Sunday, July 31, 2022

Southern Spin #5 Spinning Ball

Southern Spin #5
Spinning Ball by Becky Brown

BlockBase #3537

It's definitely difficult piecing, getting 12 spokes with 12 seams to meet in the center.

An early-20th-century Georgia top with 13 spokes.
I bet she was mad when that red faded

Here's a publication I missed, a 1933 Aunt Martha booklet:
Whirling Wheel or Reacting Wheel (!?!)
Print this on an 8-1/2" x 11" sheet. See the inch square for scale.

You can always add a big yellow dot as Becky Collis did.

And Denniele Bohannon has 18 spokes here
with a blue dot.

Over half done!

An old East Bay friend Berniece Stone with
her quilt.

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

Feed Sack Prints? 1938

Library of Congress
Man posing on the porch of his Topeka store, 1938

In 1938 photographer John Vachon (1914-1975) came to Kansas to take pictures of farmers and their lives for the Farm Security Administration. He recorded this man in Topeka sitting among some of what looked to me like polka dot feed sacks.

There is no identification on the photo above but from this picture
of the same store we can guess that the man might be J.G. (Jack) Rees.

1915 article on Jack Rees in the
Topeka Capital. The Rees family
is still in the fruit business east of Topeka.
And they are associated with Skinner's Garden Center.
"I didn't know it at the time, but I was having a last look at America as it used to be." John Vachon

The photos are wonderful in themselves and the Kansas history is interesting, but I liked the pair of pictures because they seemed to show dress print sacks in photos dated 1938, adding to evidence of a late-1930s date for the advent of these fabric containers. See a post on the 1938 invention:


But I am not knowledgeable about the subtleties of commodity containers. Gloria Nixon is one of the top authorities. She commented on the Rees photo:

1934 letterhead from Crete Mills

"I feel those aren't dress prints. [See] Crete Mills/Victor Feed letterhead from 1930 and 1934 showing some of its bags. Now look at the Jack Rees photo. From the little I've found, Crete Mills used a motif corresponding to the feed the bag held: pigs, chicks, eggs, etc., throughout the 1930s. Victor Flour is the product I would expect to see packaged in pretty dress prints around 1938."

I guess what I thought was a polka dot is an egg. I opined that the piggy print would make a cute child's garment. But sez Gloria....

"The labels took up most of the cloth anyway, front and back. There would be little fabric to use for anything."

So Mr. Rees is indeed selling feedsacks but not the kind with the dress prints that we are so familiar with. The Victor feed containers predate the usual dress print sacks. And that's why the Facebook groups are so useful---group think. Fine points discussed. Experts chiming in.

View John Vachon's photos at the Library of Congress website. They've scanned 14,000 of his images so you might want to limit your view to a particular state.

Read more about Vachon here:

Print sacks shown in an exhibit at Kansas State University

See our QuiltHistorySouth Facebook page. We have over 2,500 members. Ask to join:

Friday, July 22, 2022

Drunkard's Path Snowballing Along


Drunkard's Path variation. Pattern popular after 1890.
Lots of double pink a clue to about 1900.
The pattern has many names. 

This scrappy block shows
you one classic version. The quarter circles with the asterisk
are all rotated. Other variations repeat those corners and centers
in different fashion but this is the repeat in the pink quilt.

Except there is more to this than one block.

The design alternates a Drunkard's Path block with a second
block. It looks like you would applique four circles in the corners.

Or you could pieced the quarter circle blocks into a nine patch like this.

Now there is a category in my Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns
and the digital program BlockBase+ for patterns composed of two different

Except it's not in there.


It should be near the Double Irish Chains, two blocks:

Or the Snowballs

My first excuse for omission is that this variation was NOT a published pattern
but when sorting through the picture files I found a photo from Carlie Sexton in 1928.

It's tough to figure out what the repeat is (That's my excuse now
for why it's not in there.)

But this seems to be what she meant.

This piecer had a little trouble with rotation 
but she followed Sexton's pattern it would seem.

Two blocks by Dora Lee Pearson (1861-1937) of Monroe County, 
Tennessee. From the Tennessee project & the Quilt Index.

The files says the fabric is a navy blue.
Dora's main block here is a slightly different Drunkard's Path.

I guess you will have to add this 2-block version to your Encyclopedia with the number 1040.8
and the name Drunkard's Path, Carlie Sexton 1928.

Monday, July 18, 2022

Unlicensed Artists


I know everybody is going around moping with a bucket over their heads...

And looking askance at the world.

But hey, kids, cheer up!

There's always Sunbonnet Sue to amuse us.

Prompted by Teddy Pruett who owns this quilt she calls Subhuman Sue
I thought you'd like to see how things can go awfully wrong
in the cute pattern category.

Wicked witch of the 70s

The problem seems to be unlicensed artists.

I've probably shown some of these before
but what the heck.

Feet can be problematic

And so, as we all know, can weight.

Do not try this at home. Buy a professionally drawn pattern if you MUST indulge in cuteness.

Thursday, July 14, 2022

Circle Saw Variation


Glenna found this top in Edmond, Oklahoma

She thinks the tan was once red and it does
look like that very unstable Congo red introduced about 1880.

She posted photos on our QuiltHistorySouth Facebook page.
Edmond, Oklahoma certainly qualifies as South and this
seemingly unique pattern is actually a Southern regional design.

Here's one a little bit older discovered by the South Carolina
project and pictured in black and white in their book Social Fabric,
made in the town of Woodruff in Spartanburg County.

Laurel Horton and the other people working on the project
years ago thought it might be about 1870---which is late for
a chintz swag border.

But that's another thing they discovered. Quiltmakers in
South Carolina held on to the idea of chintz borders after
the rest of the country moved on.

(I worked a little on the Quilt Index photo)

The quilt is associated with the Arnold family and the woman who brought it in told them, "My mother said it was called the 'Temperance Quilt'."

It's a variation of a popular Southern pattern that goes by the names Wheel of Fortune,
Circle Saw or Wagon Wheel.

with spiraling centers or straight spokes.
Then piece it into a four-lobed or four-petaled shape.

From a post on the QuiltsVintage&Antique Facebook page

Possibly once in Julie Silber's inventory.

The chintz border is optional. No surprise, but this was sold
at a South Carolina auction house Wooten & Wooten.

Once in Candace St.Lawrence's collection.
An outrageously dramatic border.

The light floral at the top looks like a fairly recent patch.
Might be a South Carolina quilt.

Carol Butzge posted one she owns. She bought it from
Jean Lyle who told her it was from Georgia.

with a border of serpentine stripes.

We know quite a bit about this one attributed to Mary Alice Catlett Vance
  Buncombe County, North Carolina and dated 1879.
See posts on the Catletts here:

From Lila Laurette Carroll's collection

Michelle Yeo sells a pattern from one very similar to Laurette's. Fewer spokes.

There do seem to be a lot of style conventions in these.
But the lobes or petals are not always white.

Sometimes they are green as in this example from the Tennessee project,
attributed to a Mississippi woman

who pieced her border.

Julie Silber's inventory.
Another convention is the echo quilting around the petals.

Five blocks from an online auction with each of the spokes
chrome orange rather than contrasting colors.

Blue petals from Abbeville County in South Carolina.
Hard to see in the Quilt Index photo.

With an appliqued swag border.

And you could piece a nine-patch into the background
like Lois Wright Jarrel (1871-1954) who seems to have
lived in Oklahoma.

Her quilt recorded by the Arizona project is in the Pinal
County Historical Society.

Another option: Six petals. This tattered Georgia quilt, circa 1900, found inside another quilt and used as batting, attributed to Mary Ann Seagrave Clements (1844-1910) and daughter Ella Dennis in Fulton County where Atlanta is. Newer style conventions, partial blocks on the side and triple strip sashing.

Similar block in similar shape, found in the Michigan project
and called by the family who recalled that it was made by Maria
Ingersoll Snipes (1869-1942) of Atlanta.

And here is Maria in 1910, about the time the block was made,
living in Atlanta with her husband, a blacksmith with the wonderful
name of President Snipes and several children (one of whom is President Jr.)

Southerners are often as creative in naming their children as they are in their quilt patterns.

Beryl's version of Abbeville County, quilted by
Addicted to Quilts