Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Chickens Fair & Fowl

Attributed to Laura Adye Whicher (1801-1875), Indiana
Collection of the D.A.R. Museum
Laura was born in Vermont, spent many years in New York
and went west to Indiana where this quilt was probably made.

There's been some discussion of a chicken block in our Ladies Album group doing the Block of the Month program at LadiesAidAlbum Facebook page
 mainly because Robyn Revelle Gregg added a chicken block to her sampler.

Chickens (roosters) are seen on New York sampler
albums (the source of the 2021 patterns) but the pictures I have are so bad I
didn't include one in the official blocks. However, I showed this fowl
 recorded by the New York project, inspiring Robyn.

I did a little Photoshopping on him and made a pattern
(of sorts.) See Below.

From the New York Project and the Quilt Index,
Mid-19th-century from Greenport, Suffolk County, New York.

1880s, New York
Stella Rubin's inventory

When one comes across a vintage example...

Attributed to Rachel Glotfelty, Pennsylvania 
Indiana State Museum

...one is always amused.

Bird of Paradise Sampler from Poughkeepsie.
American Folk Art Museum Collection

Detail from another sampler top from Stella Rubin's inventory.
Attributed to Connecticut---in that New York/New Jersey/Connecticut
sampler style.

1868 Hannah J. Swin
Bill Volckening's Collection

Miami Valley Ohio album from the Arnett Family
Collection of the International Quilt Museum, early 20th century

Another on the cover of Sue Cummings's book on
the style.

Postcard from Julie Silber's Mary Strickler quilt collection.


Bird in the hand

American Folk Art Museum
Political Crazy quilt with a rooster panel advocating the
election of Grover Cleveland in 1884.

We've almost forgotten that the rooster was a symbol of the Democrats, which may have something to do with some of these later quilts.

Button from the 1950s

See a 1930s pieced rooster that the Metropolitan Museum believes to symbolize the Democrats here:

Print these sheets out 8-1/2" x 11" for a rooster pattern.


  1. The Laura Whicher quilt is one of my all time favorites. I have had it in my "someday" notebook for a long time. I love the "foul" addition to the Ladies Aid sampler. I am so far behind now it may be 2023 before I finish! I know it's not a race, but I'm not usually this far behind!

  2. Wendy, You should move that chicken quilt up to the top of your someday notebook. It is such a great one.

  3. I'm curious how you found these? Do you have a file labeled "chicken"?!! I googled "quilts with chickens" just for fun and only got current designs. The baby chick is too darn cute!

    1. Unfortunately I do have a file named chickens. Been saving them for years.

  4. I had no idea about the rooster and Democratic party, but I guess it makes sense - a take off from the chicken in every pot line from the depression? Anyway - thanks for the pattern.

    Going back a ways - you had a post about pieced Sunbonnet Sue blocks, or rather the lack of them. I pieced that block for your Grandmother's Choice quilt. I can see why not many attempted to piece it! I still have a bit of embroidery to do on the sign. What's the best way to let you know when I've finished and posted it?

  5. Roosters = democrats is 19th c. Email materialcult@Gmail.com

  6. Chickens and roosters were very popular motifs for outline embroidery (Redwork) and crazy quilts.

  7. I always learn something new on your posts!