Saturday, December 11, 2010

Unusual Princess Feather Block

The Princess Feather pattern was first made in the early 1800's and is most commonly seen in mid-to-late 19th century quilts. It appears most frequently appears in red and green quilts as an eight-bladed motif. The second most common variation is a six-bladed design, and the block is also seen in other color combinations. This block from the Album with Lyre is an uncommon variation, a four-bladed Princess Feather. 

This block is in the fourth row, center, just below the Lyre block. It is made of two fabrics including a fairly common over-dyed green floral print and an uncommon solid oxblood/burgundy/maroon. The blades of the feather are joined in the center with interlocking triangular points, and 21 rounded, finger-like barbs around the edges of each feather.

Each of the four plumes appears to be made from the same template, and the overall shape is like an "x" with curved tips. It is one of several original variations on designs seen in other quilts of the mid-19th century, particularly Baltimore Album and sampler quilts. 

Karen Alexander recently blogged about red and green quilts, and in her blog there are some interesting notes about the Princess Feather, also called Prince's Feather. To read Karen's blog, click here.

So, that leaves just three blocks to blog about in the Album with Lyre, circa 1850, by Mary Couchman Small of Martinsburg, Berkeley County, West Virginia, which was part of Virginia at the time. If you have any questions or would like to see additional close-ups of any of the details in this amazing quilt, please send me a comment. Enjoy!


  1. I so enjoy your blog! Those close-up photos are wonderful. I have always loved the Princess Feather. A while back I was looking for a commercial pattern that incorporated one and I could only find one.

    Thanks for a great read :)

  2. I am absolutely loving these blocks! Thanks so much for posting them.