Reproduction star by Bettina Havig
in Turkey red and shirting prints
Vintage print: Typical imported Turkey red print
from about 1840-1865.
We'll begin this Time Warp QuiltAlong with stars of Turkey reds. Turkey red is one of the most recognizable cottons in 19th-century quilts. We see it often, either as a solid color or print.
Vintage Turkey red print star.
Note how many different red prints she combined
to make the star.
Turkey red repros by Becky Brown, above and below.
Reproduction print from Moda's Collection for a Cause:
Vintage print from 1840-1860
The background for Turkey red prints was always red. The sophisticated printer could discharge (bleach out) white and add yellow, blue, green and dark brownish-black figures.
the vegetable dye for madder colors
The dyestuff is madder root, which rather easily produces a brownish-red. Vivid reds were hard to obtain in cotton.
The vintage windowpane check is madder red, a brownish, orangey-red.
Turkey red gets its name from the old Turkish or Ottoman Empire where dyers used processes they'd learned from India to obtain a bright cherry red in cotton. Turkey red came to Western Europe in the 18th century after French and British dyers sent spies east to learn the process.
Turkey red plain in a 19th-century block.
Look for a blueish-red rather than an
Early European efforts focused on plain reds obtained by dyeing the cotton in the yarn, then weaving it into solids.
Vintage two-color Turkey red print
The simplest Turkey red prints were discharged white figures. In 1810 Daniel Koechlin-Schouch of Mulhouse in Alsace, France, developed techniques to add yellow figures in the discharge process.
Most of the Turkey red prints we see in mid-19th-century
American quilts have some yellow figures, as in these blocks. Adding the
yellow often gave an orange cast to the red.
but the process apparently was not done in the United States until after the Civil War.
The vintage multi-colored Turkey red print is a good clue
to a date of about 1840-1865.
European dyers offered a variety of backgrounds for these multi-colored prints but American quilters
were crazy about the red-ground prints, which became quite the fashion here about 1840.
When looking for Turkey red prints to reproduce a pre-1865 look
keep an eye out for bluish-red backgrounds and
figures in yellow, green, blue, white and dark brownish black.
Reproduction print from AlaCarte by American Jane.
Sandi Klop designs many American Jane
prints in French Provincial style for Moda. She often
has two or three good Turkey red reproductions in a line---
the right reds with multi-colored figures.
They still print Turkey-red-style prints in France.
Pierre Deux is known for their provincial-style
lots of which are figures set in a regular diagonal
grid, a foulard design. Because they use modern dyes
the figures are a bit brighter than the 19th-century prints
but the style is good.
Cornucopia from Simply Baltimore by Sue Garman
Sue Garman specializes in red and green quilts.
The red reproductions in her stash always work well.
See her blog here:
Cactus Rose Reproduction Quilt
Pieced, Appliqued by Pam Mayfield and Jean Stanclift,
hand quilted by Ann Thomas. Designed by Barbara Brackman.
For this reproduction quilt we used several red prints sold for clothing rather than quilts. The pattern begins on page 66 of America's Printed Fabrics.
Stars and Squares from Annette Plog's PetiteQuilts on Etsy
I found this repro block at the Trkingmomoe blog.
She has captured that very scrappy look.
Lori's reproduction of the Beyond the Cherry Trees
applique quilt uses a red paisley I did for Moda a few years ago.
Vintage star from an 1836 cradle quilt in
the collection of Historic New England.
(Scroll down to see the whole quilt.)
My interpretation of that star. I cut up a French
Provincial dinner napkin.
Moda includes two good Turkey red plain reproductions in the Bella Solids
collection. The lighter shade is Christmas Red (9900-16) and
the darker Country Red (9900-17)
Setting idea for your stack of star blocks:
Set them side-by-side as in the 1836 crib
quilt from Historic New England.
(Sixty-three 6" stars)
Several years ago Terry Thompson and I interpreted that quilt with
an abolitionist poem in the center star
See closeups of the original here:
One More Thing about Turkey Red
Turkey red is colorfast. It doesn't bleed onto other fabrics
or fade with light. But damage is common. One of the biggest problems with
antique prints is the way the dark brown figures
start to rot from the iron in the brown dye process.
Sometimes the brown completely disappears
leaving holes with the batting peeking through. Mills use
different dyes today so don't worry about your reproduction browns tendering
(textile jargon for rotting.)
You can see here how the brown is printed atop
the Turkey red and the yellow is bleached out or
That tendering won't happen with today's Turkey red
repros---we use completely different dye processes today.
Turkey red stripe as the star's background in a vintage quilt
I'm going to try to capture the look of old star blocks (mostly by trial and error.)
I need a pinker pink here and a stripe rather than a plaid.
Read more about Turkey red in America's Printed Fabrics, pages 62-67.
And in these blog posts:
And in these blog posts: