QUILTS & FABRIC: PAST & PRESENT By Quilt Historian Barbara Brackman Above: Moda's Baltimore Blues. It's not all blue.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Unknown Pattern in an Old Photo

Photographers sometimes hung quilts and tops as backdrops for photos. This picture was offered in an online auction a few years ago, advertised as from Texas. The clothing looks early 20th century and the quilt seems to be a unique pattern although it's a lot like this basic snowball or baseball pattern.

Same shapes can be arranged in different ways.


In the variation above the quarter circles in the corners of each block are all pink and the center circle is unpieced and of various colors. 

These patterns (#1504 and 1505 in BlockBase) were given names like:
Baseball or Boston Puzzle from the Ladies' Art Company about 1900
Circle Design from Grandmother Clark in 1931
Winding Blade or Marble in the Kansas City Star in 1937 & 1934
Steeplechase or Bow & Arrows from Ruth Finley in 1929

The bow shape can also be pieced of strings,  but string quilts were not often published and named in the pattern catalogs and books.

The quilt in the photograph is string pieced.

But there is this odd stripe across the snowballs.

Here are some links to Quilt Index photos of snowball/baseball variations. One from Tennessee:
Another from Louisiana:
And one from Merry Silber's collection

I couldn't find anything like the one in the old photograph, so I've filed it away in the massive file labeled "Patterns I Can't Find Anywhere."


Joey said...

I don't know why, but I love these old photos of quilt makers showing off their quilts. I thought I'd share a some with you!







Barbara said...

Thanks, Joey.

Linda F. said...

Maybe the snowballs were cut from a striped fabric? They remind me of croquet balls.