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  • WarmQuilts

4th of JULY

From The Met's Quilt search (The Metropolitan Museum of Art), this red, white & blue quilt from 1837-50 is a patriotic choice.

Many quilts that featured eagle motifs were made in the years surrounding the nation’s Centennial in 1876; however, this quilt with the single central eagle stylistically seems to have been made a few decades earlier.


After the Great Seal of the United States was adopted by the Continental Congress in 1782, the image of the American eagle became an extremely popular design element, used to adorn all types of late-eighteenth- and early-nineteenth-century decorative art objects. The eagle motif was employed with great sophistication by the cabinetmakers of Federal America; however, its appearance on handmade quilts is often whimsical.

Although many Eagle quilts were made at the time of the nation's Centennial in 1876, the Museum's Eagle quilt, which unfortunately came to us with no provenance, is thought to have been made a few decades earlier. The quilt features a large single eagle at its center with twenty-six stars above the eagle's head. The number of stars may provide a significant clue to the date of the quilt. In 1837, Michigan was admitted to the Union as the twenty-sixth state, and since national events were often commemorated by quiltmakers, this piece may well have been made in celebration of that event. The printed cottons pieced and appliquéd into the quilt also appear to date from the 1830s and 1840s. The blue and white stripe in the zigzag border is particularly distinctive; it could be an American attempt to emulate the English rainbow prints so popular during those years.



In commemoration of the United States’ one hundredth birthday, a great celebratory exhibition took place in Philadelphia in 1876, and proved influential on the arts of all types. A particular type of Centennial-era quilt was made in Pennsylvania that featured American eagles, which were extremely popular design motifs beginning in 1782, when the Great Seal of the United States was adopted by the Continental Congress. Like this example, such quilts include four eagles, one in each corner, their wings outspread and their heads all facing center. Four Eagle quilts with white backgrounds are most often found in the counties of central Pennsylvania, especially Union, Snyder, Centre, and Clinton Counties. Quilts in this pattern with orange or yellow grounds as in this example were made in counties with larger Pennsylvania German populations, such as Lebanon, Berks, and Lancaster. The majority of dated examples are from the 1880s, but quilts in this pattern were made through the 1920s.

The Museum’s Four Eagles quilt came to us with a provenance of having been made in Lebanon County. When quilts made in this pattern were first published in the early 1970s, the uniformity of the layout, which always shows the eagles facing head in, with shields for torsos, surrounding a spoked wheel or star, gave rise to the assumption that they were all made from a pattern that had been printed in a woman’s magazine of the day. Today it is believed that the quilt makers found their inspiration practically in their own backyards.

[1] In Pennsylvania in the 1870s, local coverlet weavers were creating woven bedcovers in a very similar pattern. The influence that woven coverlets had on hand-sewn bedcovers of the nineteenth century has yet to be fully studied; the Four Eagles quilt reveals a bit more about this intriguing subject.

Have you created a patriotic-themed quilt?



Ricky Tims posts that Wildfire Consumes Autumn Rock. From his Devastating Wildfire in La Veta blog post: It is sad to report that our mountain dream property as been consumed by the Spring Fire burning in Southern Colorado. All quilts and artworks were pre-evacuated. While I will eventually be able to share a full report with more details, for now I’m just trying to get the word out that we are okay.

JULY 5th UPDATE: Ricky Tims reports that . . . All these days I have said in the posts, we had a 5% chance that the house might have survived. I got the word this afternoon - the HOUSE SURVIVED! In the middle of armageddon the house survived!


Closer To Home . . .

Earlier this week, we wrapped mementos in quilts for possible evacuation from a Northern California wildfire. This is our second time in nine months - choosing items that may be the only keepsakes to survive. We have been fortunate to have had the time to wrap treasures and place them in the vehicles. Sadly, the October 2017 fires did not allow everyone that opportunity.

Placing red Go-Bags at-the-ready - they will be the last items in the vehicles and the first bags we reach for once we are safely evacuated. For now, we remain outside the Advisory Evacuation area and will shelter in place.

The T-Shirt quilt that I've been working on was one of the first items tucked away for safe keeping. Sewing machines and UFO's are safe in the trunk of the car.

. . . as is my 365 Project. Packed away on Day 182; the halfway point in the year. I will have a few additional buttons to add before my next post.

Brave firefighters continue to arrive from great distances to assist. They are spending their Independence Day on the fire lines. All are away from their families to protect ours - we are all so thankful! We can see hear the helicopters in the distance before we actually see them. Large planes are making drops, too. The crews are making great progress! The fire is currently at 82,700 acres and 25% containment.



It is RED for love

and it’s WHITE for law,

and it’s BLUE for the hope

that our forefathers saw,

of a larger liberty.

Enjoy the day celebrating America the Beautiful, We The People, a hometown parade, fly Old Glory, a picnic or barbecue, Apple Pie, Watermelon and Hot Dogs, Baseball, a Fireworks Display and Let Freedom Ring!

"Sweet Land of Liberty, of Thee I Sing ..."

by Samuel F. Smith – 1832

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