Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Baltimore Album Quilts - 7 x 7 set & Carrots

Detail Baltimore Album quilt. 
Made by members of the Hargest Family, 
Baltimore, Maryland, Dated 1845.

95" x 95" 

International Quilt Study Center & Museum. 
IQSCM #2005.022.0001.

This quilt is dedicated to Hannah and James Hargest who died in 1838 and 1843. 

Blocks are inscribed with family records including their children and grandchildren. Hannah Evans and James Hargest, born in England, emigrated to Baltimore early in the 19th century after their 1804 marriage. They lived in the Darley Hall neighborhood of Baltimore. His death notice listed him as a gardener.

I've been categorizing the BAQ's by their setting structure and this is the only one I have photos for that is 49 blocks set 7 x 7. It's  95" square so the blocks are relatively small. 

The Hargest quilt has no elaborate triple flowers or layered basket blocks. The major reason I'd include it in the BAQ category (besides it being from Baltimore in the 1840s) is the inclusion of the block we've been calling carrots for want of a better name. Fourteen Carrots (what does it mean???)

Is this the correct orientation?
Carrots grow like this.
Interesting that this block is in the quilt's central position.

Do notice the Turkey red dog tooth appliqued edge to each block.

This may be my favorite BAQ category (7x7) since there is only ONE quilt in it. I like to categorize but I am not looking forward to filing those dozens and dozens of 5x5 sets.

Read more about the quilt here at IQSC:

Here's the worksheet on this 7x7 category.


  1. Maybe the fact that he was listed as a gardener, the carrots may have been a special tribute.

  2. I think that block is upside down, is not oriented upright in the quilt and is not carrots. I think it's a kind of skinnier version of an applique block of the period I've seen several times that looks kind of like mother-in-law tongues growing upward out of a vase. The "blades" are usually wider, sometimes one on each side is bent over to point down. Don't know what it is, but probably it's the mother-in-law's tongue cactus or a grass-like plant with wide blades or leaves -- no flowers or buds. Whoever said "carrots" is funny, but the quiltmaker might not have thought so.

  3. Suzanne is right, the image shows up on numerous quilts and also other decorative arts, like furniture. While usually red, it also appears in gold like sheaves of wheat. There is a quilt in the MHS collection where one block contains a wreath surrounding several bunches of plants [ including the red "carrots" and more traditional orange carrots] and farming tools, which I think is one of the reasons the image gets called "carrots".
    I hope info eventually surfaces letting us know what it represented in the time period, but it seems to have been something so culturally common as to not require explanation for a contemporary. [A hundred years or so from now will the average person know what the currently ubiquitous blue bird represents? Or those black and white smartphone things?]