Thursday, April 18, 2024

Centennial Prints in Charm, Odd Fellows and Beggars' Patchwork

 I've been organizing my Centennial print files over the spring and occasionally posting about the 1876 Anniversary of our Declaration of Independence. The big event was in Philadelphia, an exhibition of international trade.

Home-made patchwork quilts were not really welcome in the fair's displays.

American fabric companies showed all kinds of wares. It was
a time to celebrate the developing American cotton industry as post-Civil-War
production improved the quality and availability of American-made prints. 

The small events that Centennial year were at local dry goods stores. Mills celebrated the anniversary and their skills with new prints commemorating the year. Knowing fabric collectors quite well I can imagine that these new American prints inspired some shopping.

A few weeks ago I did a post on how dull quilts in the year 1875 were. But the Centennial seems to have inspired new ideas with 1876's assortment of new prints in fashionable colors.

This purplish brown on a pale blue ground was
quite the thing in the 1870s.

If one has a collection one must display it. Centennial prints are often found in charm quilts, which were the perfect place to show off the new abundance of American-milled cottons.

For those unfamiliar with a charm quilt the Sacramento Union described them well in an account of needlework at the local 1879 fair.
"Charm quilt, Miss Hattie E. Sprague, 1,053 pieces, no two alike."

Commemorative handkerchief in the center of a charm quilt
pieced of one shape---a tumbler.

Period names other than "charm" include Odd Fellows or Beggar's Quilt.

Long hexagons 

The idea of a single shape repeated in a variety of fabrics seems to have become fashionable first in New England (where the mills were) in the 1870s.

Saturday, April 13, 2024

Golden Dahlia x 16


A formidable project!

16 blocks each with 72 diamonds made of 2 triangles.

Not in BlockBase+ or my Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns and I see why. The unknown maker adapted a larger design meant to cover a whole top and turned it into blocks.

Golden Dahlia from the H.H. VerMehren pattern company in Iowa,
advertised under the name Nancy Lee.

VerMehren in their Colonial Quilts line also did a Giant Dahlia design that was more popular than the Golden Dahlia, but some quiltmakers took up the challenge of the split diamond.

The West Virginia Project recorded this one in a variegated color scheme. 

The idea of an 8-pointed star with a split diamond goes back at least into the 1840s.

Two versions from early Quaker sampler albums....
But the large scale, single block is definitely a VerMehren idea (1933.)

Polly Mello has one or two in her collection of VerMehren quilts.

Is the version with 16 blocks one of a kind?

Monday, April 8, 2024

Ebony Suite: A Plethora of Patterns

Check out the patterns featuring pre-cuts of my new Morris repro line called Ebony Suite. All neutrals and all drama!

Patterns to purchase now: Denniele Bohannon has designed a rectangular block to make the most of 10" square Layer Cake precuts in These Diamonds Shine. $11.50. 52" x 63".

Moda/United Notions is selling patterns. Melissa Corry's Nordic Nights uses the curved Drunkard's Patch unit. Pattern includes 5 sizes of finished quilts.

Chrissy Lux's Swift Quilt is all squares and triangles. 64" x 80".

For inspiration go to Electric Quilt's page on a contest they held last month for patterns drawn in EQ that used the Ebony Suite collection. A randomly-drawn winner won a fat quarter bundle of the fabric.


By Cheryl

By Deni

By Cath

See more ideas at their page:
and in a post:

I've had a few ideas. See these posts with patterns:
And we'll have more.

Becky Collis is finishing the quilting on Denniele's RetroVibe. She and Denniele have been fussy-cutting. More later.

Wednesday, April 3, 2024

Eclipse Pattern: Sunshine & Shadow


A Solar Eclipse on April 8th!
We need a quilt pattern to remember the occasion.

Washington Post map
Pieced design finishing to 12"

From BlockBase+

I couldn't find Sunshine and Shadow in Nancy's Chicago Tribune. My attribution may be wrong. For
my Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns I used some secondary sources, which may have been wrong. But as the pattern is rather impractical to piece it could be Nancy Cabot (I don't think she ever stitched a seam in her fictional life.)


Remember not to look directly at the sun.
And Turn off your Solar Lights beforehand. 
(I learned that the hard way in the last eclipse.)

And from Alison Weber's Facebook page, snack suggestion:

Friday, March 29, 2024

Centennial Quilt from Vermont


Boy waving a centennial flag
A few years ago the Thomaston Auction house in Thomaston, Maine
sold this pictorial quilt. Although in rough shape it was so unusual the price
was $17,000.

One would guess it's called a Centennial quilt because his flag
 says 1876 but other than that I see nothing Centennial about it. Bridal Quilt
might have been a better name.

The quilt was long owned by a collecting family the Wellses of Vermont
who allowed it to be published in the Magazine Antiques in 
May, 1934 when it was in better shape.

Mrs. Wells may have remembered the Centennial connection.  I did find an 1876 reference to it as a Centennial quilt in the Rutland, Vermont Globe.

September, 1876

The exhibit described was not the giant Philadelphia exhibition but the 6th Annual Otter Creek Valley Fair in East Wallingford, Vermont

Here are the prize winners in their quilt contest. Maybe one of the fancy quilts?
Or maybe it didn't win a prize.

Do note as typical in that Centennial year: charm quilts and log cabin quilts
were popular. And this one is a form of Log Cabin.