QUILTS & FABRIC: PAST & PRESENT


Saturday, December 16, 2017

DWR 4: An Older Design Source?

Wedding Ring

I've been blogging about Wedding Rings & Pickle Dishes, which
seem to have popped up at the same time---late-19th-century in the South.

Pickle Dish
 Mary Pinson, Texas. Arizona Project & the Quilt Index.

Because they seem to have developed about the same time, we cannot
say one is the design source for the other.

So can we pinpoint a design source at all?
Or did all these pieced curves appear at the same time?
Curved piecing was important to late-19th-century quiltmakers, particularly
in the South. Sometimes very intricate curved piecing....

Quilt dated 1879 by Mary Alice Alett. 
North Carolina Project & the Quilt Index

And in particular: pieced arcs.

There's definitely a late-19th-century trend for pieced curved shapes that continued into the 20th century.


Quilt dated 1881 by Sallie Ann Bachman, collection
of Marjorie Childress

Fan quilt dated 1896


However, these patterns can't be the source of the Double Wedding Ring because they seem to be roughly the same age. 1875-1910.

Is there an earlier design with pieced arcs?

How about the Rocky Mountain/New York Beauty?

1880-1910?
From Slotin Auction

Date inscribed 1878

Ususally seen with spiky triangles in the curved arcs, but also with four-sided pieces like
the Double Wedding Ring.

Hedwig Fertsch Buske. LaVaca County, Texas
From the Texas Project & the Quilt Index

From the Bingham Family in Tennessee

Most of these Southern examples are from the last quarter of the 19th century, reflecting that popularity of curved seams, small pieces and spiky points. The fabrics tend to be solids rather than prints and many colors have faded to tans the way the post-1880, synthetically-dyed solids do.

But Rocky Mountain is one pattern that is also seen earlier. 

1840-1870?
From Jeffrey Evans Auction

I have very few date-inscribed examples of 19th-century Rocky Mountain quilts,
but based on fabrics and style here are a few that appear to be 1840-1870. The 
older ones are pieced of prints and some include a large-scale chintz print
as border.

Sold at Bonham's Auction

From Sandra Starley's collection. She thinks about 1870.


The blue is fading here but it's fading more like the natural dye Prussian blue
rather than like the synthetic blue dyes.

From Debby Cooney's collection.

The variation with appliqued sashing often looks to be mid-century.


What do these quilts and a pickle dish or wedding ring have in common besides spiky points (3-sided points or 4-sided points)?

An Arc.


An arc that would fit into other curved shapes nicely.



And that's the end of double wedding ring posts.

Friday, December 15, 2017

DWR 3: Source of the Design?

Double Wedding Ring
1930-1950

If you ask anybody that knows anything about quilt patterns the source of this very popular pattern they would tell you that it seems to be derived from the older Pickle Dish pattern.

Here's Laura Jordan's 1910 dated Wedding Ring from Georgia,
the earliest date-inscribed example yet found.

And here's the earliest dated Pickle Dish I've found.
1881 by Stella Nash, found in the North Carolina project.
So that's a 30 year difference.

But the number of dated examples before 1920 is so small
I wonder if we can really know which came first.
2 Wedding Rings before 1920.
1 Pickle Dish before 1920.

I went to the Quilt Index and did a search for Double Wedding Ring quilts. 1,579 hits. Not all of them had photos but I skimmed through them all. The majority were made in the 1930s color scheme---pastel arcs on a white background.  

Like this 1929 example I found in an auction.

I also did a search for Pickle. This pattern is far less popular---I got 63 hits (and several of those hits  were quilters with the lovely name of Pickle.) Most of the pickle files that came up were from the Quilts of Tennessee project.

By Mary High Prince, Tennessee. 
I color corrected some of
the old quilt project slides, which have deteriorated.

Malinda Youree McCrary, Rutherford County, Tennessee.

I didn't really have any pictures of Pickle Dish quilts that looked significantly earlier than the Wedding Ring Quilts. I was looking for earlier fabric styles like red and green prints or chintzes or Prussian blues. Couldn't find any pieced of the madder-style browns so popular in the 1870s.

I did some matchups of similar colors and fabrics, all of which to look before 1920.


Both from Auctions

It looks to me like these are parallel patterns developing at the same time
in the South.

I won't be addressing the published patterns for these designs because Wilene Smith has already done a thorough job of this. See her post on her Quilt History Tidbits site:

Wilene says:
"Double Wedding Ring was first illustrated by Capper's Weekly October 20, 1928"
"Pickle Dish...earliest known illustrations of this design...by Eveline Foland in the Kansas City Star, October 24, 1931"

I'm sure I'll have it all figured out tomorrow.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

DWR 2: Wedding Ring/Pickle Dish

Double Wedding Ring, mid 20th century

See yesterday's post on the earliest dated DWR quilt.

Another Question:
What is the difference between a Wedding Ring and a Pickle Dish?

Pickle Dish, about 1910

We sticklers for pattern accuracy will tell you right away. Pickle Dish
has pointed triangles in the arcs (3 sided-shape), 

Pickle Dish
From a Tennessee auction

Wedding Ring has a 4-sided shape. 

Wedding Ring
Those sorta rectangles can be skinny and long

or short and squat.
Depends on the number of pieces per arc.

From Ann Wasserman's collection---2 sets of arcs!
A Pickledish

It doesn't matter what's in the squares between the arcs---it's the shape in the arc
that seems to define them.

Hovering on the edge between the definitions,
but the shapes are 4-sided. I'm sticking with Wedding Ring.

Wedding Ring
Four patches usually fill that space between the arcs in Wedding Rings,
 #303 in BlockBase

Pickle Dishes tend to have more variety in the space between
the arcs. Here's a mid-20th century top with a four patch from eBay last month.

One square in the space

A square in a square
The Pickle Dish pattern with triangles is BlockBase #304 & 305.


I counted the number of triangles when I gave these numbers in my Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns, but that was silly. There is too much variation to worry about how many triangles in an arc.

A late 19th-century example that once was in Margaret Cavigga's
collection. She thought it was from Pennsylvania.

From the Wyoming Project & the Quilt Index


Pickle Dish
It's hard to believe blues could fade like this but they did.
Indigo in a few spots, synthetic blue dyes in most of it.
From the Arizona Project & the Quilt Index. Collection of the Pinal County
Historical Society.

Wedding Ring

I could go on and I think I will. Tomorrow.