I wrote a lot in yesterday's blog, so today I'm just going to post some photos and a few notes about two Suspension Bridge quilts. Suspension Bridge is a variation on a classic - the traditional Rocky Mountain Road / Crown of Thorns pattern later known as New York Beauty. The earliest date I've found for a published pattern called Suspension Bridge is 1922, from the Ladies Art Company Quilt Pattern Book. The pattern also has other names, including Sunflower.
The quilt came from Cindy Rennels of Cindy's Antique Quilts in Clinton, Oklahoma. It was recently displayed as part of an exhibit called "New Quilts from an Old Favorite: Sunflower" from March 19-June 15, 2010, at the National Quilt Museum in Paducah, Kentucky. This quilt comes with a circa date of 1880. Several of the fabrics appear to be from the late 19th century, but there may be clues to indicate a later date.
I bought another quilt of the same pattern a few years ago, and it had also been given a circa date around 1880. Knowing how difficult it is to date solid fabrics, I may need to rely on some other clues to get a truly accurate idea of the date. When I saw the 1922 published pattern, it made me think this quilt could be as late as 1925. Just because it's red, white, and green doesn't mean it's 19th century.
Fabrics are major clues, but there are always other clues. The width of the binding, method of quilting, threads, date the pattern was published, quilt size and other characteristics may ultimately unlock the mysteries of both quilts. These two quilts look vastly different because of the use of fabrics, but both have 13" blocks with 7 points on each of the four quarter-circle wedges, and a center square in each block. The seemingly identical block design and size may be my biggest clue. It doesn't seem like a coincidence that both quilts share these block dimensions and characteristics.