Friday, 30 December 2011

Quilts from the DAR Museum, Washington DC

I had a lot of marking to do by Christmas, which always impacts on my life including no stitching! However, my creative juices need to be fulfilled so, I've been working on my blog to give me a bit of light relief between each script and I've finally finished it (and the marking!) - a few days late, but well, all good things...

Museum of the Daughters of the American Revolution, Washington DC
This museum never ceases to amaze me. I have visited on at least 10 occasions over the years and each time I see new quilts hanging in the museum. I have to ask myself just how many amazing quilts do they have in their collection??

All of the quilts below were on display either in the sliding doors or in a special exhibition on American Folk Arts and Crafts. The information has been taken from the information boards plus my own notes.

?Crib Quilt c. 1870-1875
Possibly New England

Woollen crib quilt


Close-up with border

Measurement:- 43" x 49" - the size suggests a child's bed cover, but the wight (heavy) suggests that it may have been intended as a decorative textile which was coming into vogue in the last quarter of the 19th century.

Contruction:- Stylised oak springs and berries (also Hawthorn and Holly), appliqued and embroidered onto squares of alternating striped and solid coloured wool. Diamond shapped appliques in the corners visually connect the squares. Woolen stems (threads) are councehd down throughout and outline the leaves and diamonds. The borders are composed of red and pink roses (dogroses?).

Appliqued cradle top c.1860

Cradle quilt

Close-up of BL cradle top

Close-up of scherenschnitte centre

Made by member of Diehle family of Lanacaster County, Pennsylvania
Measurement:- 39" x 39.5"

Framed Medallion Quilt c.1800

Made by Aberilla Wood Skunk (1784 - 1852), probably of Taneytown, Carroll County, Maryland
Framed Medallion Quilt


Close-up of border - note pomegranate print


This has to be my favourite quilt in the current exhibit.

Measurement:- 87" x 96"
Construction:- Centre spray of grape leaves from a printed leaf print surrounded by a vine wreath of rose buds, ivy leaves and berries creating a central medallion. Framed by pieced borders - sawtooth 3" (triangles have been appliqued) and delectable mountain design 9". Both grapes and pomegranates in border fabric are symbols of prosperity.

Quilt was probably made for Aberilla's trousseau. The quilt passed through the family to whomever was named Aberilla in each generation earning it the family name "the Aberilla quilt".

Red and Green applique quilt c.1850's

Made by Roseanna Ruggles Sloane of Smithville, Alaska

Measurement:- 75.5” x 101.5”

Evening Star c. no date (1870’s?)

Evening Star

Construction: - Ohio Star on point with red sashing. Each block approximately 4 ½” square with 1” sashing. Five alternating borders  red, white, red, white, red each approximately 1” wide.

Tulip Quilt c.1860's

Pomegranate Quilt c.1860's
Pomegranate Quilt

Close-up of Pomegranate Quilt
Made by Lucy Kemper West of Garrard County, Kentucky
Measurement:- 76" square
Fabrics:- plain turkey red, yellow with small red spots, lime green with red specks.

Construction:- 4 block quilt set on point
Quilting – right hand side of quilt quilted differently to left hand side with dahlia flowers at intersections.

Pomegranate Quilt c.1880
From Berkshire County, Pennsylvania

Measurement:- 86” square

Construction:- Pomegranates edged with purple and red blanket stitch which was added later as made of synthetic thread.

Applique Quilt c. 1865

Close-up of rooster

Made by Laura Whicher Adye (1801 - 1875) of Adyeville, Indiana this quilt composed of "stylised floral sprays and curious roosters" are set against a blue background which instantly gains your eye. Laura Whicher married Aner Adye in 1818 in Vermont. They moved first to New York but then in 1837 they moved to Perry Country, Indiana. Laura Adye dyed in Iowa in 1875, thirty years after her husband.

Pieced Quilt c.1940

Close-up of bird block

Possibly made by Blanche Ransom Coleman Parker (1884 - 1981) of Carroll County, Tennessee, this is the only African-American quilt in the DAR Museum collection. Whether Blanche made the quilt is unclear, but she owned it. Blanche Coleman was a skilled seamstress and devoted educator first in Tennessee and later in Missouri.


  1. I enjoyed the pictures of the antique quilts. The Pomegranate quilt in red & green and the light background is a beauty.

  2. i really love your posts! The crib quilts and the rooster quilt are my favorites although I certainly like the others. I've just always liked crib quilts best. But that rooster quilt looks like fun and gave me a big smile. It's amazing how many quilts have the same name (like pomegranate) but are so completely different.

  3. Hi Fiona, fantastic photo's again...Thank you :-) and I enjoy reading your notes too.
    All the quilts made me gasp, thanks for the close-ups too, love the paisley on the rooster's neck, and all the other fabrics appear to be plain, just wonderful.
    My apetite is well and truly whetted for next year's trip.
    Any more pics at all? any chance ;-)

  4. So glad you enjoyed your visit. You can see all our quilts online at; search for DAR Museum as "contributing institution" and you can narrow the search by pattern type, date range, or location (state). We have a little over 300 quilts, over half pre-1850 and for over 2/3 of which we know the maker or at least the family and region where it was made. We will be taking the quilts in the racks (all except rooster and blackbirds) down in a week or so and rotating in Baltimore and Maryland albums, up through August, so come back again for those!--Alden O'Brien, curator of costume and textiles, DAR Museum
    PS--that's Smithville Arkansas, not Alaska, on the red and green applique!