Quilt made in the mid 1960s according to maker
Over at the QuiltHistorySouth Facebook group we've been looking closely at Southern quilts, focusing on style, technique and pattern characteristics that help us identify a Southern aesthetic. We can use this quilt from my collection for an example of one that seems to fit a lot of the stylistic criteria.
- Free-cut triangles arranged into blocks of varying sizes and pattern.
- Variable contrast in which each block follows a different contrast formula with some patchwork almost disappearing due to lack of contrast in color and print pattern.
- A Make-do choice of fabrics, scraps from home sewing, including corduroys, double knits and coarse wovens as well as conventional cotton (or cotton blend) solids and prints.
Free cut piecing
Using pieces either as they came (say factory cutaways)
or cutting with no templates or measuring.
Variable contrast in a mid-20th-century Southern quilt from Teddy Pruett's collection. More accurate piecing but similar attitude about each block following a dark/light shading that has nothing to do with the next block. Similar wide border and utilitarian straight line quilting.
Make-do Choice of Fabrics
Scrapbags from the 1960-1980 period were full of novel fibers, weaves and colors.
I'd have to say that with all its style characteristics we are
looking at a Southern quilt.
But I happen to know the quilt was made by a young woman from
New York City who moved west in her youth to Cincinnati and then to Kansas City.
The quilt was made in the Kansas City suburbs.
Anna McNally was raised in Brooklyn
Grandma just looked at me blankly. I never saw her (who had 13 children) do any handwork, but she was not averse to giving me advice. My how-to book was Carrie Hall's who advised using scraps from the clothing scrap bag.
I chose this because I liked the name Robbing Peter to Pay Paul, not because I thought it
was a good first patchwork design.
I free cut squares and triangles, picked a pattern from Hall (too ambitious), cut away and pieced. Blocks were of course not the same size so I just lopped some off and set it together with no thought of balance.
It didn't matter that the blocks are not the same size.
You piece them in strips and then cut off the long ends
I actually bought fabric I'd guess for two borders. I quilted it in my lap with a back stitch and 6 strand blue & green embroidery thread. Was that fun! Must have taken three years; I think I finished it in 1967 and used it for decades. All those strange fabrics frayed out and it got wonkier with washing.
Now I tell you all this because I do not know why my quilt made in the Kansas City suburbs by a girl from New York would look just like a Southern quilt. Then I remembered I went to grade school in Cincinnati Ohio, just across the river from Kentucky where several of my school friends had grandmas who sent them quilts. My best friend had several wonderful quilts on her bed (I envied her no end) and I bet those Kentucky quilts looked just like this.
A version of the genre
I guess my first couple of quilts were Southern quilts
whether I knew it or not.
A mid-20th-century Kentucky quilt
QuiltHistorySouth Facebook group. Ask to join. Post pictures of Southern quilts.