Monday, June 14, 2010

Pickle Dish

Pickle Dish from Margaret Cavigga's collection, about 1860

The Pickle Dish pattern has been in the air around here lately.

It's a lot like a Double Wedding Ring, based on arcs and a squeezed square, but the arcs are full of points.
The name Pickle Dish seems to have first been published in the Kansas City Star in 1931
(Note: they liked the name so much their quilt web page is named http://www.pickledish.com/)

A wedding ring has four-sided patches in the arcs rather than triangular pieces.
Double Wedding Rings don't appear till about 1920.

The idea of an arc and an ogee (a squeezed square) is an old pattern structure based on overlapping circles.
The Rob Peter to Pay Paul or Compass top above is from Donna Stickovich's collection.

In 1932 the Grandmother Clark pattern company called the version with pointy shapes in the arcs Indian Wedding Ring, according to my Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns.

The Pickle Dish pattern is older than the Double Wedding Ring, dating back to the last half of the 19th century. It was quite popular in the Southern U.S. about 1880-1910. I wonder what the Southern quilters called it before the name Pickle Dish was in print.

Karen Alexander found a print in an old quilt that looks just like a Pickle Dish. By the colors---Turkey red background with blue and brown figures---I'd guess the fabric could be pre-Civil War, as could the mossy stripe next to it.

See more about this quilt at Karen's blog by clicking here:

Here are some other Pickle Dish variations from online auctions:

This one has an X in the squeezed square.

The green is fading the way synthetic green dyes did after 1880 or so.

Here's a quirky version with two kinds of green dyes one fading, one fast, again probably 1880-1920.

Notice the arcs can have diamonds or triangles.

See some more examples by going to the Quilt Index. Click here:
At the top left in the search box type the word pickle.
Several quilts will come up, mostly from the South.


  1. I love every post you make, but this one takes my breath away. Karmen

  2. So beautiful! Your blog is always an interesting read :)

  3. Funny...Karmen said the exact words I wanted to say! I am lost in amazement looking at these quilts and those at the Quilt Index link. Your posts are always so enlightening. Thanks so very much!

  4. Love the post. Makes me want to go get the dill pickle jar out of the frig and start quilting. Thanks

  5. I love the pickle dish pattern- one day I want to make one. Thanks for another great post!

  6. Thanks for all these examples. Glorious and proof that some women loved piecing more than sleep.

    Question: Is the example of Robbing Peter to Pay Paul appliqued? pieced?


  7. Regarding the pink and green quilt: I don't know if it's pieced or appliqued. Donna sent a photo. I've seen them done both ways. Easier to applique I think.

  8. ohhh... ahhhhh... Barbara a pickle dish is one of my 'must do'quilts.. i've done the NY Beauty..next... pickle dish!

  9. Definitely easier to applique! That's why I wonder that it is so often pieced. Please keep your eyes open for pieced and see if you discern a regional or ethnic preference.

  10. That is a wonderful pattern and I love the one called indian wedding, gorgeous fabrics and colors.


  11. I'm tackling an updated Pickle Dish with Kaffe fabrics (wayyyy out of my comfort zone). As I study these older PD quilts (quiltindex) I don't find much uniformity in the way they were made. It seems a fun, forgiving block where quiltmakers had a lot of joy in making them. I would say they were almost 'liberated' if you will. I haven't decided to stick with the "Kaffe Challenge" as I'm a repro girl but this block is so forgiving. I just really enjoy it (the block).

  12. The pink background PickleDish with the pinwheels - do you know where I can find the pattern. I believe that my aunt's mother was trying to make this blog and was unsuccessful in getting it to lie flat. But we did not find a pattern in her sewing box, only the had pieced block.