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McKim "Grandmother's Flower Garden"
31719Cc McKim “Grandmother’s Flower Garden” tan, bright pastels 495.00
78” x 78” 1929 or after; found in NW South Carolina, maker unknown. In September of 1929, artist and quilt designer Ruby Short McKim was hired to create a series of quilt block designs that could be used by syndicated newspapers to bolster readership through subscriptions. The patterns were offered twice a week, one on Sunday and one on another, unannounced day of the week. A full subscription was required lest the reader miss a pattern; they were never repeated. The 27 “Grandmother’s Flower Garden” patterns included a pieced picket fence border to surround the quilt, and a wind-blown dandelion as a quilting design for the plain blocks; the line-drawn floral blocks were to traced and outline-embroidered in appropriate colors. Once all the patterns had been printed by spring of the following year, readers were encouraged to send their completed quilts to their newspaper for judging, with cash prizes ranging from $50 down to $5.
This quilter opted to leave out the fence and quilting design, and she filled in each flower with dense, almost dimensional embroidery, rather than just creating an outlined flower. The tan fabric on which the flowers are embroidered is slightly brighter than that used for the alternate plain squares and borders. The quilt back is a natural cream muslin, and the self-binding is front over back, by hand. Beautifully hand embroidered, machine joined, and hand quilted in ¾” square lattice on the diagonal over the entire surface, except over the flowers themselves. Unused and unwashed; crisp and in excellent condition.