Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Irish Pixies vs Hillbilly Pixies

Some years ago I came across a quilt being sold on eBay with a pattern I later recognized in a 1973 copy of Blue Ribbon Quilts Patterns by Ruby Hinson. These Hillbilly Pixies had funny faces with hillbilly hats and were meant for applique and embroidery.

Recently a friend had an old Quilt World magazine with Irish Pixies. The idea is the same, just tweaked. The setting was even the same as the 1973 pattern.

The Irish Pixies have buckled hats and are all smoking a pipe.

The faces include funny expressions.

Here are the eBay quilt and sample pages of the Hillbilly Pixies pattern. The hats are appliqued and the rest of the details are embroidered.

So even a seemingly original idea has several interpretations! The Hillbilly Pixies all have antenna while all the Irish Elves have pipes.

Perhaps by 1986 Hillbilly was considered a negative stereotype and the pattern morphed into an Irish elf. According to Wikipedia,
The "classic" hillbilly stereotype reached its current characterization during the years of the Great Depression when many mountaineers left their homes to find work in other areas of the country. The period of Appalachian out-migration, roughly from the 1930s through the 1950s, saw many mountain residents moving North to the Midwestern industrial cities of Chicago, Cleveland, Akron and Detroit. This movement North became known as the "Hillbilly Highway." The movement brought these previously isolated communities into mainstream United States culture. Poor white mountaineers became central characters in newspapers, pamphlets and eventually, motion pictures. Authors at this time were inspired by historical figures such as Davy Crockett and Daniel Boone. The mountaineer image transferred over to the 20th century where the "hillbilly" stereotype emerged.[4]

See all of the Hillbilly Pixies patterns at

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