Friday, December 15, 2017

DWR 3: Source of the Design?

Double Wedding Ring

If you ask anybody that knows anything about quilt patterns the source of this very popular pattern they would tell you that it seems to be derived from the older Pickle Dish pattern.

Here's Laura Jordan's 1910 dated Wedding Ring from Georgia,
the earliest date-inscribed example yet found.

And here's the earliest dated Pickle Dish I've found.
1881 by Stella Nash, found in the North Carolina project.
So that's a 30 year difference.

But the number of dated examples before 1920 is so small
I wonder if we can really know which came first.
2 Wedding Rings before 1920.
1 Pickle Dish before 1920.

I went to the Quilt Index and did a search for Double Wedding Ring quilts. 1,579 hits. Not all of them had photos but I skimmed through them all. The majority were made in the 1930s color scheme---pastel arcs on a white background.  

Like this 1929 example I found in an auction.

I also did a search for Pickle. This pattern is far less popular---I got 63 hits (and several of those hits  were quilters with the lovely name of Pickle.) Most of the pickle files that came up were from the Quilts of Tennessee project.

By Mary High Prince, Tennessee. 
I color corrected some of
the old quilt project slides, which have deteriorated.

Malinda Youree McCrary, Rutherford County, Tennessee.

I didn't really have any pictures of Pickle Dish quilts that looked significantly earlier than the Wedding Ring Quilts. I was looking for earlier fabric styles like red and green prints or chintzes or Prussian blues. Couldn't find any pieced of the madder-style browns so popular in the 1870s.

I did some matchups of similar colors and fabrics, all of which to look before 1920.

Both from Auctions

It looks to me like these are parallel patterns developing at the same time
in the South.

I won't be addressing the published patterns for these designs because Wilene Smith has already done a thorough job of this. See her post on her Quilt History Tidbits site:

Wilene says:
"Double Wedding Ring was first illustrated by Capper's Weekly October 20, 1928"
"Pickle Dish...earliest known illustrations of this design...by Eveline Foland in the Kansas City Star, October 24, 1931"

I'm sure I'll have it all figured out tomorrow.


  1. I have loved this thread: Pickle Dish and Double Wedding Ring quilts. I have made several myself and I appreciate that you differentiate that these two quilts ARE different (ie, the points in the wedges/arcs versus the strips). There are some modern patterns that tout themselves as Pickle Dish, but are just fat DWR! As always, I love all the history you bring to the table Barbara. You ARE the encyclopedia of quilts.

  2. Another difference in the 2 types of quilts discussed here... the pickle dish are in darker colors which to me suggests they are older, 1800's time of being made. The 1930's enjoyed the lighter fabrics to help alleviate the depression that had come on people's minds due to the depression of the dollar. Am I way off, or have it hit it on the head?