Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Bluework 1927 Ruby Short McKim Colonial History Quilt

Inked Betsy Ross below the flag embroidery
This blue work quilt is one of the items I bought on a recent antique shopping adventure.

See update below - identified as a Ruby Short McKim quilt!

Each block is 7.5" with an outer 7" border.

The embroidered blocks each have an inked description.

The lower right 'final block' is dated 1927.

The quilt is bound in applied cream fabric that matches the backing.
The blocks in the first column have a roman numeral inked with the description as if following chapters, maybe a history book?  Or 4 quarters of a school year?
Was this a classroom aid?
The 24 inked block descriptions include:
(Alphabetical, not the order they were placed in the quilt)
   Betsy Ross
   Cabot The First English
   Captain John Smith
   Champlain The French Explorer
   Colonial Justice
   George Rogers Clark
   George Washington at Valley Forge
   Henry Hudson
   Indian Home Life
   The Santa Maria
   Lord Baltimore
   Narragansett Challenge
   New World Mission
   Penns Treaty
   Peter Stuyvesant
   Primitive Indians
   Sir Walter Raleigh
   The Meeting House
   The Minute Men
   The Norseman
   The Puritans
   The Standard of England
The Standard of England block
III. Indian Home Life block

The quilting in the alternate blocks and borders is beautiful.    Cream thread on the blue fabric throughout the quilt.

The embroidered blocks have single line diagonal quilting.

the real color is more blue than this photo illustrates

The borders are quilted in cables.

The quilt is in excellent condition.
No hanging sleeve or signs it was hung.

Let me know if you would like to see any of the other blocks up close and I will send you pictures.

Have you used a quilt in a non-quilt classroom?
Have you done any blue work?

Have a great week!
UPDATE:  Thanks to a reader the pattern has been identified!
The patterns have been reprinted HERE   Item #QS208
Ruby Short McKim:
"The Sunday Plain Dealer has arranged to give its readers a service that will make special appeal to the boys and girls as well as to their mothers and grandmothers, and we’re pretty sure that father and the baby too, will like the finished result.

"This is the Colonial History Quilt, designed especially for a boy’s bed, but girls who love stories of heroes may make it for themselves. If grandmother decides to make it for that lad, it will become an heirloom, a thing of joy and beauty to be used and treasured for years."

Color Note:

In the United States, there was no established rule in the 19th century. A 1927 survey of ten department stores reported that pink was preferred for boys in six of them and for girls in four.  (Jo B. Paoletti, Pink and Blue: Telling the Girls From the Boys in America (Indiana University Press, 2012), 87

Read more about Ruby HERE
See more like it HERE and HERE
Also The Quilter's Hall of Fame HERE


  1. From a reader:
    I saw your quilt on your post. I think your quilt is a Ruby Short McKim quilt. Her grand daughter is redoing her patterns. I think yours might be the Colonial History quilt. Her patterns are very distinctive, I have been a fan for years. Google Ruby Short Mckim, go to the Revival link and from there go to treasures and then series quilt and I think you will find it there. What a find! Congratulations!

  2. What a terrific find, Dawn. The blue work is great for boys, I guess, unless there were girls who might be interested in history too! What an interesting gender slant.

  3. Wonderful, wonderful wonderful!!! I clicked on every link and soaked up all the interesting details!! How awesome that you found this quilt!! It is amazing!!!! What a find!!!

    Thanks for sharing!!!


  4. Ok, how cool is that!!! Wow! That is one special find for sure! Congratulations!

  5. Oh, did your heart rate pick up speed when you found this one? What a jewel!

  6. what a beauty and a great piece of history!!
    Love it


Thanks for your comments!