Wednesday, July 12, 2017

My New Quilt: Appliqued Sunshine

I recently bought this appliqued quilt on eBay.
It is certainly energetic if not conventionally beautiful.

First of all it's dated
Jan 1931 in Turkey red thread.

The applique designs all askew are quite cheerful.
Are those chrome orange butterflies?

Any quilt with stars & suns reminds me of my
sorely missed friend Nancy Hornback who used
to collect quilts with suns and stars and moons.

Blocks include six versions of this fleur-de-lis design, which
was a fairly common mid-19th century pattern, numbered
6 in my Encyclopedia of Applique.

Another great thing is that there was a little bit of history with it. The Massachusetts dealer had bought it "from a picker in Philadelphia who purportedly bought the quilt from an African American household in the Germantown neighborhood of Philadelphia."

It said Philadelphia to me.

I was thinking of applique like this one dated 1847
from Philadelphia

And this one sold by dealer Stella Rubin.
 It's dated 1842 in memory of Abby Leaming Forepaugh
who died in Philadelphia.

And then there's block #116 from
the Ladies' Art Company catalog.
"Philadelphia Beauty."
#6.2 in my Encyclopedia

See a post on the traditional pattern here:

The khaki colored blocks are appliqued
with green thread and probably were
once a dark green.

At first I was doubtful about the date of 1931. The fabrics look to be the solids dating from about 1880 to 1920 that were so unreliable.

The reds are now pinkish. 
They might have looked like the Turkey red embroidery thread once.
The chrome orange is still a bright orangey-yellow.

It was once a red, green and yellow applique, a style you do not see much of after 1910 or so.Without the date I'd have guessed about 1900. So my first guess: it was appliqued about 1900 and quilted later. You can see parallel lines of machine quilting above.

But my friends noticed that the applique is stitched over the quilting. This was quilted first and then appliqued. I think it was probably a comforter of some kind---a white muslin-encased blanket with sparse machine quilting. Some clever stitcher took a shortcut and added the applique to the bound and quilted comforter and dated it January, 1931. 

Once I figured this out I noticed a quilt done in similar style also on eBay. The red appliqued wheels seem to be appliqued to a pre-quilted comforter from what I could see. 

The dealer was from a town north of Philadelphia.

I didn't buy it however. One is enough. And I like mine better.
But now I'm wondering how more there are out there.
It's the old Mary Evans question:
One person or a regional style?


  1. What a treasure! And yes, it does remind me of Nancy and how we miss her sweet smile.

  2. Thank you so much for your wonderful blog. It really cheered me up today when I truly needed to see all those many colorful, arty quilts from many past blog posts. Art is so very healing. You just never know how much good you do. So, I wanted to tell you that you really lowered my stress level.

  3. What a wonderful find and I do love the unique designs and simplicity of the quilt.


  4. Those are either chrome orange butterflies - or bats!