Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Rainbow or Fondue Prints

Alice's Flag
by Denniele Bohannon
from the Grandmother's Choice Block of the Week
Old Curiosity Shop
in Berry Blue
I get more requests for Prussian blue rainbow prints than for any other kind of reproduction print so I am glad to have one in my current Civil War reproduction collection Metropolitan Fair. The print called Old Curiosity Shop comes in a variety of shades but I bet blue will be the best seller.
The mid-19th-century document print
The document print (the original antique fabric) was brown shading to white. It wasn't cotton but a wool combination fabric, probably a cotton and wool mix that people called delaine in the mid-19th-century.
We tend to think of rainbow prints (also called ombre or fondu prints) as blue because they are the most eye-catching, as in this detail from a Baltimore album quilt I saw when I visited the Daughters of the American Revolution Museum a few weeks ago. You can see why they were called rainbow prints as the dye shades from dark to light like a rainbow, and sometimes from color to color.
Rainbow prints were done in nearly every color. Here are some swatches from Persoz's dye manual from the 1860s. The fabrics have been protected from the light inside the book. If you found these in a quilt they would probably be more subdued today.
Fondu prints were quite popular in American quilts in the 1840-1865 period
Quilters really loved the blues in wide stripes.
Early 20th century prints
The look was revived at the end of the 19th century and into the early 20th, but most of the time a print shading from light to dark indicates a pre-Civil-War quilt.
A mid-19th-century olive green.
Below are the other colors in the print from Metropolitan Fair.
Celery Salad Green

Cranberry Pie Red

Strawberry Tart Pink

Charlotte Russe Chocolate

Meringue Tan

Oyster Shell Gray

Read more about Prussian blue rainbow prints here:


antique quilter said...

well I actually love the brown and the green the best :)
one never has enough browns! love this fabric line!

WoolenSails said...

I didn't realize they were rainbow prints, love the look. I got a pack of the metropolitan, so need to think of something to make with them.


Denniele said...

I think my favorite is the Charlotte Russe Chocolate...they add so much movement.

Miriam said...

I love fondue fabrics! I used your green from Metropolitan Fair in a block last month. Previously I have used a brown and a blue in both piecing and applique. The shading brings life to a block.

Anonymous said...

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