Thursday, October 14, 2010

Unknown Patterns: Swirl in a Star & Pickles

Kate found these blocks on an online auction. She's guessing they might be 1920-30. With only solid fabrics to go by it's tough to date them. I'm not that familiar with that solid tan the color of a paper bag. The red LOOKS to be Turkey red, but that only can tell us 1840-1940.
I'd say early 20th century from the photos.

See her blog post at Empty Field by clicking here:

Pieced swirl, photo courtesy of Kathy Sullivan

Kate's mystery pattern is fascinating. It looks like there is no seam between the points and the inner swirl in half the arms. I've never seen it before but it does remind me of the pieced swirls in a post from last February. Click here:

And speaking of "complex patterns with curves done in solid fabrics, often in the South about 1900":
Here's an update on another mystery pattern I showed last June.

Karen Alexander had seen one on eBay a while ago and saved the picture. It looks to be Turkey red and white and like the others possibly early 20th century.
See the earlier post by clicking here:

Suzanne Antippas alerted me to one pictured in the 2001 Quilt Engagement Calendar. This may be the oldest. Dealer Stella Rubin estimated its age at 1860. With the vining border and red and green color scheme it looks typical of that era. She called it Rising Suns. See Stella's online antique shop by clicking here:

Linda Franz of Inklingo has drafted the pattern so you can print the templates on your fabric (or on freezer paper or template material if you prefer.) Click here to see more at Inklingo.

Linda's mock-up

She's calling it a clamshell pickle.
I have spent a few hours scrolling through the thousands of Southern quilts on the Quilt Index and found no examples. I did have a lot of fun, however.
It's easy to scroll through the pictures using their new Grid display method of 60 thumbnail photos per page.
Go to this page in the Quilt Index
Choose Collection, say West Virginia Heritage Quilt Search. Choose Display Method: Grid.
Hours of entertainment!
But no swirly stars or clamshells with points.


  1. Hi Barbara,
    The swirly circular "beachballs" in the stars are actually separate from the star points in my '20's stars. The "beachballs" are very well constructed, but the original maker lost the plot when attaching the star points which have 1 concave curved side, some don't align well at all.
    Also, the colour in my photos is not great, the fabrics are actually more like Dijon mustard and hot pink!
    Really like the pickled clamshells!
    regards, Kate

  2. Linda's Inklingo tool allows an average quilter to make a complex pattern like this... I love Clam Shell Pickels... cute name, too.