazine,
published in October 1911, a decade or more after the Victorian era.

Or make the dark strip go the other way.

Marjorie Childress Collection

Here's an unusual top, a fan block but rectangular and both fan and background
are pieced. Each fan has a pink strip in the center

As a square block