Friday, April 29, 2011

EEK! More Snakes

Mandee's Corn Snake
by Lorraine

A snake quilt I made.  My daughter in law has quite a few snakes so I made the quilt for my grand daughter.  They are supposed to represent pink corn snakes.  The heads and tails are "loose" and flop around...then the outline of it is quilted onto the quilt.

In  the comments on the last post Suture For a Living sent a link to her snake quilt on her blog. She used a Cheri Strole pattern.
Here's a link to buy another of her snake patterns:

Cheri does snake fabric too. Here's a Moda print.

And Denniele sent a link to a blog with pictures of quilts from a recent Australian symposium  in Queenstown  where Tania Nyboer's Stroll in the Park won an award for Amateur Traditional Excellence.
Click here to see it:

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


It's that time of year to keep an eye out for snakes in the garden. And it's always time to look for snake quilts.

I've been collecting pictures of snake quilts for several years. Many of these are not what you would call "book patterns." They seem to have been handed around or made up by a creative and geometrically talented quilter.

You can find some of the published versions indexed in my Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns

 Many are just fan blocks that form a trail. The one above is a regular fan block that's arranged in concentric rings.

This one's similar but the fan "handle" matches the background so it works a little better as a snake.

This is a double fan, with one fan larger than the other. This is probably the most effective pattern if the two fans are drawn with the right arc so the eye moves easily from block to block.

The quilt above was probably made from this design. It is BlockBase# 3355, called Whirling Fans by the
syndicated Laura Wheeler newspaper column in the 1930s.

The secret to the perfect snake is getting the arcs to connect visually.
The commercial patterns really didn't do that so people seem to have redrawn them.
I don't think the one below was pieced as blocks.

Here's the ultimate snake quilt, 2 arcs to a block and snake heads and tails in the border. I THINK it belongs to Emory University in Atlanta.

It's hard to believe there isn't a commercial pattern source for all these that work so well from the 1930-1960 era.

Here's a variation.

Sort of like this fan, just alternated in rows.
Again, it's hard to believe I haven't found a commercial source in the 1930s for the pattern above.

Green Snake by Susie Ponds

Surprisingly there is an Encyclopedia and BlockBase number for this one that seems so folky. It's #3350 and was in the Kansas City Star twice, once as the Rainbow quilt and once as The Drunkard's Trail.
In Alabama it's called Green Snake.

The Alabama quilters have solved the arc problem, getting the line to undulate in snake-like fashion.
See two more Alabama Green Snake quilts in the collection of the International Quilt Study Center and Museum by clicking on these two links to the Robert & Helen Cargo collection:
"Green Snake Quilts" (2000.004.0090) by Mary Maxtion and (2000.004.0101) by Lureca Outland

Here's another one, a black snake I guess.
Click to see a link that shows how to draft a snake:

 I made  one in the mid 1990s.
I alternated two blocks each with a different curve.

There are several new commercial snake patterns out there.
Karen Stone has a Rattle Snake and below is Denyce Schmidt's Snake Charmer

Mabry Benson is showing her snake variation popular with the East Bay Heritage Quilters in Berkeley, California, a few years ago.

Snake Trail pattern from
Raggedy Stitches in Australia
Click here for information on the pattern:

Read Pepper Cory's post on her Quilt Flap blog
The snake she shows from eBay is very scary.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Northern Lily Southern Rose Block 2

Tennessee Rose Wreath by Susan Stiff
Block 2

Here's the second block in the nine-month block-of-the-month pattern I'm doing this year with Moda called Northern Lily, Southern Rose.
Susan Stiff and I designed the BOM quilt. Susan's model is done in prints from my Civil War Reunion reproduction collection with green solids from the Moda Bella Solid collection.

Each of the nine applique blocks is drawn from 19th-century regional patterns---North and South. The block I'm calling Tennesee Rose Wreath is based on a Southern design. When Bets Ramsey and Merikay Waldvogel were doing the Quilts of Tennessee search they noticed this unusual pattern, which isn't seen elsewhere, although the Texas quilt searches found similar quilts---with pattern or quilts possibly brought from Tennessee. The pattern hasn't been published until recently and Coxcombs and Currants is a name they are using in Tennessee.

It's an unusual pattern, full of berries or currants in a wreath of fern-like foliage around a plant which is sometimes in a pot. We simplified the design, pulling out the coxcomb leaves, the dots and the central rose.

When I made my model I used traditional red and greens and used a four-way symmetry.
Susan's version in the pattern is a three way symmetry.

Tennessee Rose Wreath by Ilyse Moore

Ilyse Moore's version uses soft pinks and greens on a dotted background.
Notice the basting lines she uses for centering the pattern pieces.

You can easily change the symmetry by moving 4 foliage pieces to the compass points in your block rather than the three-way arrangement shown in the pattern. The pattern pieces are the same size; there's just less space between the pieces.

See 3 antique versions of the Coxcombs & Currants at the Quilt Index, two from Tennessee, one from Texas.


And ask your quilt shop if they are carrying Northern Lily/Southern Rose this year.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Unusual Wedding Ring Quilts

Traditional Double Wedding Ring style since about 1930
Pieced arc, white ogee shape, white oval and solid four patch

What with the Royal Wedding being the best news at the moment I thought I'd post some odd Double Wedding Ring quilts I've collected from online auctions, etc.

Here's one with the center ogee shape divided into quarters

Alternating colors

Here's a pattern for one with an extra four patch in the centers

A nice edge on a top.

....Sometimes things get confused

This one's really more a pickle dish.

....And sometimes overdone

An extra arc in the ogee

Monday, April 18, 2011


Small squares of Civil War Reunion and other repro prints

April is the month the nation is remembering the beginning of the Civil War 150 years ago. My latest Civil War era reproduction is called Civil War Reunion because I thought the best way to remember that horrible event would be to celebrate the post-War reunion of North and South, the Blue and Gray Reunions of Veterans and events like Memorial Day to recall the sacrifice on both sides.

Gettysburg Reunion 1938

I was pleased to find a scrap of fabric with the word Union, which probably is NOT a print from the years 1861-1865 but more likely one from the 1870s when the country was celebrating the peace at our Centennial celebration in Philadelphia.

This Union shield and double flag stripe likely
 dates to the 1870s and celebrates the Reunion.
It was in Civil War Crossing, a collection a few years ago.

We find a few patriotic prints from the war years but most of the flags and star prints are probably from post-War era. And no one has found a Confederate print because the South grew the cotton, they had no factories to print it.
 All that said, it's always a surprise to get a mean little note like this one.

I'm really disappointed in your lack of historical mindedness when it came to your creation of the Civil war reproduction.

it also seems a little one sided. How could you make all the other beautiful creations in this line and then go and add "UNION" !!!!!
There was 2 sides to the Civil War. You Chose to only show the Union side. I personally am on the Confederate side, a Southerner if you will.
So yes I'm disappointed. To be historically correct you should have chosen to show both sides or leave them out entirely.
How many others have commented on this HUGE mistake of yours? I bet this letter never makes it to the light of day with the public. However it would be nice and Politically correct for you to comment and apologize for your error. I will be commenting publicly wherever and whenever I can as well as boycotting your Beautiful Fabric. This is a shameful Reproduction. For Moda to even enter into this with you is also shameful. They also will be boycotted.
MaryDenise Roeller

I told her I'd be glad to post the note. Not everybody seems to understand the point of Civil War Reunion or reproduction fabric.
If you care to comment, do please remember we try to keep a civil discourse going here.

Friday, April 15, 2011

May Your Reds Never Run

Today is Saint Hunna's feast day.

She is known as the Holy Washerwoman and is the patron saint of laundresses and washerwomen. Other names for her are Oona, Una, Uma and Oonaugh.

She might protect you from bleeding and fading dyes.

Woman washing clothes
 in camp during the Civil War

Woman Ironing by Degas

As a child raised by nuns I believed there was a saint for every cause. I've often needed the intercession of Saint Hunna. I've made several shrines to her with collage and Photoshop.

 I am not the only one who needs some help with the reds. Here's a quilt from about 1910 when reds were absolutely unreliable.

So to celebrate St. Hunna's day: Prewash some reds and be grateful for recent inventions like the washing machine.

Federal photographers recorded this
Texas woman doing laundry in the 1940s.

Here's a book comparing painters' views of laundresses to that of this artist Jean Baptiste Greuze

Buy this book by Colin B. Bailey by clicking here:

See some disasters by clicking here:

And check out Jane Davila's post on Willie Cole's art inspired by the iron.
Here's more on his work that he calls Scorches
See my Print on Demand book with more Saint collages from Blurb.com by clicking here: