Saturday, July 21, 2012

A Sashing Pattern

The idea of creating secondary designs with blocks seems too sophisticated for the 1800-1820 period. The quilt above, sold at Skinner Auctions a few years ago, is probably from the end of the 1830s or the 1840s.

Similar sashing pattern for an album block about 1900.

Krimmel, The Quilting Frolic

But a detail of this 1813 genre painting by John Lewis Krimmel shows a quilt in the same sashing design.

So one would have to say that this interlocked design was in use during the War of 1812 (Krimmel exaggerated but his observations seem accurate.)

In Krimmel's picture of a Pennsylvania (?) quilt the block is plain and the sashing and cornerstone are pieced. This design is #1054 in my Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns. The proportions in the sashing can differ. The sketch shows a block that is 12" and sash that is made of 3" strips with a 9" x in the cornerstone.
Detail of the Finley family quilt, probably about 1840-1880
The authority on the design and its name is Ruth Finley. In her 1929 book  Old Patchwork Quilts she showed a black and white photo of one from her collection. She wrote:

"Another pattern, exceedingly popular in the early nineteeth century, was called 'Garden Maze' and alos 'The Sun Dial' But it was known sometimes as 'Tangled Garter' and 'Tirzah's Treasure'. The last name is no more than a label. 'Garden Maze' is good, since the block plan suggest a not unattractive landscape layout. But what on earth can be the significance of a 'Tangled Garter'?

Tirzah and her treasures is a Biblical reference. Whatever Ruth meant by "no more than a label" I cannot say. When I worked with Finley's daughter-in-law to republish Old Patchwork Quilts 20 years ago Finley's Garden Maze quilt was still in the family collection but it had been cut into two twin-bed sized pieces and finished with dust ruffles.

Here's another early version of Garden Maze sashing from the collection of the International Quilt Study Center and Museum (#1997.007.0540). It's attributed to a woman named Hurlburt, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, 1820-1840.
See the full quilt here.

Cindy Rennels has a late version for sale here:
Here are three early variations at the Quilt Index

Krimmel, The Country Wedding, 1814

John Lewis Krimmel painted several genre scenes (depictions of everyday life) in the years 1809-1821 when he lived in Philadelphia. Johann Ludwig Krimmel was born in 1786 in the German duchy of Wurttemberg and drowned in 1821. His paintings are a useful tool for studying fashion, interiors, social life and even quilt design in the teens. He certainly observed women's dress carefully.

See a blog post with many of Krimmel's pictures by clicking here:

And here's a reference to pattern names from Eudora Welty's Delta Wedding (1946) 

"What's the name of this quilt?" asked Dabney, arms on her hips.
"Let's see. I think it's 'Tirzah's Treasure,' but it might be 'Hearts and Gizzards.' I've spent time under both."


WoolenSails said...

I would never notice something like that and how it helps in dating quilts.


JoeyLea said...

Ooohhh, Aaaahhh, beautiful! I love the garden maze. Just found you and added you to blogs I follow on my own blog - you are welcome to take a peek. It is mostly antiques and quilts with a little life mixed in. I love the history you provide along with the quilts. I tend to be drawn to those old-fashioned focus fabrics which lend themselves so well to this pattern. I believe have admired the quilting frolic before - what a gorgeous pix. Thank you for sharing,