QUILTS & FABRIC: PAST & PRESENT


Saturday, March 25, 2017

Quaker Album Quilts

A pretty block in an album dated 1843 in the collection of Conner Prairie Museum in Indiana. I noticed it because of the brown & white excentric print. It's signed by Ella Maria Deacon.


Quaker Album or Friendship Quilt
Burlington County, New Jersey, 1843
Collection of Conner Prairie Museum
108 x 110 inches
72 patchwork blocks

Ella's block is on the top row right of center in this overall view.


Wait a minute! I know Ella Maria Deacon.
Not personally. But she has a quilt in Chicago.


Quilt Made for Ella Maria Deacon (American, 1811–1894)
104 1/8 x 107 3/8 inches
Collection of the Art Institute of Chicago
85 patchwork blocks from New Jersey: Rancocas, Eversham, Springfield and Mt. Holly. It's actually dated 1841 and 1842.

See more in an article in the Journal of the American Medical Association

NJ Project
For a while I thought there were two Quaker quilts with alternate chintz squares, 
but now I realize that the Conner Prairie quilt is also pictured in the
Quilt Index, New Jersey project. These two are the same quilt with different lighting.

Conner Prairie's
Do look at this Indiana web site and notice the details listed on the right.

 But then there are many similar quilts.
Here's one quilt from the New Jersey project & the Quilt Index.


The names on this quilt: 
Budd, Coles and Deacon families.  Two dates: 1844 & 1855.

New Jersey Project

1842-1843
Quaker quilt from Swedesboro, Gloucester County, NJ

The quilts share a lot of design characteristics. 
As the authors of the New Jersey project book describe the style: 

The familiar New Jersey sampler with blocks set on the diagonal and use of strip sashing.
Other characteristics:
  • Variety of block techniques, some pieced, some appliqued in conventional applique, some in cut-out-chintz.
  • Blocks contain some classic applique patterns but many are unusual one-time designs.
  • Use of primary colored calicoes: Turkey red, chrome yellow, greens in blocks (if not in setting)


Block from the Conner Prairie quilt.
  • Many of the blocks whether pieced or appliqued are based on a circular format, with a focus on the center of the block, like a wheel or a wreath.. In other words: the designs don't really fill a square block the way classic red & green applique blocks do.
Detail of Charlotte Gillingham's quilt, 1842-1843, Philadelphia Museum of Art.

One of the few familiar classics from the Gillingham quilt.
Oak leaf and Reel variation.

Sarah Pidgeon's Album.
Collection of Colonial Williamsburg.
I wonder how many more of these Quaker Album quilt from
the early 1840s have duplicate signers
and duplicate odd blocks.

A question the researchers at the Quaker Quilt History blog are working on.

Burtis Family Quilt at the Burlington NJ Historical Society

Quilt for Charlotte Gillingham, Philadelphia Museum of Art.

There are many fascinating things about these early Quaker quilts.
One is the early emphasis on red, yellow and green.
Two is the originality and variety of the blocks.
Three: Can we thank Quakers for the American sampler album?

I noticed two blocks like Ella M Deacon's in the Conner Prairie Quilt.

And here's the same block in the Ella Maria Deacon quilt at the Art Institute.


Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Fat Quarter Fancy Work

Buttonwood Basket by Karla Menaugh
32" x 44-1/2"
Background pieced from fat quarters.

Fat Quarters are cut 18" x 22".

Fat quarters are easy to buy, easy to store and they seem inexpensive enough that we always pop a few extra into our stack at the checkout counter. 


There are plenty of designs for piecing with fat-quarter cuts, but several years ago Karla and I noticed that traditional applique designs ignore the contemporary fat quarter.

First of all, it's a rectangle cut, and most applique is designed for a square format.

Second, you don't get much area to work with. After you square up your edges, trim your selvage off and pre-wash the yardage we figure you can count on a rectangle 16-1/2" x 20-1/2".

We designed Buttonwood Basket baby quilt around those limitations.
Our theory: Buy two closely related fat quarters for the background.
Karla chose a woven stripe and woven check, same colors.


  1. After pre-washing and trimming square up the fat-quarters to 16-1/2" x 20-1/2".
  2. Cut each in half horizontally, resulting in 10-1/4" x 16-1/2" rectangles.
  3. Sew the rectangles together into a four patch pattern to make a background 20" x 32-1/2
The rectangular four-patch gives you a nice area for applique and if you are looking for rectangular designs:


Vintage applique quilts featuring baskets and vases of flowers are easily adapted.





The book gives you cutting instructions for adding more background.


The Virtual Store

We still have copies of the Fat Quarter Fancywork book with ideas for applique and fat quarters in our Sunflower Pattern Co-operative Etsy Store.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Past Perfect: Sandy Klop

Wagon Wheels by Sandy Klop

The Past Perfect feature for March is about Sandy Klop
of American Jane Patterns.

Wagon Wheels Repro Quilt

Perhaps inspired by this antique top from the late 19th century.

Every month this year I'm featuring a quilter who does a classic job of interpreting quilts from the past. Past Perfect. Sandy Klop is a classic herself.

Sandy designs fabric for Moda, specializing in
primary colors that echo traditional French Provincial design.

Stars & Stripes

Criss Cross

Edy's Quilt
Our mutual friend Edy has a antique in this marvelous design

Oh, My Stars.

Inspired by a quilt in the Camden County New Jersey
Historical Society collection, pictured in New Jersey Quilts on page 82.

Sandy's Primarily Houses

The inspiration from the late 19th century was pictured in a Quilt Engagement Calendar.
Sandy has a real eye for selecting unusual antiques that are perfect for her new fabrics.

Nickels & Dimes

Fiestaware Quilt

Festival of Light

Flying Circles

Her designs are impressive in their complexity (although she does simple quilts too) but what's also impressive is that she inspires others to stitch these complex reproductions.

Susan Dyer's version of Oh, My Stars

Kathy O's version of Oh, My Stars

Get inspired yourself at Sandy's American Jane Pattern page:

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Needlework at the Bazaar: Horribly Uninteresting

Fair in Philadelphia, 1864
Knitted and crocheted blankets hanging in the fancy work area.

Here's why you don't take some 17 year olds to needlework shows:

Julia Rosa Newberry (1853-1876)
 about the time of the Bazaar

Julia Rosa Newberry kept a diary. She was living in New York. On April 20, 1870 her friend James Hooker Hammersley tried to interest her and sister Mary Louisa in working for the poor orphans of Brooklyn.

Sheltering Arms Nursery

The administrators and board held a spring "Bazaar" or "Fair" to raise money to run the school and feed and clothe the children.
April 20, 1870
"The judicious Hooker Hammersly was very anxious Sister & I should be on his committee for the 'Sheltering Arms' a great bazaar just opened & which is to last ten days.---we went to see it, there was a fine collection of pictures, & tons & tons of fancy work, which was horribly uninteresting. I saw a number of the 'swellest' young men of New York."

James Hooker Hammersly was a New York swell. He and Julia were wealthy and priveleged; Julia was just to young to see anything but the boys.

Another view of that 1864 Philadelphia Fair.

After the Civil War fairs continued to be a successful method for women to fund causes. The Library Company of Philadelphia has many photographs of the Great Central Fair in 1864. Click on the green highlighted categories and see a picture:

Julia Newberry's Diary was published in 1933.

The Sheltering Arms Nursery is still helping people in its current incarnation as Brooklyn Community Services. Let's hope they are so well-funded by the city's caring citizens that they don't have to sell needlework to raise money for social services.