Monday, December 11, 2017

California Star

Lisa was lucky enough to find this top in Fort Worth, Texas.

The fabrics look to be: 
  • plain Turkey red in the sashing,
  • shirting print for the background
  • and some neons---our current name for black background prints with multicolor figures from about 1900.

I'd guess the top was made between 1900 and 1925.

I recognized the pattern as it's a block from Carrie Hall's
1935 index: California Star

Hall's block in the collection of the Spencer Museum of Art
at the University of Kansas
I have pictures of other examples from the early 20th century,
this giant example from a Skinner auction.

Turkey red seems to have been a favorite....

which makes them hard to date---

Did any one make one in the 1930s pastels after seeing
the pattern in Hall's book?

From the Carlson collection at the International Quilt
Study Center & Museum. # 2009_044_0001

This pink and white variation is also probably late 19th century. The blocks
are tilted---

Two more variations from maybe 1900-1925

Want to make one? Marsha McCloskey has a pattern:

Monday, December 4, 2017

Magic Square - Zig Zag Shading

Detail of a mid-20th-century quilt

Looks like a southeastern Pennsylvania quilt about 1900.
Tans were probably once greens.

Found in Ohio, About 1890-1910
Julie Silber Quilts

Wish I had more examples for this second post in a series of Just Squares.

But then you get the picture.

Karen Griska has a pattern, looking at it as a block. Here's her mock up.
If you put a sashing strip of a single row between the blocks it would look like the vintage examples.

Monday, November 27, 2017

A Scrappy Chintz Quilt: Odd Pattern

This pattern in a scrappy chintz quilt from about 1830-1850
is "Unknown,"
(a tragedy for us pattern classifiers.)

I saw the quilt in an online auction.

It should be on this page of BlockBase
with similar blocks. 
Many of these triangle designs are called Railroad Crossing.
The main similarity on that page is
the 4X design with 2 primary diagonal seams.

And then two sizes of half-square triangles.

I drew it up in EQ7.
Because few people used the term railroad in the 1830 & '40s I
am calling it "A Ride in the Cars."

In 1846 Emily Dickinson took the train from Amherst to Boston but that's not how she phrased it:
"I had a delightful ride in the cars, and am now getting settled down, if there can be such a state in the city."
A paper cut-out card of Queen Victoria and the
Royal Family in the cars in 1842.

You don't want to set it as an all-over pattern
because  you get this more common 9-patch looking design.

If you rotate every other block to the side it looks like the original.

A Ride in the Cars
Quilt with 12" Blocks
64 blocks = 98" square

And if you shaded the center blocks in pink you'd get
the medallion-like look that quilters favored before 1850.

The EQ7 drawing is for a 12 inch block.
Here are the cutting instructions for 1 block.

Cutting a 12" Block

A - Cut 5 squares 5-1/4". (3 light/2 dark) Cut each into 4 triangles with 2 diagonal cuts. You need 18 triangles.
B - Cut 1 dark square 13-1/4".  Cut into 4 triangles with 2 diagonal cuts. You need 2 triangles.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Half a Log Variation

Log Cabin Variation by Anna Cook, about 1900
New Jersey

Here's a cool pattern.
I was browsing through the New Jersey project
pictures and came across this quilt.

My first guess at the pattern:

It's 5 strips in a grid of 25.

Easy enough to draw in EQ7

And maybe easy enough to make.
100  blocks shaded the same way
but every other block is turned upside down.
100 inches x 100 inches with ten inch blocks.

I think I could keep that straight.

Which Anna had trouble doing. Some of her blocks look upside down.
She may have had a directionality problem and her design floor
was probably too small to scope the whole thing out.
Problems I can relate to.

I may be reading her block wrong. It may be
a more conventional version. What they call Half-a-Log in the South.

Here's a version of the Half-a-Log from my collection.
I've tried to copy it but this version is formidable.

I saw this fairly recent quilt in on line auction two years ago.

It's a variation on Anna's I think. But what's that extra log between blocks.
Too much for me.

But Anna's....

I learned some things from messing with Anna's quilt.
I tried to fix her repeat by Photoshopping the upside down blocks
right side up. But that didn't work.
Some of her lights just aren't light enough.
And red---it's really neither dark nor light here.
Her red is in the middle of a gray scale here---

It's not dark; it's not light.
Turning the red blocks upside down didn't help the patterning much.
It's interesting how she got that chrome orange strip to read as dark.

My plan. No red; no chrome orange.
Sort the fabrics into dark, mediums and lights and throw all the mediums back in the scrap box.

2-1/2" strips 

See more about the history of half a log cabin quilts here:

Mary couldn't resist the challenge to draft that formidable Half-A-Log above. Here's her drawing:

She says:
"I used EQ, and drew the block on a 9 x 9 grid. The red square is 3 x 3.
It would easily work as a 9” block. Cut the red square 3½” x 3½”, and the logs 1½” wide."

I think it was so formidable for me because you have to flip blocks over and I had trouble getting that dark, dark medium, medium and light shading consistent. Give it a try!

Monday, November 13, 2017

Aunt Martha's Lattice Fan

In BlockBase you can search by designer. If you do a search for Aunt Martha you come up with 121 pieced patterns. The company (there was no actual Aunt Martha) designed many innovative patterns in the 1930s.

Aunt Martha's bio from my book Women of Design.

Some of the Aunt Martha patterns in BlockBase.
They published a lot of innovative applique too.

This particular design may have been published
in her magazine Workbasket in 1941.

A version maybe from the 1950s or '60s.

Aunt Martha is still in business. Her logo's been
modernized if the woman herself still lags behind current fashion for aunts.
Lattice Fan by Jean Stanclift and Barbara Brackman.
Quilted by Lori Kukuk. 42" x 42"

Jean and I did this version for my book Women of Design about Quilts in the Newspaper.  I picked the colors and drew the pattern. Jean pieced it. Lori quilted it. It's one of my favorite group quilts we did.
The book is out of print, but you can see a preview which includes the pattern for Lattice Fan.


Here's a post on another clever Aunt Martha/Workbasket design: