Friday, December 15, 2017

DWR 3: Source of the Design?

Double Wedding Ring

If you ask anybody that knows anything about quilt patterns the source of this very popular pattern they would tell you that it seems to be derived from the older Pickle Dish pattern.

Here's Laura Jordan's 1910 dated Wedding Ring from Georgia,
the earliest date-inscribed example yet found.

And here's the earliest dated Pickle Dish I've found.
1881 by Stella Nash, found in the North Carolina project.
So that's a 30 year difference.

But the number of dated examples before 1920 is so small
I wonder if we can really know which came first.
2 Wedding Rings before 1920.
1 Pickle Dish before 1920.

I went to the Quilt Index and did a search for Double Wedding Ring quilts. 1,579 hits. Not all of them had photos but I skimmed through them all. The majority were made in the 1930s color scheme---pastel arcs on a white background.  

Like this 1929 example I found in an auction.

I also did a search for Pickle. This pattern is far less popular---I got 63 hits (and several of those hits  were quilters with the lovely name of Pickle.) Most of the pickle files that came up were from the Quilts of Tennessee project.

By Mary High Prince, Tennessee. 
I color corrected some of
the old quilt project slides, which have deteriorated.

Malinda Youree McCrary, Rutherford County, Tennessee.

I didn't really have any pictures of Pickle Dish quilts that looked significantly earlier than the Wedding Ring Quilts. I was looking for earlier fabric styles like red and green prints or chintzes or Prussian blues. Couldn't find any pieced of the madder-style browns so popular in the 1870s.

I did some matchups of similar colors and fabrics, all of which to look before 1920.

Both from Auctions

It looks to me like these are parallel patterns developing at the same time
in the South.

I won't be addressing the published patterns for these designs because Wilene Smith has already done a thorough job of this. See her post on her Quilt History Tidbits site:

Wilene says:
"Double Wedding Ring was first illustrated by Capper's Weekly October 20, 1928"
"Pickle Dish...earliest known illustrations of this design...by Eveline Foland in the Kansas City Star, October 24, 1931"

I'm sure I'll have it all figured out tomorrow.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

DWR 2: Wedding Ring/Pickle Dish

Double Wedding Ring, mid 20th century

See yesterday's post on the earliest dated DWR quilt.

Another Question:
What is the difference between a Wedding Ring and a Pickle Dish?

Pickle Dish, about 1910

We sticklers for pattern accuracy will tell you right away. Pickle Dish
has pointed triangles in the arcs (3 sided-shape), 

Pickle Dish
From a Tennessee auction

Wedding Ring has a 4-sided shape. 

Wedding Ring
Those sorta rectangles can be skinny and long

or short and squat.
Depends on the number of pieces per arc.

From Ann Wasserman's collection---2 sets of arcs!
A Pickledish

It doesn't matter what's in the squares between the arcs---it's the shape in the arc
that seems to define them.

Hovering on the edge between the definitions,
but the shapes are 4-sided. I'm sticking with Wedding Ring.

Wedding Ring
Four patches usually fill that space between the arcs in Wedding Rings,
 #303 in BlockBase

Pickle Dishes tend to have more variety in the space between
the arcs. Here's a mid-20th century top with a four patch from eBay last month.

One square in the space

A square in a square
The Pickle Dish pattern with triangles is BlockBase #304 & 305.

I counted the number of triangles when I gave these numbers in my Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns, but that was silly. There is too much variation to worry about how many triangles in an arc.

A late 19th-century example that once was in Margaret Cavigga's
collection. She thought it was from Pennsylvania.

From the Wyoming Project & the Quilt Index

Pickle Dish
It's hard to believe blues could fade like this but they did.
Indigo in a few spots, synthetic blue dyes in most of it.
From the Arizona Project & the Quilt Index. Collection of the Pinal County
Historical Society.

Wedding Ring

I could go on and I think I will. Tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

DWR 1: Oldest Double Wedding Ring

Velma, working with the continuing Oregon quilt project, sent this photo of a Double Wedding Ring top they recently documented. Looks like 1890-1900 [that should be 1890-1920]. It's the oldest Double Wedding Ring she'd seen. Is it the oldest anywhere?

I'd written a post on this topic about 7 years ago, so I wondered if I had updated information. I spent a little time looking through my picture files.

The old post:

A while ago Alice sent me these pieces with a similar question about age.

I do have photos of several Wedding Rings in this dark color scheme
typical of the 1890-1920 years.

The arcs are made up of shirtings for lights (either woven or printed)
and claret red, mourning grays and blacks, indigos and cadet blues.

This one sold last month at a Dirk Soulis auction in Kansas City.

I believe those are polka dots between the arcs.

All Solids.
 Lola Demetia Sweeten, Liberty County, Texas,
found in the Texas Project. From the Quilt Index. The tan
is thought to have once been green.

This whole quilt looks faded as if it were bleached. I wonder if the tan
setting pieces were once bright red.

Like this one with chrome orange in the four patch
and a pink edge (faded or choice?)

By Allie & Adar Rolling
From the Alabama Decorative Arts Survey

The dark/shirting arcs definitely seem to be a style dating
to about 1900-1920. Red as the setting fabric, also a style characteristic.

From the Robert Bishop collection at the American Museum of Folk Art.
Bishop thought this one might be from Georgia, made by
an African-American woman.

Another case of red fading to tan.

There is so little information attached to these examples, mostly
from online auctions, that we have to make guesses on the date
based on the fabric. Was the fashion
regional? Southern?

From the Cargo Collection at IQSCM #2000_004_0001.
Helen & Robert Cargo collected in Alabama and
specialized in African-American quilts.

Dare we say - the patterns seen to have originated as a regional design: Southern
but Southern/African American?

Back to the original question as to the earliest DWR:
 I do have several pictures of DWR with dates inscribed.

Leigh Fellner at Hart Cottage Quilts posted this one
with a label at the top that says DAP 1915, This is the second oldest DWR
 with a date on it that I've found.
It's done in the blue, claret and gray colorscheme.

Most of the other dated examples are over a dozen years later. Have four pictures
with the date 1928 like this one. You can see the fashion developing for pastels and brighter
solids in addition to a few old-fashioned navy blues, blacks and checks.

The oldest dated example: This magnificent quilt from the Georgia project and their book,
dated in the border 1910. The family name was "Diamond Ring." A whole paragraph is embroidered in the border.

 "J.J.J. and V.D.J. Age 9 months old when this quilt was finished. He was born August 21, 1909. This quilt was made and given a present to J.J. by L.S.J. May 24, 1910."

V.D.J., Vernard Debue Jordan, told the interviewers that the quiltmaker L.S. J. was his mother Laura Savannah Stroud Jordan (1876-1952).  J.J.J. was his father, John Jackson Jordan who was born in slavery in 1862.

Thank you, Laura, for signing and dating the quilt.

Well, I've run out of room so more on early Wedding Rings tomorrow and the next day---until I run out of things to say.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Patience Smith: Sacred to Memory

Quilt dated 1852 with 123 names inked in the border.
Western Pennsylvania Project and the Quilt Index.

The quilt was made for Miss Patience Smith (1806-1874).
In the oval is inked:
"A precious memento from
my pupils at Friends' Institute
New York 1852
Sacred to memory
Patience Smith"

The height of patchwork fashion in 1852:
Turkey red prints and a green appliqued grape vine border.

A family member who obtained the quilt from her grandfather brought it to be documented. She thought it might have been made in Palmyra in western New York, but it is clear that Patience Smith was a teacher in New York City. For many years she was principal of the Friends' Institute there, a Quaker school.

Patience Smith's school moved to East 16th Street in 1860.
Stuyvesant Square is located around 2nd Avenue and 15th Street.

Friends' Seminary (the name was also changed in 1860) is proud of its claim to be the oldest continuously coeducational school in New York City. The school is now housed in four buildings in the Stuyvesant Square Historic District. The building above was finished in 1861 after Patience Smith's tenure. Ads list her as Principal of the Female Department of the coeducational school as late as 1857.

Information from the alumni book of the State Normal College

Smith was herself a pupil at Emma Willard's famous Seminary at Troy, New York. She was also a graduate of the third class of the New York State Normal College at Albany in 1846 at the age of forty or so.

She later lived with older sister Diana Baright in their hometown of Quaker Street, a small community in the town of Duanesburg, Schenectady County, New York. The sisters died within three days of each other in the spring of 1874.

Their obituaries describe them together as the epitome of earnest Quakers:
"Quiet and unobtrusive, these two sisters were desirous of conforming their lives to the golden rule, by ministering to the comfort and happiness of others. Earnest were their efforts in behalf of the cause of temperance, and sincere their desires that something might be done to stem the torrent of crime, and injustice, and wrong-doing so fearfully flooding the land in consequence of the prevalence of this vice. The subject of right education claimed their warm interest. In their intercourse with others, they were kind and affectionate, and were constantly recommending purity of life by their own shining examples."

They are buried in the cemetery at the Friends' Meeting House in Quaker Street.

It's too bad no one specifically mentioned Patience's career as an important teacher and school administrator. The quilt with her students' names must have been treasured till the end of her life

I'll be looking at the connections between schools and album quilts in 2018 on my Civil War Quilts blog. The free Block of the Month postings called Antebellum Album will begin on January 31, 2018. One of the twelve pieced designs will be based on the pattern in Patience Smith's quilt.


See more about the quilt here:

I've been adding quilt photos to Find-A-Grave files lately.