Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Chrome Orange & Chrome Yellow

Mariner's Compass - 1880-1920

Many quilters working from about 1880-1920 used chrome colors as the neutral or the background in their quilts, a rather radical idea that very conservative women in Pennsylvania and the South found quite acceptable. Here are a few more pictures of quilts using yellows, some as accent, some as theme. The one below is from the Quilt Complex. I'm dating them fairly loosely from these snapshots.

Feathered Star 1880-1920

The two below are from dealer Laura Fisher

Princess Feather 1880-1920

Delectable Mountains 1860-1890

The rest I found in online auctions.

Star 1880-1910

Sugar Loaf 1880-1910
The block in this one is hard to figure out. Here's a diagram from my BlockBase software program.

For more about BlockBase click here:

Pincushion or Orange Peel dated 1887

Ann Champion's blog shows a lot of antique quilts. She's fond of yellow.

Variation of the Whigs Defeat, 1850-1920

Monkey Wrench Variation 1890-1920 (It looks like a tiny Log Cabin in the corners of the block)

Log Cabin 1880-1920

Now go out and buy some yellow fabric. The boss reports that yellow doesn't sell as well as other colors--like blue, red or green. That's a shame.


  1. Oh I love me some chrome!!! Awesome quilts!!

  2. I like yellow but it does grab the eye so I am careful how I use it. But tell you boss I am always looking for the perfect yellow and when I do find some I buy yards of it!

  3. I love yellow
    she should look in my closet I have quite a few yellows :)
    chrome yellows, cheddars...can NEVER have enough

  4. I am a gold person, but I like certain yellows, but not really my color either. I was thinking about how intelligent some woman were in those days, to make geometrics like that. They had to have a mathmatical talent hidden away.


  5. Your post today is a great show and tell of antique quilts. Thanks so much for sharing and inspiring us to use more chrome and cheddar.

  6. Talk about color? Such beautiful vibrant shades are arresting to the eye.

    As for why the women choose chromes, etc, could it be because 'back in the day' you boiled quilts and hung or placed them outside in the sun to dry? Fading of cotton was real ... not like having a home dryer. The stronger colors might last longer?

    If we go into historical places, it seems lighting was a problem of sorts. After you have cooked making alot of soot etc, you might just want to create quilts etc with vivid colors to cheer up the house. I believe I would.

    Our lives are so different today. My husband's grandmother lived in the mountains of West Virginia ... and didn't have electrcity for many years. Her choices were colorful, almost to the point of being gaudy. But that was "Gram" lol

    Julie in TN