November 23, 2015

Eye-Popping Pickle Dish Quilt

A customer sent me photos of this lovely, lovely Pickle Dish quilt, curious about how to deal with the differential fading of the navy fabric.

My recommendation to her is to appreciate that this is a really spectacular quilt, and love it as is.  There's not much point in patching over the faded fabrics.  New fabrics won't match any better, and will probably actually look worse, since the original fabrics were dyed with a totally different dye chemistry and have aged for well over 100 years.  Besides, patching would cover up the absolutely gorgeous original stitchery.

I have heard a fun way of saying this, which is - Don't we still love our Grannies even though they have wrinkles and age spots?  It's the same kind of thing!

This quilter knew her stuff, for sure.  Pickle Dish is not a common pattern.  It is something best tackled by a very experienced quilter.  Every piece fits perfectly.  All those tiny triangles have their sharp little tips, none cut-off by seams that didn't quite fit.

And the quilting!  Dense and oh-so tiny!

And here, in the white areas, a wonderful circles filler pattern.  It adds so much to the quilt, with its pieced interlocking circles.

Looking at the back of the quilt highlights just how spectacular the quilting is.

Looking at the quilt from this angle gives it a great optical effect.

This is a family quilt, made in Tennessee.  The maker's name was Ollie Mae.  Ollie Mae lived in Rockwood, TN between 1890 and the 1960s.  She was the owner's great-grandmother's companion.  She likely was a member of her great-grandfather's church where he was the preacher.  Congratulations, Ollie Mae, on your mistresspiece quilt!

A big thank you to the current owner for letting me share her stunning quilt and for taking more photos for this post.


  1. That is a stunning quilt! I agree, I would leave it as is: the story that explains the quilt top adds to its lustre! Hats off to Ollie Mae.

    1. Hats off, indeed! It's a winner of a quilt, for sure.

  2. How could I get a paper peicing pattern for this

    1. Sorry, I don't have any info for you on that. I'd say Google it and see what comes up. As tricky as this block is, I bet someone has made a paper piecing pattern!