Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Red & White Quilt in Various Colors

Classic medallion pattern, circa 1900
There is a published source for the wide variety of these late 19th-century medallions.

It's in Blockbase as #3985, called Sawtooth in the Rural New Yorker in 1930.
It goes around the square four times.

It was also published as the Red and White quilt.
I thought that reference was Hearth & Home magazine but I 
see now it was Ladies' Home Journal in 1893. (Although it may have been in both.)

We have one at the Spencer Museum that may have been made from that pattern
although the reds and whites are shaded a bit differently.

I dated it to 1880-1920, the heyday of the red and white quilt.
I might move it up a decade now, 1890 -1920.

Stella Rubin had one in her inventory,
shaded like the pattern drawing with a dramatic border.

A four-block

Blue and white quilt

There really wasn't a pattern, just a drawing in the magazine in 1893, which
would account for the different number of triangles.

The pattern went beyond the magazine. It was picked up
by a newspapers in 1894 noting the article for "a number of
pleasing designs, among which...The center square is 10-1/2 inches. The
surrounding strip is 2 inches."

Several newspapers copied this article, which may have contributed to the fashion for these medallions. Was the source quilts from Pennsylvania's Anabaptist groups? 

Clarke Hess collection/Horst Auctions

Fannie Brubaker Bollinger embroidered the date 1884 and her initials in the center of this
version in pink and yellow.

This one also from the Hess collection has the initals MBB
and the date 1889

These quilts pre-date the articles.

Dana Balsamo has one in her collection with the name
Jacob Landis in the center.

Documented in the Nebraska Project: By Mary C. Miller Asher
and a date given of 1897. Did Mary subscribe to the Ladies' Homes Journal
or have relatives in Pennsylvania?

Here's a selection of variations on the theme:

Clytie Alda Alcorn Benson, made in NovaScotia
Rhode Island Project & the Quilt Index.

The date in the center: 1908

The solid colors left space for some fancy quilting, although this
light is a pale print

Stella Rubin

Variation as a giant nine-patch 

American Museum of Folk Art

From French72 Antiques on eBay

The West Virginia project documented this quilt made by Linnie Erie Vickers
who made two of them and called the design The Pride of West Virginia.

A few more from southeastern Pennsylvania.

Amish quilt from Laura Fisher

Mennonite quilt

From the Flack's collection

Mennonite quilt by Rachel Newhart from Michigan State University collection

We can see the basic structure going back several decades.
Here's one from the Goodwin/Wilkins family in Baltimore,
pictured in William Dunton's Old Quilts

Similar idea in the Smithsonian's collection.

From the 1894 newspaper article above:
A nice metaphor
"With an effort to aid prospective quiltmakers in avoiding the rock of ugliness and the whirlpool of intricacy...."

Don't we all strive for smooth sailing?
Start piecing half square triangles and find your biggest rulers for the corners.

UPDATE: Here are the photos Marianne Fons promised in the comments. A four-block red and white quilt and her Trellis, king-sized. It's Trellis because the format was a good place to hang some floral prints.


  1. Tooooo many triangles for my brain to accommodate this morning :) I do like the embroidered initials on the Hess quilt.

  2. What, Jeanne, you don't want to worry about bias edges on 1200 triangles!

  3. Barbara, via email I'm sending you a photo of a nifty one of these in the collection at Lincoln, which you may have seen before, PLUS the HUGE quilt I made inspired by it.

  4. Daredevils is enough for me right now :)

  5. I don't watch too many quilt shows, but I do remember Marianne Fons and her daughter teaching that quilt.

  6. And Stella Rubin's quilt...I just can't get over the contrast between the precise triangles and that wonky border!