Friday, June 14, 2019

String Quilts #2---Dated Examples

String star pieced over a newspaper dated 1899

String quilts aren't often dated or signed. I've got a small file of dated examples that can help pinpoint when the style began and how it evolved.

Silk quilt dated 1883
The earliest date-inscribed example of a string quilt that I have in my picture files.

Probably started as embroidered silk squares in 1883 and finished years later with string
blocks along the edge. Does it count as a dated string quilt?

Collection: International Quilt Study Center & Museum
Crazy quilt dated 1883-1884 with some blocks I'd call more
string than crazy.

1885 Made in Athol, Massachusetts
Massachusetts Project & the Quilt Index

A few of the blocks look like string piecing to me.
Also one of the earliest cotton crazy quilts I've seen.

Collection: International Quilt Study Center & Museum

Crazy quilt with some string-pieced blocks and some regular patchwork.

String Star dated 1886
Several of the diamonds are indisputably string pieced.

1889, Collection of the Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum

Now, this is a string quilt but it is interesting how the strings rotate
around a center in many of the blocks.
Detail of the quilt above

1893, Collection: International Quilt Study Center & Museum
Similar style but centers feature pictorial cretonne prints

1893, same year as above, a string-pieced star.

1894, covered with names, a fundraiser.

1897 by Felicia O Dessie Law
Noble Co. Ohio

I'd call it a Rocky Road to Kansas pattern.

1897 Mary Feldsend

See a post on Rocky Road to Kansas here:

 1898, Rocky Mountain Quilt Shop inventory

1898, Laura Fisher's shop inventory---a sampler of string
quilt styles.

1905, maybe silks

1905 Clara Wigman

1906, structure is getting looser

Wool embroidery

1909, first one I've found in the blue and checks and stripes style.

Made by Isa Salmon, Partridge, Kans.
Collection of the Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum
Is it really a string quilt if the strips are cut to the
same size?
Rhetorical question. We each have our own opinion.

Another 1917 string star
of velvet with pom-poms.

1918, Julie Silber's Inventory

1925, Pat L. Nickols collection at the Mingei Museum


I'd have guessed 1910

1926 - a taste for pastels showing up.


1928---wools and combination fabrics

1932, for Alfred

It's kind of surprising how late some of these utilitarian examples are dated.
I'd have guessed ten or twenty years earlier.


1943, rather old-fashioned for 1943

1944, Deb Rowden's collection


The date-inscribed examples indicate the string quilt fashion paralleled the crazy quilt style,
beginning in the 1880s. Both are stitched to a foundation. String quilts, not so fancy, continued on
their own tangent and were probably most popular in the early 20th century. 


  1. What a batch of fun and stringy quilts!

  2. Hard to tell the difference between string and crazy on some. I love both.


  3. Love the Velvet and Pom-Pom's

  4. Nice article as well as whole site.Thanks.