Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Rocky Road to Kansas

Rocky Road to Kansas

A few days ago I did a post on contained crazy quilts. This star with four points is one of the common designs we see in the middle of the country about 1900.

So popular we put one on the cover of our book
Kansas Quilts & Quilters

We saw many in the Kansas project. It may have been popular in Kansas because of the name.

It's a variation of a string quilt or a crazy quilt, fashionable in the
years when crazy quilts were hot---1885-1910.

The Ladies Art Company published 2 variations of the pattern about 1890.
One showed it in a square (LAC #236) and called it Rocky Road to Kansas.

The other was shown an all over pattern without a square block.

LAC #219
They called this one Crazy Quilt.

I've got a couple of date-inscribed examples in the files.

 Mary Feldsend (?) 1897

Felicia O Law, 1897 Noble County, Ohio

It looks like Felicia had a Ladies Art Company pattern for #219.

 Mary Rosenbaum, 1895,
Nebraska Historical Society Collection


From Laura Fisher's inventory, silks, no date.
Unknown source with crazy quilt stitching outlining the strings.

The only other name I've ever heard for the pattern is Lazy Gal, which I heard folklorist Laurel Horton mention once in a South Carolina source. Lazy Gal is another name for a string quilt.

From Buckboard Quilts inventory
If the points in the star are not pieced it's a kaleidoscope.

BlockBase has many variations on the basic structure.


Another way to look at the pattern

A little curve....

A few more undated examples in cotton.

Above, maybe 1880-1900

With sashing and cornerstones, maybe 1890-1910

More like the 1940s.

And you could always use striped fabric.


  1. The line between crazies and kaleidoscopes can blur.
    Both make up a fun, beautiful block or quilt.
    Thanks for sharing Barbara.

  2. So many variations and they all look fun! Thanks for getting them together in one spot.

  3. We have one in the collection of the New England Quilt Museum. It can be seen at the Quilt Index: http://www.quiltindex.org/fulldisplay.php?kid=1D-FC-EFD

  4. What’s the difference between this block and a Priscilla block? Is it the crazy quilt/string piecing of the star points or the angle of the points?