February 12, 2012

Apple Pie Ridge Star Continued

The Quaker women who made the five quilts containing "Apple Pie Ridge Star" blocks had strong connections to Maryland Quakers.  It seems possible that the Apple Pie Ridge Star is a "plumper" adaptation of the popular "Fleur-de-Lis" pattern that appears on many, slightly earlier Baltimore Album-style quilts.

Fleur-de-Lis patterned block from Signature Album/Sampler quilt made
by the Hargest family, 1845. Photograph courtesy of the International Quilt
Study Center, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 2005.022.0001.

In 2010, Hazel Carter also wrote about the Apple Pie Ridge Star pattern for an American Quilt Study Group newsletter.  In it she explained that, "The 'Apple Pie Ridge Star' (APRS) applique quilt pattern is a folded paper-cut-out taking elements from the well-known fleur-de-lys pattern." The earliest quilt on which she found this block pattern was dated to 1844.

Slim and  plump variations of this pattern appear on many Quaker and non-Quaker quilts of the same era, but we don't know the family tradition of their names.   However, "In at least one instance, Quakers adopted a private name for a generally familiar quilt pattern.  In 1929 Ruth Finley wrote about her excitement over the prospect of inspecting one quilt made in the 'famous Long Island pattern, Duck's-Foot-in -Mud.'  Upon inspection it turned out to be the pattern Finley knew as Bear's Paw.

Bear's Paw block made by Lynda Salter Chenoweth, 2011.

After a visitor from Philadelphia saw the Bear's Paw in Finley's quilt collection, she remarked, 'Oh, you've got a yellow and white Hand of Friendship!'  Finley wrote, 'Subsequent investigation revealed that to this same ancient pattern women belonging to the Society of Friends had given this third name, typical of their speech and faith.'"  (Robare, 2007)

Russell Family Child's Quilt, date unknown.  Collection of Constance R. Thomas.

Several quilts containing the block pattern we are referring to as the Apple Pie Ridge Star were on display for the "Quilts and Quaker Heritage" exhibit at the Virginia Quilt Museum in 2008.  One was the little 38 X 39 inch quilt shown above.  Family tradition is that it was made for a child.  Interestingly, the maker halved blocks for the side-middle placements.

Quilt historians dream about finding precise clues to the origin, migration, and adaptation of  block patterns.  In the meantime, we have another name for an old pattern, thanks to the Quakers on Apple  Pie Ridge.


Carter, Hazel.  "Apple Pie Ridge Star Quilts."  In Blanket Statements, Issue 100.  Lincoln, NE: American Quilt Study Group, summer 2010.

Robare, Mary.  Quilts and Quaker Heritage.  Winchester, VA: Hillside Studios, 2008.

Virginia Consortium of Quilters.  Quilts of Virginia 1607-1899: The Birth of America Through the Eye of a Needle.  Atglen, PA: Schiffer Publishing Ltd., 2006.

(c) Lynda Salter Chenoweth and Mary Holton Robare 2012

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