Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Stars in a Time Warp 37: Chocolate & Blue plus Lace Prints

Becky Brown's reproduction star,
made from the last scrap of an old chocolate and blue
reproduction print in the center.

Vintage star. 
There are two fashionable late-century brown styles
here. In the large triangles, a bronzey-brown acorn print.
The other browns are something seen about the same time, a brown
on a blue background.

Block from a top dated 1879
The large squares above are another example
of this color craze of the 1870-1900 period, kind of a silvery blue
and dark brown.

Quilt dated 1872 from the North Carolina quilt project,
photo from the Quilt Index

Look for two color prints---brown on pale blue gray---as in the sashing here.
They read as a warm gray or silver and may have been called mourning prints. 

I imagine the combination was thought suitable for everyday housewear: fashionable but won't show the dirt. There were quite a few of these in 1870-1900 scrapbags. Double pinks for the girls; brownish grays for the women.

That distinctive blue-gray background makes the color scheme
 a good clue to a date of 1870-1900.

Note the blue and brown lace print under the piece of Lane's net in this charm quilt from the 1870-1890 period. In it we really see the two colors that were so fashionably combined. The Lane's net in the center and several other hexagons are in the same palette with figures of fine brown lines on a pale blue ground.

You also see a redder brown added as in the coral print above.
It may be that the brown figures were done with madder (or artificial madder) dyes.

There's a tiny reddish figure in the center square here.
The browns tend to be a chocolate color.
I'd guess the blue gray has something to do with the Lancaster blue
printing process discussed last week.

Quilt dated 1894 with  dark print of blue gray, brown and brick red
I'd imagine madder reds could easily be added.

A dress in the height of fashion:
The brown on pale blue palette;
the figure a striped lace print.

An 1892 ad for "Lace stripe and other fancy Ginghams,
neat stripe and check effects in Zephyr Ginghams.
 (Gingham refers to the fabric weave rather than the look.) 
"A goodly proportion of these have 
been selected expressly for children."

I have several photos of doll quilts and crib quilts
in which the lace stripe seems to have been cut out
and used as a border.

I'd estimate these are all from the 1870-1890 period.

Turkey red dogtooth applique over a lace print for a crib quilt border.

The same print, a stripe?
Or was it an all-over dot with a lace border?

In the 1870s and '80s you see a lot of lace borders
along the selvages of calicoes.

Lace prints were printed as all-over designs as well
as stripes and border prints. The main criterion is
that the figures imitate lace. Above a classic from
the 1870s with a dot of madder orange.

Lace prints were also printed at other
times. Above a charm quilt with a striking
blue and green neon print from about 1910.

Another neon: bright and black lace stripe from the early 20th century.

Lace prints were quite the thing in the 1870-1920s, so if you want to reproduce that look you need a few in the stash. Chocolate and blue would be perfect for last quarter of the 19th century.

Lace print in the lower right corner.
[Time Machine Information: Dial it back to the 1870s
when prints were so abundant, beautiful and cheap.]

This week you have two options:
1) Chocolate and blue prints
2) or Lace Prints

A repro star by Kathy Cline...

Using a lace print from Jo Morton

The chocolate on blue palette is not easy to find but here are
a few from recent years.

Another by Jo from Emilie

Two  repros by Judie Rothermel

American Pastimes,
again chocolate on blue or madder on blue.
You may remember Becky's terrific star in eccentric prints.
The stripe (an African fabric) is chocolate brown on blue.

What to Do With Your Stack of Stars?
Make a Triple Irish Chain

The inspiration here is a Triple Irish Chain and star quilt made
about 1900 when red and white quilts were the thing.

I monkeyed around in Photoshop and figured out the
pattern, which is a traditional Triple Irish Chain.
Two blocks based on a checkerboard of 49 squares.

For more about the Double Irish Chain see post #34:

BlockBase says that Ruby McKim
first published the name Triple Irish Chain for this pair of 
alternating blocks (BlockBase #1019a).

The variation with the star in the center has no number but it's an interesting way to set stars. Maybe more interesting with 14" stars rather than the 6" stars we've been working with. But it's an idea.

Since we are working with 6" stars and putting them into
a 7x7 grid the math will not be pretty.

Here's the 7x7 checkerboard

Here's the alternate block

with one of Becky's stars inside the frame.

Seems simple but the question is what size are all those squares.
It only took a few hours to figure it out.
(And there are good odds I am wrong, wrong, wrong.)
UPDATE: Suzanne says I am wrong, wrong, wrong.

If you added an inch strip to either side of the 6" block you'd have an 8" block.
If you divide an 8" finished block into a grid of 49 squares you need to cut those squares

At least that's what EQ7 says.

Now there are easier ways to get a checkerboard grid
than cutting individual squares.

I'll leave it to anyone ambitious enough to try it
to figure out some fast piecing methods.

I have to rest my brain.

One More Thing about the Brown on Blue Palette

The combination just suggests chocolate, possibly because the Hershey Company has been using reddish brown and silvery blue on their chocolate bars for generations.
(They seem to have dropped the slogan "More Sustaining than Meat.")

Quilt with Centennial prints in chocolate on blue,
dated 1876 in the quilting in each sash rectangle.


Cynthia's Creating Ark said...

I always learn something new when I read your posts. I love The Star and Irish chain quilt idea. Maybe when I have some time it would be fun to play with.

Barb said...

Another fun theme this week! It is fun to see setting ideas.

Nancy Swanwick said...

I decided I had enough blocks to put together a stunning quilt, so I now have a finished top. I added pictures to the flikr page. My husband, who has probably been overexposed to quilting has not often shown such an interest in any one quilt, but this one really draws him in. I have it laying out over the couch, and I see him inspecting various blocks and telling me which ones are his particular favorites. I set the blocks on point, sashed it with a small dark red/black stripe, used a red background chintz for the setting triangles, and used a buff/red stripe for the border. I love the way it turned out.

Barbara Brackman said...

Glad to hear it Nancy. I'll check it out.

Wendy Caton Reed said...

Thanks Barbara! This should be easier than last week's Greek Key (although I love the Lancaster Blue!) and who doesn't love Chocolates?

Kathy Kline said...

Thanks for showing my reproduction block! Good to know I have made a star with a lace print; now to my stash to find a chocolate on blue that I know is in there!

Vic in NH said...

Ahhh, yes, we can't quilt without chocolate!

Anonymous said...


Your quilt is stunning. Thanks so much for the inspiration!

Faunacoco said...

I figured out the checkered board border for the star block with the measurements that you provided. And yes I realize I am reading this five years later. However here we go:

You would need two strips of 1 5/8“ x 6 1/2“ and two strips of cream 1 5/8“ by 6 1/2“. Then for the long bar, you would need a strip 3 7/8“ by 6 1/2“. So then start sewing the strips with cream then brown then the cream, then brown. After sewing the strips, then cut them into 1 5/8 inches widths. Starting with one of the strips, place the brown on the corner of the interior block and so that to the edge but leaving the cream block hanging over on the left. Attach by sewing. Then turn and sew the rest of the strips on it this time matching the first cream of the strip onto the brown of the newly ended border. The only Fiddly bit is when you have to join up the last corner. I’m hope I’m explaining this correctly. Personally I would probably cut the strips 7 1/2 inches, and then I would have some fudge room. I have to think about the checkerboard.