Eastern Shore Quilt Study Group 

The topic for Wednesday's meeting of the Eastern Shore Quilt Study Group was orange, a favorite color of many of us (especially those who collect Pennsylvania quilts). 

We started with a two-sided crib quilt: one side an 1880s Hour Glass, the reverse a Square in Square stripy from the 1840s. The later top had been quilted over the 1840s quilt. One of the contenders for the "orange prize" was a scrappy 1940 Lemoyne Star on orange background with green sashes and red cornerstones. A circa 1930 quilt from Kentucky (complete with beard guard) had string pieced sashes around solid orange squares. The back was a charming circus print 

A lovely collection of late 19th century blocks (Carolina Lily, Snow Crystal) were made of a single soft orange polka dot. As we were admiring the fabric Nancy Hahn whipped out a York Co. (PA) Star medallion baby quilt top with the same fabric. From the Eastern Shore there was a collection of 1940s 9-Patches nobody wanted. The owner received a homework assignment to "do something with them." 

Also from the ES was a quilt in a quilt. The outside was made from an assortment of circa 1900 blocks (Churn Dash, 9-Patch, Square in a Square) joined in strips tied over another quilt which appears to be of about the same age. The owner of that one has promised to untie the quilt. The top really is nice and we think it will be happier liberated from its heavy, grungy filling. 

Big surprises sometimes come to light when family homes are emptied. An exquisite (very worn) Prince's Feather, circa 1860, was found in the attic. The blocks have red and green plumes alternating with branches of tulips emerging from a rose center and a sway and bud border. The colors are orange, red and pink; the quilting is lovely. We were really enthused about the Primitive Hall-type quilt that was found in Easton, MD. I suspect it's of Delaware Valley origin. The complex geometric blocks contain signatures and sentiments that indicate the recipient was going away, perhaps as a missionary. Several of us have volunteered to reproduce the blocks if the owner provides patterns. 

One of our members had already done her homework. She put a collection of embroidered blocks with children's motifs together with sashes of various 1930s greens and scrappy 9-Patch cornerstones. Nancy Hahn has been working her magic with old blocks. She framed 15 Album blocks (1850-60) with green repro fabric so she could trim them to uniform size, added cheddar sashing, green cornerstones and a Broken Dishes border. Another set of 25 Album blocks in various browns from Binghamton, NY she finished with antique fabric. An orange on indigo print Carpenter's Wheel, circa 1880, prompted an comparison with an earlier orange/indigo. The later design was much more closely packed. 

A pieced giant Tulip bought on eBay was listed as Pennsylvania. No way! Checkout the North Carolina book, pp. 68-69 to see what we were discussing. A similar quilt is on the cover of Laurel Horton's Mary Black's Quilts. So many people think that any use of orange means PA. We saw two Basket quilts from Franklin County, PA in which orange was the neutral. A third Basket of red, green and yellow on orange had an inner border of oxblood and chrome yellow half-square triangles. Love those PA Germans!. 

Another Franklin Co. quilt had 4-Patches set on a rusty orange with a half-square triangle border. A Zinnia Border (Mountain Mist #67) looked like giant lollipops. We saw Roses Are Red which is on pp.116-120 of the Oxmoor House book, Mountain Mist Quilt Favorites, 1998; it looks like an Anne Orr design. I was especially delighted by a collection of turkey red Baskets on various orange backgrounds, circa 1850. They were put together with a much later, totally inappropriate fabric. The orange prize went to a 1970s Improved 9-Patch top with orange melons. It is actually very well-made and lies flat (not many of that pattern do). 

The star of the day was an 1840 Mathematical Star (the Maryland version of the Lone Star) from 1840. Cut chintz appliqué decorates the spaces between the star points. You can see it on p. 12 of A Maryland Album. It was quilted in 1953 by the present owners mother who did a beautiful job. Fortunately she did the quilting before the advent of polyester batts so the quilt is not puffy. While we all agreed that it would be better if it had not been quilted some felt that the quilting helped to preserve the quilt by stabilizing it. I never expected such an abundance of orange! 

Cinda on the Eastern Shore


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