Monday, April 8, 2013

Springtime in the Rockies

Quilt #1, purchased through eBay about a year ago
About a year ago, I found this 1940s "New York Beauty" on eBay (Quilt #1). It came from Trish Failla of Vintage Blessings in Idaho, but there wasn't a lot of information about it. I felt it had the earmarks of a published pattern. There was symmetry, a streamlined, mechanical look, and the whole thing seemed very well mapped out, as if planned by a professional pattern designer. My nickname for the quilt was "machine cogs" because it looked like that to me.

Quilt #2, coming soon from New York to me
Last week, I received an e-mail from Julie Silber about a quilt her friend wanted to sell. But it wasn't just any friend, or just any quilt. It was renowned quilt dealer Jane Lury of Labors of Love in New York. She was part of the very select group of dealers in attendance at the AQSG Seminar in Lincoln, Nebraska, last year. I recognized the quilt (Quilt #2) right away. One just like it was on the cover of Merikay Waldvogel's book, Soft Covers for Hard Times (Quilt #3).

Quilt #3, from Tennessee
Quilt #2 had an extra row of blocks when compared with Quilt #3, making Quilt #2 more rectangular. Everything else seemed a match, especially the very unusual edge-finish. I haven't seen it often- just in two places I could recall: Merikay's book, and a quilt from Michigan (Quilt #4) that appeared in a couple books in the 1990s.

Quilt #4, from Michigan
Quilt #4 was called a "New York Beauty" in "The American Quilt Story" by Susan Jenkins and Linda Seward, 1991: and was referred to as an "Art Deco Beauty" in "Art Deco: Making Classic Quilts and Modern Variations" by Jenni Dobson, 1995. Georgia Chiarella had passed this information along to me after seeing Quilt #1 in a lecture I did last summer. Quilt #4 quilt bears a strong resemblance to Quilt #1. Same number of blocks, the color placement is the same, and the motifs are rendered the same way. However, Quilt #4 had the same type of unusual border as Quilt #3 from Merikay's book. Hmmmm....

So I shared pictures with my friends from the Facebook page, "Quilts-Vintage and Antique" and Gloria Nixon hit the nail on the head, posting a picture of the original source. The pattern is called "Springtime in the Rockies" and it was published by Capper's Weekly Quilt Block Service on March 21, 1931. It came with the following information:

"The 11 3/4-inch squares are set together with 6 1/4-inch green squares and pieced strips." Suggested colors were red, green, orange, and white.

Quilt top from Colorado
There was a fair amount of discussion, and Kyle Redente of Colorado said she had a top made with the pattern, but her top had pieced LeMoyne Star cornerstones, scrap pieces in the sashing, and a softer color palette. She shared these pictures with the group and graciously allowed me to post them here.

I'm very pleased to know its source pattern, and to connect the dots between these quilts. If you were wondering about the music on the Capper's Weekly source, here's the song! Mystery solved, with musical accompaniment. What could be better than that?

But wait, there's more. I found a picture of another one on Pinterest. And there was a wonderful quilt reproduced from this pattern at the last AQSG Seminar by Sherry Burkhalter. I admired it, but didn't realize the description of the quilt included information I would soon need. When I googled the pattern name, Sherry's quilt came up and I remembered how much I loved it. To see Sherry's wonderful quilt click here.


  1. Great! great pattern and great work connecting the dots

    1. It's interesting how it took multiple quilts to figure it out. I have a feeling this will be the case for several of the 20th century quilts that we've called New York Beauty. This pattern was called New York Beauty in Soft Covers for Hard Times as well as the book from the 90s with the quilt from Michigan. It's exciting to have more detailed information about the source pattern and its specific name.

  2. Thanks,Bill, for all the collected information. It's a beautiful pattern and I'm also glad to know more about it.

  3. New York Beauty Quilts and Gene Autry -- what a delightful combo!

  4. I enjoyed the way you connected the threads. I think it could only be done in the internet age where information and pictures can be shared FAST.

  5. Enjoyed this post and photos! Thank you, Bill.