Friday, November 10, 2017

Nine Blocks: Same Nine Blocks

From Freeman's Auctions

How were quilt patterns passed around in the 19th century?
One clue is in this sampler, which is quite a bit
like the sampler below. Both are from online auctions
over the past few years

From eBay seller Gurley

Once I find a pair of twins I often notice more,
and in the case of this nine block sampler---several more


Very much like the one at the top of the page.
Anita Schorsch pictured this in her book
Plain & Fancy: Country Quilts of the Pennsylvania Germans.

Collector Sara McLane noticed the similarity to
one she owns.

The arrangement varies in each as does the border
but the central block is remarkably consistent.

It's not a common design. We could describe it
as roses with reverse applique around a central
flower and buds, arranged in four-way mirror-image symmetry,
the formal structure often seen in American appliques.

From Sara McLane's

The other blocks are usually based on different symmetries.
This floral sprawls in a more naturalistic manner.

The blocks with two-way symmetry frame the center block
in rather graceful fashion making a well-designed layout for the nine blocks.

Another slashed rose with a slashed cockscomb &
reverse applique---this one from the eBay seller. 
Notice the heavy embroidery around
this block. It seems to be a late-19th-century example
by the fabrics and multi-strip border.

And then there are the baskets.

I mentioned that there are clues in these coincidental quilts
but how can we read them?

The words well-designed seems one clue. I'm guessing that some
talented woman somewhere sold either the patterns or the blocks or
the kits to make into blocks. She might have taught needlework
or had a pattern business....

Like the designers of the high-style blocks in Baltimore albums
in which we see the same blocks in the same fabrics made by
various seamstresses.

A Baltimore album in the collection of the International
Quilt Study Center and Museum dated 1847.

From the quilt at the top of the page.

From a BAQ in Joyce Gross's collection at
the Briscoe Center at the University of Texas.


  1. That really is fascinating considering the value of paper during that time as well as correspondence methods etc. I love seeing them side by side.

  2. Thank you for all the pictures and information that you so freely share in all your posts.

  3. I've fainted from applique love - thanks for the comparisons and source study! love this quilt

  4. Any clue to who"she" was? Beautiful quilt blocks.

  5. Love seeing the different borders on the "same" quilt. Looking at the blocks same is very personal and unique. Often wonder how the quilts we make today will be viewed in a hundred years? All the BOM programs, will they "come together" in some ones blog?