Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Feather and Tulip Cross: An Abundance of Examples

Small quilt shown in 
Classic Crib Quilts and How to Make Them 
by Thomas. K. Woodard & Blanche Greenstein

I indexed the pattern in my Encyclopedia of Applique
with the 4+4 patterns. 
Tulip Cross

The pattern was also in Safford & Bishop's book
 as Princess Feather and Tulip

The Princess Feather & Tulip pictured there is this one in the collection of the Henry Ford Museum,
made in Ohio by an unknown quiltmaker according to the caption.

I wish we had a 19th-century name for the pattern because  it was definitely a 19th-century item.

Date inscribed 1856 by Mary E. Byrod Fortenbaugh (1832-1929) 
Collection of the Illinois State Museum
Halifax, Dauphin County, Pennsylvania

The Museum has five quilts by Mary in their collection.
See all five by going to the Quilt Index and typing
Byrod in the top right search box.

Cover of Quilters Newsletter in 1997
It's a big block, usually seen as a four-block set.

Nice geometry, fills the square block well
The feather's curve helps.
This one may be late-19th century.

Although sometimes the feather is straight,
a variation. This one looks fairly recent.

Then we get into the variations:

Not necessarily a tulip

Quiltmakers could make the pattern simpler or more complex.

 Christina Meyers added a lot in the corners of each block. 
Date-inscribed 1860 in the collection of the
 International Quilt Study Center & Museum
# 2015_053_0001

Date-inscribed 1859 by Huldah Caroline Deat.
The red flower on the feather looks like a botanical Prince's 

A sad old top with coxcomb instead of tulip,
Another pattern from mid to late 19th century.

Here's one earlier and in much better shape from Julie Silber's inventory.
Hard to say if the feathers are going north/south or on the diagonal here.

Another take is putting the curling feathers in the corners as in this
example by Christinia Hathaway
from the Connecticut Project.

Found in Connecticut but made in Ohio
Sunflowers and a Caesar's Crown for the center.
Moving the curving feather to the corners tends to compress the design.
 It fits into a smaller space.
This one is a nine-block.

A relative also from the Connecticut project.

  Feathers on the diagonal need a new number. write 19.36 in your copy of Encyclopedia of Applique.

Seen at Quilt Market in Chicago I believe

Here's the latest of the vintage examples.

Pastel prints with red blanket stitch,
strangely appealing.

No curve in this one

Louise Lynn from the Carlson Four Block Collection at the
 International Quilt Study Center & Museum

This is a different pattern though. We are digressing.

If you'd like a pattern for the tulip cross crib quilt the 
Woodard & Greenstein book has one.
 Betty Jefferis won a prize for her machine appliqued
reproduction quilted by Mattie Troyer.

And here's another pattern option from the cover of Quilters Newsletter.
Print it 8" and double it for a 20" block.


  1. Thank you for reminding me about this wonderful pattern! It has been on my "wanna do" list for a long time.

  2. The quilt you show made by Huldah Caroline Deat was once in The Poos Collection. There is another quilt very much like the Safford and Bishop example you use (yellow binding) and the Henry Ford Museum currently in The Poos Collection. It has a much more elaborate border though. We'll be publishing it in our new book. Thanks for a great comparison of all of these!

  3. I am making a quilt that set out to be a copy of one identical to the Henry Ford quilt. The inspiration for this quilt came from an c1840's quilt I saw for sale at Paducah in 1992. I had spent way too much money and didn't buy it, even though it was very cheap and in pristine condition. When I decided to come back for it, it was gone, of course! I had, however, taken a couple of snapshots of it and always thought I would draft a pattern and make my own. It went on the back burner for many years, then about 10 years ago I finally managed to draft my pattern and hunt down the fabrics I wanted. I got one block made (for a 4-block quilt with borders) and THEN I saw the exact same completed quilt on Pinterest! I was floored! I wrote to the pinner and asked about it. She said it was a pattern from a book by Fons & Porter--"Quilts From the Henry Ford Museum." The museum owned the quilt. I wrote to the Henry Ford about the quilt but got no answer. I'm not sure if they actually bought the quilt I had seen in 1992 or if there were 2 exactly alike or if that happened to be a fairly common pattern at the time. Since then I have seen very similar antique quilts done in pretty much that same pattern. I'd really love to know the provenance, which the vendor didn't, but I've decided that I don't need to make an exact copy since there are probably plenty of those floating around these days. So I've decided to put my block on point with solid triangles that give room for very fancy quilting, then wide borders with more applique sandwiched between printed narrow borders. I am so glad to find your article on this particular pattern. It is extremely enlightening. Thank you!