Tuesday, September 29, 2015

1970s improv snake trails

This 1970s improvisational Snake Trails quilt is something you don't see every day. Snake Trails are already unusual, and are often made with fans or solid curved pieces; but the improvisational patchwork and applied trim make this one an exceptional example. The colors are great, too.

And look! It has Sweet Little Calicoes! I love 1970s calicoes. Against the sky blue background, they really pop.

The quilt is 66" x 86" and was machine pieced on cloth foundation. It has machine applied trims, and is sparsely machine quilted with curves, which appear to be hand-guided. 

One of my favorite calicoes is the bright green fabric in the third detail photo above. It has lots of tiny flowers and rich little pops of color. After the 1970s, calicoes were much less lively, and the colors veered toward the mauves, dusty roses and teals. Ghastly, in my opinion. Thank goodness for the 70s calicoes!

The Snake Trails quilt is part of an eye-opening group of barely-vintage quilts, currently on display in  "Modern Materials, Quilts of the 1970s" at the Benton County Museum in Philomath, Oregon. LAST WEEK - THROUGH SATURDAY!! For more information about the exhibition, location, hours,  and other venues showing quilts during Quilt County 2015, click here.


  1. What kind of backing is usually on the polyester double knit quilts? My mom has a throw she uses all the time and the backing is a threadbare thin sort of nylon. I want to put a new backing on it but am not sure what. She is in Arizona so I want something lightweight. Any thoughts?

    1. The double knit quilts are backed with a variety of materials ranging from double knit to bed sheet. It would be difficult to say without seeing the piece. If you can find a fabric similar to the original, but more durable, maybe that would work.

  2. I like the snake trails, another pattern to try with the scraps! Thanks for sharing.

  3. I don't like snakes but I like your snake trails