Tuesday, October 23, 2018

orange in quilts

"Fruity Beauty" 2015 by Bill Volckening, quilted by Jolene Knight
Historians looking at today's quilts 100 years from now will likely be struck by the amount of orange, but quiltmakers have had a long love affair with orange.

applique quilt, c. 1850, Mary Couchman Small, West Virginia

According to The Quilt Index Fabric Dating References, orange was popular in the middle to late 19th century and specific shades of orange can be good clues for dating quilts of the period.

"Chrome orange, or antimony, was commonly used in appliqué, especially in Pennsylvania, from about 1860 to 1880. Thus, this dye can help to both identify both the date and location in which a quilt was made."
1860s floral applique quilt with cheddar orange
"This dye was often made in the home from store-bought powder, however, the high lead content of the dye made it (in retrospect) a dangerous substance with which to work. While the color was called antimony or chrome orange in the nineteenth century, historians and collectors often call the color ‘cheddar’ today." - The Quilt Index.

sunburst cornerstone with "cheddar orange" from an 1860s pieced quilt
Pepper Cory wrote a wonderful article, "Cheddar Quilts" for Quilters Newsletter in 2014. An album quilt from my collection, made by Mary Couchman Small of West Virginia in the middle 19th century was included with the article, which is well worth tracking down if you're interested in reading more about orange in quilts.

Several of the most memorable quilts in my collection include the color orange in various shades. The interesting thing is orange is not really making a comeback. It never went away. 

Here are a few of favorites from my collection. 

late 19th or early 20th century pieced quilt
Victorian period quilt with orange and orangey-red
1930s "Giant Dahlia"
applique quilt from Hawaii, c. 1930
Mountain Mist "Jack 'O Lantern" quilt, c. 1935
1930s Mountain Mist "New York Beauty"
1970s polyester quilt with orange
1970s polyester quilt with orange
1970s Hawaiian scrap quilt with hot orange and pink
Star quilt (2015) by Victoria Findlay Wolfe, quilted by Jolene Knight
Medallion (2014) made by officers of Portland Modern Quilt Guild

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