Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Triplets: Schleifer-Kichlein Fraktur Quilts

Pattern we might call the Reel.
The green print indicates a date of about 1840.

The Reel is one of the first block patterns with curves. It began about 1830 and evolved into a classic.
Variations on #17 in my Encyclopedia of Applique.

I've been curious for years about this pair of quilts from a Pennsylvania-German family. The pattern appears to have just popped up in Pennsylvania.

These two examples alternating the block with wool embroidery are from the Kichline & Schleifer families. 

Euphemia's was recently purchased by the Metropolitan Museum's Friends of the American Wing Fund.
Read more here: 

The 1830 example has been in the Winterthur collection for 16 years.
Enter the object number 2000.0071 in the search box here to see more:

To add to the mystery of where patterns come from:
A third quilt dated 1829

This one was pictured in the 1966 book Pennsylvania German Folk Art
 by John Joseph Stoudt.
All three quilts alternate the block with birds perched in trees.

Del-Louise Moyer has recently written a lengthy post on the quilts.
Fraktur Quilts from the Schleifer-Kichlein Family

There's also a fourth fraktur quilt with similar embroidery but the patchwork is stars and the quilt is not date-inscribed. Christine Schafer Kichline's quilt is in the collection of the Moravian Museum in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. For a glimpse see Orlofsky, plate 168.

Here's the next dated quilt in a reel pattern in my files.

"J & HW 1841" from Mass Quilts and the Quilt Index.
The applique is more complex and the trees are now in the border.

From a New Jersey album dated 1843
New Jersey Project & the Quilt Index.

After that the pattern is plentiful.


  1. Thanks for the interesting post. I just started a new oak leaf and reel 4 block quilt.

  2. Thanks for sharing history on the Reel. I like the pattern with the birds and the name Euphemia, wow.

  3. Fantastic information. Thanks so much for the link to Del-Louise Moyer's post. I am working on a Pennsylvania quilt right now and this is so timely. I would never have found this on my own.

  4. Great info! Have a great week ♥

  5. Jane---I love Euphemia too. The next dog. Euphemia.

  6. Thanks -- I have always loved all variations of these patterns. The center is very similar to Robbing Peter to Pay Paul. Nice to see some history.

  7. Thank you for the post. Love these patterns. Reminds me of early Dutch and Swedish folk painting. Maybe the pattern was inspired from a painted blanket chest or such.

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