Quilt of the Month


June 2007

June 2007

Grandmother's Fan
Maker unknown
Probably made in the Midwestern United States
Circa 1930
93" X 63.5"
IQSC 1997.007.0036
Ardis and Robert James Collection of Antique and Contemporary Quilts
Recycling and Resourcefulness: Quilts of the 1930s Exhibition

The Grandmother's Fan pattern first appeared in print in a Ladies Art Company catalog of 1897. Prior to that, fans were common motifs in late nineteenth century crazy quilts. Their popularity likely was due to the fad for decorating in the Japanese style, which was prompted by Americans' exposure to Japanese art at the 1876 Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia. By the 1930s, fans were standard favorites for quilt patterns.

The fans of this Grandmother's Fan quilt flutter against a busy floral ground. The maker cut the blades of the fans from a variety of scrap and recycled fabrics - the floral print is an unusual choice for the background and border. Many of these fabrics are likely taken from cloth sacks that held a variety of staple goods, from sugar to flour to animal feed.