Georgia Window Quilt, c. 1950

This is one of many quilts that I purchased with a suspicion it was brilliant based on a poor photograph. It came to me from Talbot County, Georgia, and has classic hallmarks I associate with southern quilts: thick batting, sweeping and somewhat primitive quilting, backing wrapped to the front for binding. The solutions found by the quilt maker in piecing together the middle, particularly that yellow strip, and incorporating what is clearly a window, gives it a wavy, almost psychedelic feel.

Chattanooga Log Cabin Variation, c. 1950

A Chattanooga, Tennessee quilt made around 1950 according to the daughter and grandson of the maker. The log cabin block is a highly ubiquitous and versatile construction in quilt history. Like many patterns, how one puts together the components paired with color choice makes for wide design variety. At the same time, you often find very similar quilts.

Many may think the quilt above is a one of a kind original. But in fact, I consider it one of a genre of log cabin quilts. It’s a style made famous by Gee’s Bend quilters, who many–myself included–consider best of class when it comes to improvisational work. Interestingly, the Souls Grown Deep Foundation labels Gee’s Bend quilts of this nature both “Housetop” and “Log Cabin”. The notation they use would describe this quilt as  “Housetop”– Sixteen-Block “Half-Log Cabin” Variation.

I hope to learn more about the maker of this quilt. Currently I just know her name and that it was made in Chattanooga.  Some of the prints strike me as 1940s era, but the maker’s grandson labeled it 1950s. I think it could fall on either side of 1950.

See another log cabin included in the anonymous quilt gallery here:

Modern log cabin, c. 1900


Girl with bonnet, figural quilt c. 1950

Found in Missouri, this figural quilt strikes me as circa 1950. It has what some call a “naive” style of quilt stitching that a fair number of feedsack quilts I’ve seen from that era possess. Although, this is not feedsack fabric.

Imagine a girl looking out a window with her back to the camera. There are butterflies fluttering around. Perhaps that’s a bonnet she has on. For awhile I was calling her “flower-head” but should probably not be so irreverent. The back is equally impressive: 

When I say “naive” quilting, I’m referring to a real free spirited approach that wasn’t concerned with precision. That’s an understatement. The girl is both appliquéd and pieced. She quilted right over bunched fabric, and in one case there are gaps between pieces where a muslin batting shows. She just stitched right across. Clearly, this quilter was concerned with design. Not so much the quilting.

Here are some close-ups of the fabric and quilting: