Sunday, July 28, 2019

Regional Pattern: Railroad Crossing

Here's a great Ohio invention:
The Railroad Crossing quilt

A small community of Amish quiltmakers who lived in Holmes County at the end of the 19th
century started piecing their solid color scraps into triangles.

Holstein Collection at International Quilt 
Study Center & Museum

And pieced those into bigger triangles.

About 1920, Holmes County, Ohio

Date inscribed 1921 L.J.H.

A star, some sashing---
a masterpiece.

Even if some of the color faded.
Darwin says NOT faded.

The earliest I have seen the pattern and the name published was in Quilters Newsletter in 1977.
I saw it as an octagonal block fit into a square and gave it a number in the octagonal blocks,
BlockBase #299.4

Here's a variation with a pinwheel in the center. Same magazine
but a square block. #2932.

1928, Christina Yoder Schlaabach
Perhaps this is the one I indexed.

Now in the Faith & Stephen Brown collection.

Or maybe this one. Both the pinwheels have been in Darwin Bearley's inventory.

Darwin still has a shop in Akron.

He says he still owns all of these and they are pictured in his book
Antique Ohio Amish Quilts. He also says:
"I've always thought this pattern was developed by the Ohio Amish as I never saw another one that wasn't Ohio Amish."
He is the authority.

A 20th-century version with a small nine patch instead of a star or pinwheel.

Signed and dated 1888 Melinda Miller

This one has a simple nine patch in the center of the block.
It's also in the Brown collection, the earliest date-inscribed
Amish quilt they have.

Small nine patches where the blocks meet in the center line.

Another from the Brown collection. No extra
patchwork blocks in the square---but a lot of triangles.
I count 44 in each of the larger triangles.

Most stitchers made do with fewer HSTs.

1914 Anna Hershberger, 
from Darwin Bearley's inventory

 International Quilt Museum

The story I have heard is antique dealer Sandra Mitchell (1942-2000), who lived in Columbus, Ohio, found the quilts in Amish families in the 1970s just as the market for Amish quilts was getting hot. Holmes County has one of the highest per-capita populations of Amish in the U.S. with families  going back there for generations.

But Darwin says Sandra was more likely to have obtained the quilts she sold from pickers and other dealers.

Holmes County
Sandra and Darwin sold many of those pictured here to collectors.
We assume the name Railroad Crossing was used by the families who inherited these quilts. 

Here's a version of the basic block. It's not in BlockBase.

Mainstream quilters made it too...

from the prints popular in the 1880-1925 period.

From the Virginia project and their book Quilts of Virginia. 

These "English" quilts are pretty much the same pattern.

But I haven't found a published source.

An extra row of triangles...Maybe once red and green?

If you were going to make one you'd probably want to cut and piece your triangles like this so you have a straight edge along the straight edge.

You don't want to have to corral your edges like Anna did in 1914.

72 x 95"
I figured out a 20-inch block in EQ8.
3-inch sashing between the blocks
Diagonals cut 3-3/8" wide
by 12".

Cutting would be smarter starting with 5" squares instead of 5-1/4". How big would the block be? See what happens.

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

QuiltSpeak at the North Carolina Museum of History

Eula May Bagwell Jones, 1902-1903
Wake County, North Carolina
North Carolina Museum of History

Eula May's lone star quilt is one of the North Carolina quilts featured in the current exhibit at the North Carolina Museum of History, which is up in Raleigh until March of 2020.

Chintz panel quilt attributed to Ann Eliza Shipp Bynum,
about 1845

One of the chintz panels trimmed & appliqued in the quilt above.

Curator of Cultural History Diana Bell-Kite organized the show of quilts from the Museum's collection. (Isn't that a great title---Curator of Cultural History?) Being situated in North Carolina they have a fabulous collection ranging from chintz elegance through circa-1900, regional fashions to one-of-a-kind visions.

Heavenly Vision by Margaret Eller Maxwell (1867-1957)

Elizabeth Jennie Roach Witherington & Lydia Chapman Roach

Typical North Carolina fabrics from the end of the 19th century in an atypical Mariner's Compass based on 5 divisions.

Regional pattern: Cotton Boll or(Anthemion)

The graphics are clever with the stitched words 

Laurel Horton wrote the catalog foreward summarizing the theme:
"QuiltSpeak rides the wave of some 40 years of quilt scholarship---not the old competitive status-conscious model of scholarship that largely excluded women and their work. Instead, this is scholarship as designed by women, based on women's cultural values...."

Jennifer at Curlicue Creations saw the show and posted some photos:

The QuiltSpeak catalog is available for $20 at the museum's shop:

And if you are planning to take a road trip you might consider going at the end of September when the curators plan a bed-turning format to show some quilts they couldn't exhibit due to condition issues. Buy your ticket soon.

September 28, 2019: Bed Turning: Diana Bell-Kite, Curator of Cultural History & Paige Myers, Textile Conservator, will show you unusual and fragile quilts from the museum collection not in the display. Register here:

Saturday, July 20, 2019

Annie Garner's Quilts

Quilt by Annie Caroline Teagarden Garner
The West Virginia project saw the best quilts. See Annie Garner at Quilt Index.
Her diagonal pieced design above has been puzzling me for years.

At a quilt day in Wheeling in 1992 they saw three of Annie's
quilts, all made with the same late-19th century solid cottons.
But quite different styles.

Annie probably made these about 1890 when she was about 20.
She married John Garner (1863-1941) in 1888 and had four children. They
farmed in Wetzel County.

I color corrected the Quilt Index photos and squared them up a little.

Classic Southern quilts at the turn of the 20th century---solid fabrics, not very colorfast. 
It's nice to see one woman's work as a group.

This quilt seems to be a one-of-a-kind design.

It took me a ridiculously long time to figure out the repeat.

But here is the block. Annie set the blocks in a strip and then put the strip on the diagonal.
And she staggered the repeat in a half-drop design.

Which makes it hard to figure out.
But now that I have I feel quite smart.
Not quite as smart as Annie, however.

Some family information from Find-a-Grave

Wetzel County is on the Ohio River just east of Ohio

New Martinsville is the county seat, where Annie is buried.