February 4, 2012

The Apple Pie Ridge Star

Quakers made quilts in as many patterns and designs as the general population, but this post is about another name for an old pattern: the Apple Pie Ridge Star.

Apple Pie Ridge Star block made by Lynda Salter Chenoweth, 2011.

In her Encyclopedia of Applique, Barbara Brackman cites documentation of this pattern's name as "True Lover's Knot" and "A Kansas Pattern".  We learned new information when the previous owner of the circa 1858 Hollingsworth Family Quilt, Janney Wilson, pointed to one of its blocks.  He explained that his grandmother "called that an Apple Pie Ridge Star."  In fact, five blocks displaying this pattern appear in the quilt made and inscribed by members of the Religious Society of Friends.

Hollingsworth Family Quilt.  Photograph by Barbara Tricarico.
Collection of the Winchester-Frederick County Historical Society,
Winchester, Virginia.

To quote from an article that originally appeared in a 2007 newsletter of the American Quilt Study Group, "Historians do not know exactly which generation attributed the name of the pattern, but the locality in which blocks of the Hollingsworth Family Quilt were made is an area of rolling countryside just outside Winchester [. . .]  During the 1750s, apple trees were widely planted there for their produce [. . .]

The region was mapped as the 'Apple Pie Ridge' as early as 1809.  Several colorful legends exist about how it received its name.  One story is that Revolutionary War-era Hessian prisoners of war walked 'north to the ridge on Sunday afternoons to enjoy the delicious apple pies cooked by Quaker housewives.'  Another version suggests the name derived from glimpses of Quaker ladies through windows of their horse-drawn carriages, carrying apple pies for after-worship fellowship [. . .]

Like many quilt block patterns, Apple Pie Ridge Star appears to be a local name for a pattern observed elsewhere under different names.  The shape has shown up in quilts known as Snowflake, True Lover's Knot, Kansas Pattern, and even a Lobster Variation."  (Robare)

The circa 1850 Pidgeon Family Quilt, detail, "Apple Pie Ridge Star" block.
Photograph by Mary Holton Robare.  Collection of the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum,
The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation.

The block shown above is just one of several that appear on at least five quilts made by the same local community of mid-nineteenth-century Quakers.  We will present more about this block pattern in our next post.


Brackman, Barbara.  The Encyclopedia of Applique.  McLean, VA: EPM Publications, 1993.

Lupton, Janney.  Personal conversations with Mary Holton Robare, summer 2007.

Lupton, Janney.  "Hollingsworth Revisited: A Labor of Love."  In Traditional Quilter, November, 1998.

Robare, Mary Holton, ed. Gaye Ingram.  "The Apple Pie Ridge Star."  In Blanket Statements, Issue 88.
Lincoln, NE: American Quilt Study Group, summer 2007.

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



  2. Velia Lauerman also commented on our Apple Pie Ridge Star pieces on 9/10/12. She said: "Wonderful synopsis of this design for our study group in Hudson, Michigan. We are working on cloning this pattern. The undying quilt study continues with enjoyment. Thanks for the great information."