Pots of Flowers

December, 2009

Pots of Flowers

Mary Eliza Sykes

Dated 1904
Probably made in Iowa
Linda and Dr. John Carlson Four Block Quilt Collection, 2004.016.0002

Mary Eliza Sykes embroidered her name onto the back of her Pots of Flowers quilt, as well as the date, 1904 (see detail images). Her large pots contain curving, scalloped leaves, flower buds, and large coxcomb blooms with reverse appliqué details.

While the quilting was done by hand, the appliqué was largely completed with a sewing machine. Many synthetic green dyes from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries were unreliable, often fading to tan or khaki. Consequently, some turn-of-the-century Colonial Revival red and green appliqué quilts, like this one, have become red and khaki.

In fact, more than a dozen quilts categorized as Colonial Revival exhibit this phenomenon.