Saturday, April 27, 2019

Giant Tulips #5: Carolina Tulip Pattern

How the tulip pattern was handed around in the last half of the 19th century remains a mystery.

 The color scheme and its bloom of diamond shapes is a characteristic.

 North Carolina Museum of History
by Nancy M Steele Mills (1818-1890), Iredell County

In this sad survivor the green has faded to a pale tan.

Once Ruby McKim published her Tulip Applique in the late 1920s her design became a popular source. She must have seen a similar quilt as her design is a lot like the Southern examples. Note that her pattern was for a 16" block.

This one was probably made from McKim's pattern
I bet that block is 16 inches or more.

When I was looking for patterns I found that the Electric Quilt program
includes a pattern for Laura Ella Anderson's North Carolina quilt.

I modified the colors to the traditional palette.
(It's under "04 Classic Applique---Flowers on Point")

And then I decided that Laura's leaves weren't that graceful
so I redrew them.

Here's a free pattern for an 8" block. If you print it 150% it makes a 12" block, which would give it the proper Carolina proportion. Add seams.
(Double it for 16" and go crazy.)

And that is the end of the Giant Tulip invasion.

Friday, April 26, 2019

Giant Tulip Quilts #4: Commercial Patterns

In the late 1880s one could search Scammell's Universal Treasure House of Useful Knowledge and find patchwork designs in the T's for Textile Decoration. "The tulip block is to be pieced out of three different colors." 

Scammell's may have influenced some quiltmakers to create that tulip block. Was the tulip pieced or appliqued?

Ladies Art Pattern #65 was even less graceful than Scammell's--- the stem
is a tree trunk.

Scammell's may have influenced Henry & Emma Brockstedt at the Ladies Art Company as they included a few Scammell designs in their Diagrams of Quilt Sofa & Pin Cushion Patterns, published several times after 1889. Scammell's also went through several editions from 1885-1889 so it is difficult to say which was first but I am betting on Scammell.

LAC pattern card

Awkward or not, the Ladies Art Company design was the basis for many quilts.

Although some redrew the pattern....

For better or worse

For some reason sometime I decided to redraw the pattern in EQ for a pieced and appliqued version similar to the Scammell/Ladies Art tulip. Here's a pattern at 8". Piece A B E & F. Applique C & D.
Or applique the whole thing! Piecing is crazy ambitious.

Even more influential was Ruby Short McKim who must have seen a Carolina tulip quilt and drawn a pattern about 1929 for the Kansas City Star. It's in her book 101 Quilt Patterns.

Antique tulip of diamond leaves, lone block cut from a quilt

Her pattern is all appliqued and she tells you to make the tulip red--- red print in the small diamonds and she shows a red solid in the other tulip pieces. Like the Ladies' Art pattern the tulip is straight in the block, unlike most of the older Southern versions. She also changed the classic side shapes from green to a color to match the flower.  McKim's smaller leaves with a point on the end are distinctive.

Quilts made from McKim's Tulip Applique are easy to spot.

From a Texas auction

Particularly if the tulip is all red.

From the Arizona project & the Quilt Index

Quilters often added outline embroidery in the fashion of
the 1930s like Georgie Culverhouse of Texas did.

Georgie's is modernism perfected.
New colors, old scale.


Someone enjoyed embroidery, dating this quilt 1930
soon after the pattern appeared. She also included other
embroidery designs by McKim.

Looks to be a sampler of Kansas City Star designs

Pennsylvania auction

Traditional color, McKim's design?

Spencer Museum of Art at the University of Kansas

Carrie Hall made a block for her book and called it Colonial Tulip.
Carolina Tulip may have been a better name.

I found many of these pictures on eBay. Tulips are still a popular image. Just search for tulip quilt and  you can probably find some of these quilts still available.

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Giant Tulip Quilts #3: How Early?

The Charleston Museum owns this red and green tulip quilt dated 1861.

Could it be that old? No reason to doubt it. The Turkey red (deteriorating in the way Turkey red will) and the yellow-green indicating an overdyed green cotton are quite typical of mid-century applique quilts.
New York Sampler

The idea of featuring a single floral is part of the applique tradition, found wherever mid-19th-century Americans made quilts.

Dated 1868 from Stella Rubin's inventory

Ann Sharp of Evesham in Burlington County, New Jersey
signed her quilt in 1850.

See more here at Skinner Auctions:

Matilda Ingram's South Carolina quilt is dated 1895 on a label.

Same pattern, same overdyed green in the sashing but the tan indicates
the unreliable synthetic dyes after 1880.

We can definitely trace the idea of the single tulip back into the beginnings of American applique in the 1840s.

From Pook & Pook Auctions in Pennsylvania

Southerners were not the only group of quilters who continued the pattern into the 20th century. This tulip with a blue background is typical of southeastern Pennsylvania taste from about 1880-1920.

Detail of a sampler from the Herrs inventory in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania

No source, online auction years ago.
There's something about this that looks far more southern Pennsylvania
than Southern U.S. The emphasis on primary colors? Blocks on point?

Similar style to one collected in Pennsylvania by
Jonathan Holstein and Gail Van Der Hoof at 
the International Quilt Study Center & Museum

Pennsylvanians were more likely to use printed
calicoes than Carolinians who favored solids.

Tomorrow: The Influence of Commercial Patterns

Another regional variation on the single tulip:

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Giant Tulip #2: Regional Clues

One block from an Etsy shop

Many of the giant tulip quilts in my picture files have no
history with them but we can guess they might be Southern.

Even when they are found in Maine, as was this one from Stanton Auctions.
Looks Southern from about 1880-1920:

1) Solid colors, many unstable as far as dye permanence
2) Blocks set on the square with strip sashing
3) Giant tulips

Pennsylvania auction
Initialed L.T.K.
Pennsylvanians and Southerners had a similar aesthetic.

Classic example from an eBay auction
More reliable green fabrics though

Almost the same quilt from a Virginia dealer
The thick batt and free form quilting is a weaker clue to a Southern quilt,
after 1880.

Jeffrey Evans Auction in Virginia

From French Antiques, bought in Asheville, North Carolina

Florida auction

Matilda Ingham, Chester City, South Carolina
A label dates it to 1895 and calls it Tulip.

Here are a few of the more eccentric from the quilt projects:

Mattie Lura Steward, Hartselle, Alabama
From the Arizona project & the Quilt Index 

Adelaide Pearl Gray Hampton,
Tennessee project & the Quilt Index.

Allie Hammock Griffin, Downsville, Louisiana
From the Louisiana project & the Quilt Index.
They documented 8 of Allie's quilts from 1930-1950.
Here's another: