|Image from Quilters Cache site|
Yesterday I sent out an email to 47 quilting friends - many of them here in the Maritimes, but others were from across Canada and the US. I attached a copy of the photo of the Old Maid's Eyebrows block and asked if anyone recognized it or knew it by another name. And ...Bingo! I hit the jackpot! My first reply was from Sally Schneider in Albuquerque who said it was very similar to Hickory Leaf and Rose Petal blocks, both found in Barbara Brackman's Encyclopedia of Appliqué. Gail Fearon emailed that she had found it in a book and it was a variation of Diamond Five. (Not sure where that fifth diamond is...?) Then a call from local Guild member Marg Wood who said she found the exact same block in a New Brunswick Women's Institute publication (1977) and it was called Star and Crescent. After that Judy Morningstar of Manitoba answered with a whole list of names for the block, including Star and Crescent and Star Crescent. Other names for the block were Star of the West, King's Crown, Compass, The Four Winds, and Star of the Four Winds. These names all came from Barbara Brackman's Encyclopedia of Quilt Block Patterns (1993). At the same time, an email from another member of my Guild, Trudy Corey, who had looked in her copy of The Collector's Dictionary of Quilt Names and Patterns (with 2400 patterns!). She found identical names - Star and Crescent and Star Crescent, as well as The Four Winds, Star of the Four Winds and Star of the West.
I was amazed, not to mention impressed, that so many people replied so quickly and had taken the time to look through their quilting libraries to help me out!! THANK YOU ALL, dear quilting friends! This little "project" has been great fun - if you haven't already read the background story, click here to read my previous post.
Now I will tell you the rest of the story.... when songwriter Donna Rhodenizer first replied to my email asking her about the block name "Old Maid's Eyebrows", this is part of what she wrote:
"A bit of background info for you: I chose Old Maid's Eyebrows for the song because the name intrigued me. All of the quilt names in the song were gleaned from a box of quilt patterns collected by my great-grandmother who cut them out of the newspaper. If you have heard of the high-end clothing retailer, Suttles and Seawinds, there is also a connection there. Vicki Lynn Bardon who founded the store, is the daughter of my family's doctor when I was a child. Vicki went away to design school in New York (I think) and wanted to come home to work. She decided to begin a cottage industry with local sewers making quilts and clothes that she designed. She came to visit my mother for quilt pattern ideas and my mother let her peruse the box of quilt patterns her grandmother had collected. Many years later, I sorted through that same box of quilt patterns to choose the quilt names to include in a new song I was working on. After I wrote "The Quilt" we went to visit Vicki and sang her the song. She agreed to create a quilt using all the patterns in the song. From the same box of quilt patterns came a world-renowned business, a song and a quilt! Vicki Lynn Bardon's quilt became the cover of our CD "Ship of Dreams".
SO- now I will write to Donna again, and ask her if the pattern from the newspaper clipping was actually labelled "Old Maid's Eyebrows".. I suspect it was. Interesting huh? How one design can be known by so many names... I was thinking that perhaps her great grandmother had just come up with that name herself, just as any of us today might give a quilt a name of our own. So, there you have it. Mystery solved.. with a little help (okay a LOT of help) from my friends!! Call it whatever name you prefer- Old Maid's Eyebrows, or Star and Crescent or one of the others.... As for me, I have to say, the name Old Maid's Eyebrows still intrigues me.. I'm trying to picture said old maid... were her brows bushy? sparse? nicely arched? oddly shaped? drawn on poorly with a brow pencil?
What's the oddest quilt block name you have heard?
Piece! (or Appliqué! lol)
Right next door or miles apart, friends are always close at heart.