Sunday, December 21, 2014

1860 Patchwork Patterns from Godey's Lady's Book

I have the 1860 Godey's Lady's Book magazine in a bound book which I found nearly 30 years ago in Maine. Today I am sharing the patchwork and quilting patterns presented to their subscribers that year.

Patchwork Border: Patchwork has especially established for itself the character of a winter industry, as it requires no additional light for its execution, the work which produces it being slight and easy. The only care which it exacts is a mathematical precision in the foundation shapes of which it is composed, and a knowledge of the laws of colors: that is, light and shade, and contrast. When these two points are remembered and practiced in the arrangement of patchwork, the most ornamental effects may be produced. We this month give a border which we think will prove very satisfactory to those ladies who may feel tempted to execute it. The introduction of the black velvet medallions gives a very novel appearance to this work. They are fastened down by long stitches in gold-colored netting silk. The long diamonds in the middle of this border are to be black; the two pointed pieces which come between are light. The parts at the two sides  on which the medallions rest are in the middle shade of color, neither too dark nor too light. This border, added to a square of cloth, would form a very handsome table-cover if the whole were considered too tedious a undertaking, and would enlarge it sufficiently to produce a cover suitable for any drawing-room table.
Macaroon Patchwork in Silk and Velvet: Amongst the most amusing of the labors of the needle, that of patchwork will, by many ladies, be accepted as the first. It offers great variety in its progress, producing many striking effects by means of exercising taste in all its combinations. In fact, this parqueterie of the Work-Table requires more of the qualities of the artist than might once have been imagined. It demands a knowledge of the power of form and the value of color. Patchwork is not now what it was a few centuries ago. It has passed through many phases of improvement, and we have much pleasure in introducing another to the notice of our subscribers, which certainly enhances the value of these productions. That which will be seen in our illustration called the Macaroon Patchwork. It is made up of two shapes, independently of the round of velvet from which it receives its title. The arrangement of color must depend upon individual taste, but the depth of shade must be carefully remembered. The interior square must be of a neutral tint, half of the side pieces light, the other half dark, or black, which last has a very good effect. The round, or macaroon of velvet, must be laid upon the central square of silk before it is tacked on to its paper shape, which is done by passing the needle through the centre, and making a long overcast-stitch, which reaches to the outer rim, repeating this so as to form as many divisions as appear in our illustration. This is to be done in a deep maize-color, or scarlet silk. When completed this silk patchwork will be found to produce and excellent effect for cushions, table-covers, and various other articles.
This Medallion patchwork pattern of squares and triangles, made up as a fringed table cover, apparently was considered so easy as to not need instructions!

Another pattern without instructions.There is a block that could be an eight pointed star variation. A star appears on the right side of the pattern. The white, or background color, makes up the center vertical points. It is a mosaic, inter-fitting style of quilt block which I don't understand how to piece without adding seams and pieces, and wonder if it were an appliqué.
The magazine index lists several Patchwork patterns but no instructions are included. Above is a Greek Key border with floral shapes consisting of four circles.

Below is a Maltese Cross shape set with a dark square. It is No. 450 in Barbara Brackman's Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns.
Here are more familiar looking patchwork patterns! They are described as being "designed expressly for Godey's Lady's Book." The first is a cross with setting block in contrasting color. The second one an easy half-square triangle pattern in dark and light colors. 

 A quilting design for hand quilting is offered separate from any project. Perhaps it was meant for a whole cloth quilt.

Today few quilters work without instructions to a pattern. When I started out quilting in 1991 I was part of a small church group of experienced quilters. Claire Booth could look at a quilt on a magazine cover and figure out how to make it! She was a master appliqué artist who in her 90s had started another major project when I spoke to her a year ago.

Here is a quilt Claire made in 1991 based on a greeting card image. She made it for my husband when he was leaving for another church assignment.

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