Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Yankee Diary Block 3: Double Ties

Yankee Diary Block 3: Double Ties
by Denniele Bohannon

Detail of an album quilt made to celebrate 
Mary Fields Fisk's marriage in 1865.
Collection of the Ontario County Historical Society, 

From Carrie's diary, December 13, 1859.
 "The older ladies of the town have formed a society for the relief of the poor and are going to have a course of lectures in Bemis hall under their auspices to raise funds...The young ladies have started a society, too, and we have great fun and fine suppers. We met at Jennie Howell's to organize. We are to meet once in two weeks and are to present each member with an album bed quilt with all our names on when they are married. Susie Daggett says she is never going to be married, but we must make her a quilt just the same." 

The Baptist Ladies' Sewing and Social Society held a fair in 
Canandaigua near Christmas, 1858.

Susan Elizabeth Daggett

The girls stayed true to their vows. Susie Daggett never married and they made a quilt for those who did, including Jennie and Carrie.

Carrie's "society" of girls growing into young women had many common ties, some double and triple ties. They were members of the same social class. Carrie's Grandfather Beals and Jennie's attorney father were mentioned together as the town's prominent citizens. Several families are remembered in street names today such as Beals and Chapin.  

Susie Daggett's father was minister at the 
First Congregational Church

The girls attended the Ontario Female Seminary as day students; they were members of the First Congregational Church and they generally lived in elegant houses. Many of their homes survive in Canandaigua's historic district.

Alfred Field house at 104 Gibson Street.
Society members Mary, Louisa and 
Lucilla lived here with Carrie's Aunt Ann.

Some members were cousins and double cousins. Sisters Mary, Louisa and Lucilla Fields were Carrie's first cousins. Their mother Ann had married her first cousin so the girls shared much family history. Cousin Mary Fields for whom the quilt at the top of the page was made married Willis Fisk, a teacher at the Canandaigua Academy, the boys' school.

The Double Tie

Quilt historians can account for four quilts made by Carrie's Society. Two quilts in this pattern are in the collection of the Ontario County Historical Society. Jacqueline Atkins, who did much research on the Canandaigua quilts, called them Double Tie quilts in her book Shared Threads. The pattern was quite popular for "album bed quilts," in the 1840s and '50s.

Becky Brown's Double Ties Blocks

The Double Tie
The Double Tie album is the pattern for the month. At six inches (finished size) the design fills in between the applique blocks of various sizes.

You need to make 5 of them by the end of the year.

Barbara Brackman's Double Ties Blocks

You'll make a row of 3 and a row of 2.
Any colors you like.

Rotary Cutting a 6" Finished Block

A - Cut 4 rectangles 2-1/4" x 4". You will trim these after you piece them to fit the corners.

B - Cut 1 square 4-3/4" x 4-3/4".  Cut with 2 diagonal cuts to make 4 triangles. You need 4 triangles.
C - Cut 1 square 2-1/4" x 2-1/4".

Piecing the Block


Double Tie by Denniele

Ink the center if you like.
"Three Rousing Cheers for the Union"

The block is from Mary Fields Fisk's quilt
at the top of the page.

Jared Willson House
211 North Main

Carrie's friend Clara Willson's home still stands in Canandaigua. Below, a detail of the quilt in the Double Tie design that her friends made for her marriage to Augustus G. Coleman. Every block is the same striped print. The women signed the center blocks and included verses, quotes and jokes.

Double Tie quilt for Clara Willson Coleman
Collection of the Ontario County Historical Society, Canandaigua

Clara's future husband Augustus Coleman photographed
the town from atop the courthouse in 1858.

Becky's Blocks 1, 2 & 3

Jacqueline Marx Atkins discussed the Double Ties
from Canandaigua in her book Shared Threads:
Quilting Together Past and Present.

If you want to get ahead of the story you
can read about Susie Daggett's quilt in Shelly Zegart's
Old Maid-New Woman at this site:

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Working For the Fair

Pennsylvania Women showing a large flag at the 
Philadelphia Academy of Fine Arts,
Lloyd Ostendorf Collection
National Archives

Below is an unsigned poem that appears to be unique to this particular newspaper about children doing needlework (and keeping rabbits?) for the Sanitary Fair.

Interesting that it appeared a month after the end of the Civil War.

"Working for the Fair" from the Elgin (Illinois) Weekly Gazette, May 24, 1865

There's a hum of merry voices
  In the house and in the street---
There are busy consultations
  And a rain of little feet;
There are scores of cunning cushions
  Of the dear red, white and blue;
There's a host of snowy rabbits
  That will xx fly from you
Should you look on these
  With the puzzle in your air.
You'll be told that they are waiting
For the Sanitary Fair.

There's a quilt of one-inch pieces,
  For a little fairy's bed.
There's a gorgeous worsted afghan,
  And a white embroidered spread.
There are dresses for xxx yearlings
  With a rank and file of tucks;
There's a bag and on it, swimming
  A whole family of ducks.
There are elephants-great moguls---
  Lest some knob the xx should wear
They are made to stand behind it
  And are waiting for the Fair.

Oh, the little hands are busy
  And 'tis time the children learned
That the pleasure of industry
  Is a pleasure to be earned.
That to succor those in sorrow,
  Was the work of Christ below---
Is the work of his disciples
  Be the object friend or foe.
But our sick and wounded soldiers
  Should have toil, and love, and care
We will work, and never weary,
  For the Sanitary Fair.

See the newspaper here:

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Westering Women Finishes in Red

Joanne at Thread Head is FINISHED quilting her Westering Women sampler.

She used the traditional set with what looks 
to be 2-1/2"   finished sashing (she says 2"----5" border)
and found the perfect red floral for a border.

Martha used a similar border with a different color scheme.
My theory is red is always good.

Click here to see Rod's red, white and blue set in the Way West design:

Next Week: Block 3 of Yankee Diary

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Cornelia Calhoun's Quilt

John C. Calhoun's South Carolina home Fort Hill, which is part of Clemson University, has shown several quilts over the years. Calhoun was the major spokesman for secessionists and pro-slavery Southerners in the first half of the 19th century. 

John C. Calhoun 1782-1850

He and wife Floride had seven children who survived infancy. I noticed this cut-out chintz applique in a photo, which said  it was made by his daughter Martha Cornelia Calhoun. 

Cornelia's quilt is often shown on a bed in the master bedroom.
This postcard may be from the 1960s or '70s

Cornelia's sister Anna Calhoun Clemson and her husband founded Clemson University
in Clemson, South Carolina, on family land.

The Fort Hill historic home recently posted pictures of the quilt
on their Facebook page. I brightened them up a little so the details
are visible.

Martha Cornelia, always called Cornelia in her family, was born in Georgetown, Virginia,  while her father was Secretary of War under President James Monroe. She was handicapped by deafness and a spinal disorder and used a wheelchair.  Her health was always a concern to her family. Cornelia died rather suddenly at the age of 33 in 1857.

Her chintz applique quilt is done in patchwork style
common in the Carolinas before the Civil War.

The all-over quilting design, concentric quarter circles that we might call fans, was quite popular in the South in the last decades of the 19th century and into the 20th. Is it typical of Carolina quilts during Cornelia's lifetime (1824-1857)? Was her chintz applique quilted before her 1857 death or after? Can't say from the photos and, since I see so few Southern pre-war quilts, I probably couldn't say if I saw it in the cloth.

The Charleston Museum's site is a great place to see South Carolina's antebellum quilts. Search for quilt here:

Saturday, March 11, 2017

A Trio of Eagle Borders

I tend to think of appliqued eagles as a symbol more popular before the Civil War than during.

But this trio of border eagles indicates that an eagle border might be perfect for
a Civil War reproduction quilt.

The blue eagle is from a quilt date-inscribed 1865
  in the collection of the 
International Quilt Study Center & Museum.
# 2006.043.0157

Four Block Quilt # 1 from IQSC
From the James collection. The Jameses thought it was probably an Ohio quilt.

Quilt #2 is from the Ohio Historical Society
Made by Eliza Jane Secrest (1838-1924) of Mt. Zion, Ohio. Estimated family date, about 1858

Quilt #3
I thought these red & green examples were the same quilt. Careful looking reveals the block patterns are similar, but the border leaves are different. This quilt, which I found on Pinterest, has only two eagles in the border at top and bottom. I bet these are all from Ohio. Notice the doves in all three florals.

I'm quite familiar with the eagles as I drew a pattern for one years ago for our Sunflower Pattern Co-operative.

It was based on the 1865 red, white & blue quilt.

Barbara Fritchie Star pieced by Shirlene Wedd, appliqued by Jean Stanclift
and hand quilted by Anne Thomas. 2000, 90" x 90"

Karla Menaugh & I did a couple of Barbara Fritchie star quilts with our friends at the Sunflower Pattern Co-operative.

Karla did the all-pieced version below. You can barely see the inscription we embroidered into the border, but it's a line from John Greenleaf Whittier's Civil War poem Barbara Fritchie.

We still have a few of the pattern packets available in our Etsy Store. Once they are gone (soon!) we are planning to do a digital download but getting all 7 paper pattern sheets into a printable PDF is still confounding us.

See more here:

Read more about the Civil War symbolism in a Barbara Fritchie Star at this post: