Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Bird in Air

"Made at Westport Town
I'm 'Bird in Air'
Sleep under me
And banish care.
Salome Thorpe
7168 pieces"

Bird in Air by Salome Thorpe, Collection of
the International Quilt Study Center & Museum.
Date attributed 1880-1900

Salome Thorpe was one of those rare quilters who recorded the name of her pattern on her quilt. We might call her one piece quilt Broken Dishes or Windmill but she called it "Bird in Air." I looked the four-patch up in BlockBase and found many other names published in the past 120 years or so.

The oldest published name seems to be Windmill in the Ohio Farmer in 1898.

Salome's quilt also illustrates how little we know about pattern names in the 19th century.

But like her, we tend to think of these triangles as birds of some kind from geese to hens to doves.

When I did a search for the word Bird in BlockBase I found many patterns, some quite literally birds
and others with a variety of symbolic geometrics. 

Pat Nickols Collection at the Mingei Museum
"The Basket By AG Ellison Age 9 yrs 1853"

Sometimes the name on the quilt is
exactly the name we'd call it. Thank you very much, Amanda Grace.

See more about Salome and her quilt at the IQSC website here:
It was their Block of the Month in March, 2006.

And A(manda) G(race) Ellison's quilt is cataloged here at the Mingei Museum:

A little more about her:

And about her sad end in 1915. The article is from the Brookfield Courier.


  1. Wow! First it is amazing that you had access to this newspaper article. Second it is so sad ... AG, your quilt lives on!

  2. That old internet is amazing. It takes about 15 minutes to find that stuff. I do feel bad about Amanda's end.

  3. I don't think I've seen cursive writing in bias strips before. Is that really what it is? Very effective!

  4. I adore the big signature. When my time comes, I'd like it to be as fast as Amanda Grace's!

  5. Wow! Amanda's quilt made at age 9 yrs. is humbling. Such talent at a young age. I wonder what her later quilts were like.

  6. What a wonderful quilt, and made when Amanda was 9 years old! Sad that her life ended as it did. Hope she made many quilts in her lifetime.