Thursday, July 27, 2023

Mystery Pattern: Spiderwoman?


The North Carolina quilt project recorded this
quilt attributed to 1959 and Maggie Hewitt of Chesapeake
County, Virginia.

It's a well-balanced design. The project gave it the name 
Double Star Flower Variation---placing it in this rather
small category of 8-pointed stars with points in an unusual symmetry.

Encyclopedia of Pieced Patterns & BlockBase: #388x
Although it's not actually in there as a published pattern

I imported that first star above into EQ8, changed the corners and added pieces.
Voila! Except for those 8 seams meeting in the center it's a good design.

Wait a minute!
I can fix that with a little applique.

Here's the pattern for a 12" block with templates & rotary cutting for the triangles:
Spider Web Star
Print on an 8-1/2" x 11" sheet of paper. 
Check the inch square for accuracy and adjust if necessary.

Dots a good solution.

Saturday, July 22, 2023

Political Patterns: Harrison vs Van Buren


Cotton yardage printed for the 1840 campaign of Whig
 candidate William Henry Harrison

Library of Congress

That 1840 presidential campaign is acknowledged as the beginning of the trend for political baubles, ornaments and souvenirs. Rivals were Democrat incumbent Martin Van Buren (who ignored the trend and lost) and Harrison.

Sandwich glass plate, 1840

Whose campaign made the most of baubles.

Transferware plate. 1840

A portrait brush

Cornell University Collection
Tortoise shell hair comb with portrait, flags and eagles,
an inauguration souvenir

Cornell has an impressive collection of Harrison memorabilia:

As the voting franchise widened to include non-property owning white men (no women), campaign managers realized that objects could simplify the message and establish the brand. Politicos expanded that appeal to women with material goods like china and the fabric above.

Pook & Pook Auction
Brown colorway of the Harrison print between
the four-patches.

Collage by Donna Segar at Streets of Salem

The monochromatic yardage with a portrait of the candidate must have been popular.
 Many fragments in three colorways and a few quilts survive.

Two different Harrison fabrics were printed. 
Textile Museum of Canada
The second multicolored print has no portrait but a log cabin with
cider barrels, eagles and a pair of cannon.

Western Kentucky University Collection
Patchwork quilt from Suffolk County, Long Island that passed from
20th-century dealer Florence Peto to Elizabeth Richardson. The cannon
print is on three borders.

The New England Quilt Museum owns a wholecloth
quilt that once belonged to political collector Julie Powell.

The cannon print seems to have been less available than the monochromatic
portrait print as fewer pieces survive.

Flag for the hero of an 1811 battle with the indigenous Ohioans.
The marketing message was simple. Winning a battle was the ultimate qualification
for political office.

Alternate message: He was a man of the people, those yeoman
farmers exercising their right to vote.

Poor President Harrison, "Old Tippecanoe," died of
a fever 3 weeks after his inauguration. They'll tell you he caught
 his death from the cold at the ceremony where he refused to wear a hat 
but it was probably White House sanitation that did him in.

Mourning lithograph, 1841

We would expect to find quilts in patterns advocating Harrison's election in 1840 such as the three pieced of yardage above. The early 1840s, however, was a time of other innovations. After Harrison's death quilts especially album quilts became quite the fashion. Applique blocks were designed in wide profusion, no where more cleverly than in Baltimore.

2010 Sale catalog

The symbolism is easily readable. Harrison, the log cabin candidate, was not too aristocratic for a barrel of hard cider. (Van Buren allegedly preferred champagne.) Whigs were symbolized by the racoon on the roof; Democrat Van Buren symbolized perhaps by the fox under the flag.

These appliqued log cabins with their animal mascots, however,
date from years after Harrison's death in April, 1841.

National Museum of American History
Top associated with Rebecca Diggs.
The  distinctive style tells us they are Baltimore
Album quilts, which flourished in the years 1846 into the 1850s.

 The barrel is inked Hard Cide(r).

These appliqued log cabins must be commemorative rather than campaign blocks or perhaps political in alluding to the sainted predecessor of 1844's Whig Candidate Henry Clay. 

Hard to see the print in this Flying Geese from James Julia auctions
but it may be the polychrome print with the cannons.

Van Buren, the Sly Fox being chased by dogs
wearing cider barrels.

Opponent President Martin Van Buren could not compete against the abundance of political ephemera or on his own record.

He was painted as a snobbish New Yorker.

Uncle Sam sick with La Grippe
attended by "Aunt Mattie" and his/her quacks.
The disastrous Panic of 1837 was his legacy.

And his campaign offered little appeal for the common voter (or the voter's wife.)
The Democrats disdained that "mob rule."

Heritage Auctions sold this rare Van Buren-touting banner.
It's hard to understand but the implication is that if you were persuaded to board
Tip's Canoe (Harrison) you'd sink.

Handmade decoupage bandbox with Van Buren portrait

See a post on politics from ten years ago here:

Monday, July 17, 2023

Morris Meadow Projects: Ideas & a Little Photoshopping


I sent Jane & William Morris a quilt made from my newest
Morris Meadow fabrics and they emailed this picture of it hanging
in the dining room. 
(This Photoshopping is why I never get any sewing done.)

If you'd like to make a 60" square medallion for your dining room
Moda has a free pattern.
See the PDF here:

And we have plenty of other ideas around here....

Becky Collis had a layer cake. She hand appliqued all these
lozenge shapes, adding her masterful long-arm quilting.

Becky Brown pieced a scrappy sawtooth design.
See more about the pattern at this post:

Another Idea!
I saw this quilt in an online auction several years ago and kept the pattern in mind.

It's easier than it looks. I drew it up based on 4-1/2" finished squares so
one could use a Charm pack of 5" squares.

Michaelmas Geese in Morris Meadow
There are three units, each finishing to 4-1/2" in the pattern.

When I run out of ideas I see Kim Diehl has a new book
Simple Double Dipped Quilts with this great version of something scrappy.
Taking pre-orders here:

Wednesday, July 12, 2023

Odd Pattern: Pasadena Pie n Burger

Silk quilt now on exhibit in the show Community Stitches: Quilt Designs & Stories at the Pasadena Museum of History, co-curated by Leah Zieber and Arlene Stevens. 

It's an unusual pattern....Not in my Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns.

Which makes me want to figure out the pattern.
Not an easy thing to do.

After a few weeks I decided it was two hexagons.

Perfect for a pattern from Pasadena, California, home of
Pie 'N Burger.

The whole time you were stitching it you could wish
you weren't 2,000 miles away from their cheeseburgers.

But then I realized this repeat was probably WRONG.
(Just like ordering a double cheeseburger would probably be a bad idea.)
The pattern repeat is more logically a diamond-shaped block---a parallelogram

The shape with 45 degree angles like an 8-pointed star.
They will tesselate.

UPDATE: Well, my mathematical friend Louise tells me I am all wrong here. It's NOT 45 degrees. It's 60 degrees.

More like this!

Still not in my Encyclopedia.

I guess we could call it Colorado Boulevard.
A parallelogram about 6" long.
So this is the wrong shape.
But draw it for a 60 degree diamond and it should work.

Join the curators for a gallery walk July 20, 2023 - 11:00 am - 12:30 pm, Tickets $15. The show is up through September 10th.