Wednesday, June 13, 2018

My Favorite Things: Mid-19th Century Applique Quilts

1850s applique quilt, Mary Couchman Small, Martinsburg, West Virginia.
Although I never really focused on applique quilts, there are a few good examples in my collection. My favorite ones are from the middle to late 19th century.
1850s applique quilt with cardoons and meandering vine border
During the period, applique quilts were on trend, particularly red, white and green ones. Often they had bits of double pink, cheddar orange and other colors, and sometimes the original colors faded or changed over time.

Floral applique quilt, c. 1860
Most of the time, it is a bit of an investment to purchase quilts like these, but every once in a while I find a great bargain. The 1850s quilt with cardoons and meandering vine border was a bargain, and so was the 1860s floral applique quilt with green, turkey red, double pink and cheddar orange.
Nine-Block, Floral applique quilt, c. 1860
Applique quilt, c. 1860, Mrs. M.E. Poyner, Paducah, KY
A couple of the quilts are fairly well known, such as the 1860s applique quilt made by Mrs. M.E. Poyner of Paducah, Kentucky. The quilt appeared in publications and exhibitions; "Kentucky Quilts, 1800-1900" by the Kentucky Quilt Project, and "Homefront & Battlefield: Quilts & Context in the Civil War" Madelyn Shaw and Lynne Zacek Bassett.
1870s album sampler with birds & wreaths
The 1870s album sampler with birds & wreaths appeared in The Quilt Digest 4 in an article called "The Collector: On the Road" by Michael Kile. Collector and dealer, the late Sandra Mitchell was the subject of the article. Good read if you can find a copy.

Album bedcover with rooster center block, 1868, Hannah J. Swin, NJ
Another favorite applique quilt is an album sampler, made in 1868 by Hannah J. Swin of New Jersey. It has a handsome, cocky rooster in the center, surrounded by a variety of decorative and floral blocks. The strawberry appliqué block just below the rooster is absolutely precious.

Whirling, leaflike feathers in an 1850s Prince's Feather from Maine
I like Prince's Feather quilts, also called Princess Feather, depending on who you ask. Three of my old quilts fall into the genre. Two are green and white, and one is red and white. There's something I love about two-color quilts, especially the green and white ones. I don't see them as often as the red & white and blue & white quilts.
This 1850s Prince's Feather with stars has a fabulous border
1890s Prince's Feather variant, a six-block with leaves
A few of these quilts will be in the new book, "Inspired Free-Motion Quilting: 90 Antique Designs Reinterpreted for Today's Quilter" - co-authored with the wonderful and amazingly talented, award-winning long-arm quilter Mandy Leins. As we eagerly anticipate the book release later this year, I dream about one day gathering all the old applique quilts together for a fabulous exhibit.

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