Block from about 1850
Quilts feature pattern in both patchwork and the fabric. Most of us consider patchwork the main design element with the fabric in a supporting role.
Quilt from about 1900
But then again there are those quilters who like to start a fight.
Patchwork or Print
Who's the boss?
You may ask:
Why go to all that trouble to piece a complex patchwork design
and then set up a battle between the fabric and the patchwork?
Some people just like a fight.
You see a lot of these battle quilts in the mid-20th-century.
The aesthetic seems to be anything goes with anything.
Or it may just be that there were few prints available at the proper scale to assume a supporting role.
People thought of patchwork as a frugal hobby. You were not going
to buy new fabric but use what you had.
Or what you could find cheaply.
Ollie Maude Simons made this quilt in Dunlap, Georgia.
Her family told the Western Pennsylvania project that she
used scraps from a shirt factory. One source, one print style.
Factory cutaways as fabric source may explain why
there are so many Southern examples like this
one from the North Carolina project and the Quilt Index.
The textile mills with their cheap leftovers were in the South.
Frugality, fashion or just the love of a fight...
The design dynamic has a lot of appeal.