Water Lily appliqué quilt, 1930s, made by Doris Beckman Schwettmann, Charleston, SC.
This delightful quilt has twenty-three appliquéd water lilies and lily pads surrounded by a scalloped green border, a wide white border with quilted flowers, and an outer border of appliquéd interlocking scallops. It has a white backing, thin batting and green binding. The pastel colors and minty green are very typical of the 1930s.
It is similar to a pattern published by a company like Mountain Mist®, who began printing patterns on their batting wrappers in 1930. Since it is obvious Doris was a skilled needleworker, perhaps she created her own design or used a pattern as a starting point. Her design has a variety of water lilies, while the Mountain Mist® pattern repeats the same flower. Some of the quilter’s markings are still visible under the appliqués and along the quilting lines.
Doris Beckman (1871-1950), born in Palmetto, GA, married Charleston pharmacist Dr. Frederick William Schwettmann. Her grandson, Fred J. Martschink, was the donor’s husband.
Gift of Pauline C. Martschink in 1999
Mountain Mist® is considered the original inventor of commercial filler products for quilters. They have been producing and marketing quilt batting, fiberfill and pillow forms since 1846. Their pattern collection began in 1929 when the sales manager, Fritz Hooker, decided to print patterns on the batting wrappers to boost sales. In the 1970s, the company reissued many of these 1930s & 1940s patterns on their batting wrappers and in 1998 actually published a book of these earlier patterns.
There seems to have been a resurgence of hand quilting in the 1930s, perhaps due to the hard times of the Depression. Pieced and appliquéd quilts allowed the re-use of fabric scraps into a functional, and beautiful, item. A handsome quilt provided beauty and creativity during these difficult time. The act of quilting – from sharing fabrics to quilting bees – provided a productive activity for women to share a bond of friendship. And quilt displays and contests, from local fairs to national events, often offered cash prizes, a huge incentive in those bleak years.
This quilt is on exhibit in Early 20th Century Quilts until August 4, 2013
Like this pattern? Join us for a workshop to reproduce this quilt, April 13, 20, 27, 2013.
TEXTILE TUESDAYS: Each Tuesday we post a piece from our textile collection. Some items have been on exhibit, some will eventually be shown in our Historic Textiles Gallery and some may be just too fragile to display. We hope you enjoy our selection each week – do let us know if there’s something in particular you’d like to see on TEXTILE TUESDAY! #TextileTuesday