American Quilters' Society, America's Printed Fabrics Clues in the Calico: Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns. Please do not modify this section of the page. Bubblegum pinks, however, are easily distinguished from the others by their cool undertone and general resemblance to chewing gum.
Bubblegum pinks were used in solids as well as prints. Butterscotch Butterscotch fabrics often date to the middle of the nineteenth century and were frequently used as a background for a pieced pattern. Butterscotch prints are often small, with the motifs closely packed together. Cadet Blue Cadet blue is a light blue that was first used around and was most popular in the period from about to It is often paired with white in prints. Thus, this dye can help to both identify both the date and location in which a quilt was made.
This dye was often made in the home from store-bought powder, however, the high lead content of the dye made it in retrospect a dangerous substance with which to work.
Chrome Green and Yellow Like, antimony or chrome orange, chrome greens and yellows were popular in the period from about to and were produced, often in the home, from highly toxic chemical dye powders. Chrome yellows are brighter than butterscotch, another popular yellow from the same period.
Claret or Wine Claret was a popular color in cotton fabrics from about to , and was often paired with white in prints. Both of these hues have warmer undertone than bubblegum pink, which emerged as a quilt fabric, often as a solid rather than a print, in the twentieth century. At the height of their popularity in the mid-nineteenth century, double pinks were often paired with madder or chocolate browns in quilts. Indigo Blue Indigo dye has a long history in the United States, and was used in quiltmaking from the eighteenth century onward.
In the period before , indigo blue dye was very dark, often appearing black or violet, especially in digital images. Wool and flax were often dyed with this early indigo blue and used as a solid in wholecloth quilts and calamanco. Throughout much of the rest of the nineteenth century indigo blue was often seen as the background in prints, sometimes with the overlaying print in chrome yellow or orange.
Indigo continued to be common in cotton fabrics through the Edwardian period. Today, indigo blue dyes very similar to those made in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries are still common in African quiltmaking and are sometimes used in contemporary American art quilts.
They were popular in quiltmaking in the same period as the double pinks, roughly to Madder Brown Madder dyes come from the roots of the madder plant, also known as rubia, and along with walnut shells, clay, and certain woods, were used to dye quilt fabrics brown from the eighteenth century onward.
Madder browns often appeared in prints with browns of various hues. Madder Red or Cinnamon Red and Madder Orange Madder red, also known as cinnamon red, was a bright red dye made from the roots of the madder, or rubia, plant, and was especially popular in the late nineteenth century.
It is differentiated from another red dye made from madder, Turkey red, because of its dyeing process. Water was used to make madder red dye, while oil was used to make Turkey red. Madder orange, related to madder red, could be produced by varying the intensity of the dye.
Manganese Bronze Manganese dyes were responsible for a deep, rich brown and was often used in floral patterns. Manganese dyes have been used in quilts since prior to , however, they were often fugitive. Manganese dyes are often responsible for serious damage to the cloth and other adjacent dyes. Greens were very popular in these decades, and Nile green often appears in quilts with other greens, such as mint, dark green and sage.
Prussian Blue or Lafayette Blue Prussian blue was very popular in America in the s, and was first used in the United States in the early s. Prussian blue was commonly used in ombre prints, prints which featured a gradation from light to dark.
Turkey Red Turkey Red named for the country, not the poultry is a highly colorfast dye made from the roots of the madder plant, also known as rubia, and was used in quilt fabrics throughout the nineteenth century. Turkey red was highly prized and is differentiated from madder red, a similar color made from the same plant, by its superior dye-making process. Colorfast Turkey red dye was made with oil, while more fugitive madder reds were made with water.
In the mid-nineteenth century, Turkey red often appears in prints which also contain chrome yellow or indigo blue. Around the turn of the last century and through the s, Turkey red thread was used in redwork, red embroidery on a white or cream-colored ground.