We're not in Kansas (city) anymore

An occasional post about quilting

But if we were and it was 1928 we would have been present when a quilt phenomenon got it's start. Beginning that fall, The Kansas City Star and it's sister newspapers, The Weekly Star and The Star Farmer began publishing quilt patterns in a ready-to-use format. Instead of sending away for mail-order patterns, quilters could clip and save favorite patterns for later use. Patterns printed in these newspapers were distributed throughout Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Iowa, and Colorado and, in later years, as far away as North Carolina, Kentucky, and Texas. This widespread network allowed quilters from urban and rural areas to share patterns.

Nell Snead, The Star's woman's and fashion editor was responsible for finding the patterns, which were submitted by local quilters and newspaper readers. The patterns were then professionally created by a series of designers including Ruby Short McKim (an art needlework editor for Better Homes & Gardens), Eveline Foland (who added an Art Deco touch) and The Stars' own fashion illustrator, Edna Marie Dunn.

As you can imagine, it's rare to find clippings of these patterns. I bought a bagful of Grandmother's Flower Garden quilt blocks a few years ago and was thrilled to find an original pattern cut from this newspaper inside. Dated 1931, and you can see Eveline Foland's signature in the corner.

The French Bouquet quilt pattern

By the time the last pattern (Fan of Many Colors) was published in May of 1961, the newspaper had published more than 1000 patterns. Lots of traditional pieced patterns, of course. But also special patterns for appliqued and embroidered quilts, including several series of designs to be sewn together when completed: Santa's Parade Quilt (1929), Memory Bouquet Quilt (1930), Horn of Plenty Quilt (1932) and Happy Childhood Quilt (1932).

Pickledish.com , which seems to be the official site for patterns, has downloadable paper patterns for a few of the designs here. You can occasionally find them on Ebay, both originals for serious collectors (i.e. expensive) and reprinted copies for quilters. If you just want the patterns there are a number of books that reprint them, and you can find them at The Kansas City Store.

Some links to photos of quilts based on Eveline Foland designs:
Memory Bouquet; published in twenty installments in the Kansas City Star and later in the Detroit News, where it was renamed Flower Garden. Another photo of a quilt using the same designs.

Donkey Quilt, designed to commemorate democrat Franklin D. Roosevelt's landslide victory in the 1932 election.

1 comment:

AmeliaB said...

How intreasting! I love how the almost everyone did crafts (i.e. homemaking) not so long ago. My great-grandma always had something in her lap either sewing, crochet, or knitting.