Dating quilt patterns

Today, indigo blue dyes very similar to those made in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries are still common in African quiltmaking and are sometimes used in contemporary American art quilts.Lancaster blue, sometimes called Pennsylvania blue after Pennsylvania’s Lancaster County, are a ‘double blue’ similar to double pinks in that they are composed of a fine light blue print on a slightly darker blue ground.Madder orange, related to madder red, could be produced by varying the intensity of the dye.

Madder dyes come from the roots of the madder plant, also known as rubia, and along with walnut shells, clay, and certain woods, were used to dye quilt fabrics brown from the eighteenth century onward.Madder red, also known as cinnamon red, was a bright red dye made from the roots of the madder, or rubia, plant, and was especially popular in the late nineteenth century.It is differentiated from another red dye made from madder, Turkey red, because of its dyeing process.Both of these hues have warmer undertone than bubblegum pink, which emerged as a quilt fabric, often as a solid rather than a print, in the twentieth century.Double pinks were most popular in the 1860s, ‘70s, and ‘80s, though double pinks are common in quilts through the 1920s.

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