Saturday, June 30, 2012

Collaboration: Fantastic Applique Quilt and Pattern

From Webster’s New World Dictionary, 3rd college edition
col·lab·o·rate  verb \kə-ˈla-bə-ˌrāt 
1.   To work together, esp. in some literary, artistic, or scientific undertaking
I was fortunate to purchase a fantastic antique Pennsylvania appliqué quilt several years ago.  I have shared the quilt on a few occasions, including the show-and-tell session at the American Quilt Study Group Seminar (Cherry Hill 2012) and with American Patchwork Quilting Magazine.  In 2008, APQ published it as one of those “last-page-isn’t-this-a-fantastic-quilt” photos—no pattern, just a stunning photo.  I had always wanted to draft a pattern of the quilt but, as we say at work, this is not part of my skill set.

Drafting appliqué patterns, it turns out, is part of Dawn’s skill set.  I met Dawn on-line through her blog,, and then in-person at the AQSG seminar last fall.  We also spent time together in California, tooling down the freeway towards Temecula--Dawn driving--me, buried in one of her 19th century quilts, attempting to examine appliqué details in a moving car.  

Soon after that trip, a collaboration was born and here is the result:

Dawn and her daughter Nora (collaborators themselves) did the hard work:  photographing the quilt and drafting the pattern, which includes full size appliqué templates and quilting lines from the original quilt.   Impressive work, if you ask me!  My main job was to worry that the quilt would be lost in transit between PA and CA.  It wasn’t lost, so my worrying paid off. 

The Calico Paradise pattern is available for purchase in Dawn’s Etsy shop here: 

About the quilt:
Although I don’t know the name of the quilt maker, I do know the quilt came from a family who lived in Freeburg (Snyder County) Pennsylvania. It came to auction out of the home of an elderly gentleman who did not recall who in his family had made the quilt or which side of the family it had come down through.
The quilt dates to ca. 1875.  The center portion of the quilt is done in a style referred to as scherenschnitte, or scissor-cutting.  The technique yields a complex design by folding and cutting paper, like the snow flakes we all made as children.
The rest of the quilt is a fantastical collection of flowers, birds, vines, and leaves.  The use of brightly colored calico prints makes this quilt “so Pennsylvania”.  And don’t forget the cheddar!

I love the blue birds.


  1. How wonderful you were able to find Dawn and she was able to replicate the pattern of the quilt!! The quilt is beautiful!!

  2. Seeing this just made my day. It is beautiful!

  3. Beautiful Ann. So nice that you found each other and have such a sepcial relationship with this quilt.


  4. The quilt looks very much like one made in Pennsylvania. A good purchase. I knew Dawn was collaborating with someone. A good joining together for the two of you.

  5. Congratulations on your newest project and collaboration with Dawn. The pattern is charming.

  6. What a great quilt! The applique is so fresh and different and WOW! the color and fabrics are incredible!

  7. What a quilt, and a great story with it! It's good that those with much more talent than I will be able to get the pattern. Great find by you, and a great job by your collaborator! ---"Love"

  8. This is indeed a lovely quilt. What are the dimensions of the the quilt with/without border?? Store said click here to ask question and it wanted to set up an account. I am not interested at this point in giving all sorts of info to get the dimensions.... actually would seem the size of the quilt should be part of the info on the quilt write up.... so the dimensions please... and Thank You

    1. bout 80 x 90 depending on the size you want. Fabrics were narrow back in 1860 so my guess is she split two lengths in half for the four borders. We might be more inclined to split 42/44 into fourths. Thanks!

  9. Wow, that's great news, congratulations! Your quilt is so pretty and now it's a pattern!

  10. This is such a great quilt. Dawn and her daughter do amazing things - I've drooled over each of their patterns! Perfect collaboration!

  11. Had trouble sleeping so started up the iPad to catch up on my sleep will be filled with dreams of Calico Paradise. What a stunning quilt!

  12. I saw on Dawns blog the size. I just wanted to say thanks for making a quilt pattern that is of a size I can use/bed size. I can appreciate all the small quilts but they are not my thng. I love the quilt material that was chosen for the original. Screams PA, I wonder if we would be so bold, in our fabric choices, if we did not have acess to the quilts that did not alrealdy exist.