Monday, October 24, 2022

A Modern Friendship Basket ca. 1933


Nebraska Friendship Quilt
Dated 1936

Notice the edge of diamonds. Tricky binding!

This is such a great example of "modern style" during the 1930s
although it may look anything but modern to us.

The pattern was designed in the art department at the Needlecraft syndicate, a "Laura Wheeler" design. Pattern collectors have many names for this syndicate, among them Old Chelsea Station as that is where you mailed your pattern order.

It's  #749 in BlockBase+

A relatively popular design. I have several photos in the files.

The maker of this top understood 1930s modernism very well.
No old-fashioned dark colors for her: New pastel solids 
and scrappy dress prints.

And like the Nebraska quiltmakers she contrasted prints with plains,
a hallmark of the modern quilt at the time.

Old-fashioned gold and blue palette updated with new shades.
Probably some fading in the stars.

West Virginia project & the Quilt Index

Alma Watkins (1883 - 1937) didn't quite get it. In her sixties when she made the quilt above she seems to be in a transition between new pastels and old-fashioned red & green color scheme. Her top was quilted later by her granddaughters.

North Carolina project & the Quilt Index
Nor did Lucy Tucker

New pattern, old scrap bag

North Carolina project & the Quilt Index
Quilt made for Sarah Royal by friends and relatives
in the Stone Mountain Community, Alleghany County

The color scheme in bold polished cottons and black looks quite modern to us today, but I bet the designers were following North Carolina traditional color with new fabrics. The date 1928 on this block makes no sense as the distinctive patchwork pattern is 1933 but 1928 is Joyce and Boyce's birthdate. The family recalled it as being made in 1939 when the twins were about 10.

And then there's this scrap riot. Scraps from the first half of the 20th century, combined in that aesthetic we have been calling Variable Contrast. 

Here's a pattern for a 12" block from BlockBase+
Print it on an 8-1/2" x 11" sheet. See the inch square for scale.

3 Sheets


  1. The orange/pink and black one really catches my eye!

  2. This is really an intriguing block- but I'm not crazy about the Y seams.... I like it better upright rather than on point.

  3. Thanks for the info. I added the attribution to the QI records.