If you’ve read the newest (April) issue of TQL, you know about the old quilt I bought at the antiques mall. Barbara Brackman’s Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns showed a pattern sort of, but not quite, like the block in my quilt, and called it Crossroads. That still seemed like only one piece of information. There had to be more to the story.
Recently I had a chance to observe Cindy Brick while she was appraising some antique quilts. Cindy’s a quilt historian and an author, and she’s also a very generous friend who lets me pick her brain. I told her about the old quilt, and she said, “Let’s check the Kansas City Star pattern index.” Sure enough, there it was–three times, in two different sizes, with a different name each time. The pattern first appeared in 1931 as a 15″ block called Crossroads. In 1941 it was a 12″ block called Wagon Wheels, and it was back again at 15″ in 1952. This time it was called Broken Circle.
Cindy explained that quilt editors and publishers recycled patterns by giving them different names and sometimes changing the block size. But my quilt was still different. It has 16″ blocks. Without missing a beat, Cindy replied, “Very few quilters actually bought the patterns from the newspaper. In fact, a quilter was more likely to look at the picture and draft her own pattern, and make the block whatever size she needed.”
I hope you find this quilt as intriguing as I do! And if you decide to make your own version of Return to Crossroads, I’d love to see it!…Jan Magee, The Quilt Life