Saturday, September 17, 2011

Chrome Orange: Background and Accent

Flavin sent a snapshot of a quilt with an unusual pattern.
She thinks it's from Alabama.

It's not that the piecing is unusual, it's just a star made of diamonds, but the shading and the way the star is finished off as a circle seems unique.
Several characteristics indicate it's a Southern quilt from the end of the 19th century.
  • The fan quilting (see it in the border.)
  • The wide sashing pieced of strips
  • The color scheme of solids with chrome orange as the neutral or the background. (See the last post for a Carolina applique with a yellow ground.)

Not that Southerners were the only quilters who thought chrome orange made a perfect background.
Here's a Pennsylvania quilt from an on-line auction. Women in southeastern Pennsylvania  used a lot of the shade between 1875 and 1925.

Shades of reddish-brown solids are sometimes used as a substitute for a brighter, more expensive red. 

The idea of yellow-orange as a background continued into the 20th century. Purple and yellow---perfect complements. (Mid-20th-century yellow golds are dyed with other dyes. Chrome is poisonous and not used in the U.S. anymore.)
Chrome orange in a Whigs' Defeat design.
 (The South? Mid to Late 19th century?)
That pieced sashing and the large blocks on the square makes me think late-19th century.

The fabric also made a terrific accent color.

More Pennsylvania

Berks County, Pennsylvania

This one could be from anywhere.

Do a web search for:

 chrome orange reproduction quilt

and you will come up with some sources for this shade in solids.
Buy 5 yards....You need it.
(I know, I'm an enabler.)

See more quilts with chrome orange from the Quilt Index
This one from Iowa is probably end of the 19th-century rather than Civil-War-era as the family thought.

From the DAR Museum

From Quilts of Tennessee

From the New England Quilt Museum

And view my posts with chrome orange quilts here:


  1. WOW! Have a I told you lately how wonderful you are!?! Orange is my favorite color in everything, and I try to put at least a little in every quilt. Hubby doesn't agree, so my house isn't filled with orange, darn it! But at least my quilts have it! This post, and the links, are wonderful!

    Thank you so much for all the effort you put into the research and posting of all this quilty goodness!

  2. Hi Barbara:

    I'm wondering what the difference is between chrome orange and cheddar yellow/orange.

  3. My five yards of chrome orange have just been bought - the seller calls it paypaya. Fingers crossed that it really is chrome orange.

    While I was busy shopping, Gina asked the question I have been wondering about: Are chrome orange and cheddar the same?

    Regan also mentioned all the detail and references you put into your posts, for which I also Thank You.

  4. The close up reminds me of an indian influence, would that be possible? Love the contrast in colors in those types of quilts, really stunning work. I realized today that I have no creams, just a bit more of tea stained, so I need to go to the prim store to get more for my christmas projects.


  5. Barbara, what a great post on chrome orange...this color looks so POWERFUL on the bolt and kind of scares me (smile) but when I see it in these quilts, well, I want to take the plunge!! It really is a different shade than cheddar, huh?

  6. Chrome orange = cheddar. Just different names.

  7. I saw a chrome orange/cheddar quilt with white … just the two colors and it was stunning.