Thursday, July 21, 2016

Calli's Question: Endless Chain

Calli writes:
"I spent a weekend with friends and we enjoyed seeing a lovely antique collection of a friend's mother. I loved this quilt but am stumped by the pattern. Can you identify it? Also can you see fabrics well enough to roughly date the quilt?"
It's in BlockBase as #2716 with two names...

Grandma Dexter's pattern---1930s

Crazy Star from Grandma Dexter and Endless Chain from the Alice Brooks/Laura Wheeler pattern syndicate,both from the 1930s.

I had photos of a couple of other examples that look, like Calli's, to be from the 1930s or '40s. Those multicolor prints with white as a neutral are typical 1930-1960 style.

Here's an ad for the Laura Wheeler pattern from the early 1930s:
"The quilt Endless Chain means endless fun for you who piece it. Gay scraps are perfect for this...simple to join. Here's an old favorite that's favored today!"

(I wouldn't agree with any of those statements except for the one about scraps.)

A third vintage example.

It's a great pattern except for the part about 12 seams meeting in the center (endless fun!) but if you like a piecing challenge BlockBase will print it out for you any size you like.

Calli drew it up herself for paper piecing. She sent a picture of two blocks done in thirties repro prints.

Nice centers!
She won't have to be appliqueing a circle over those.

You could also buy the pattern Modern Prism from Zen Chic---
A slight adaptation to accommodate challenging centers. 

A fourth vintage example


  1. Barbara I want to give you a big thanks and shout out. First for you sharing and caring about quilt history. And secondly for Block Base Program because I am able to use the original one
    With Windows 10. Thank you I don't have to up grade.
    And finally do you think you will do a quilt dedicated to the Vietnam Veterans?
    Thank you.

  2. I'm a historian whose obsessed with the distant past. If I lived through it it's not history to me.

  3. Endless Chain was certainly a popular pattern in Maine. It seems that we see one at every documentation day. Thanks for another great post.

  4. Thank you for all your help Barbara! I loved learning more about the endless chain block and I can't wait to finish my quilt. I visit your site each time I start a new quilt project to learn more about the pattern I'm making. It means more to have a historical context. Thank you for sharing your wonderful knowledge! Warm regards, Calli

  5. Thank you for your research on this quilt pattern, I learned a lot!