Often I am asked "how do you know how old a quilt is?" How often I wished the answer was as easy as putting the serial number into the search line of a data base and "bing" you know when the quilt was made (sort of like looking up your featherweight sewing machine...)
Usually there are lots of things to consider however yesterday I got a quilt top in the mail that made me think of Indiana Jones and his comment (I paraphrase) "archeology is a science...there is no hidden treasure, there are no maps and x never marks the spot." Well, in this quilt top I may not have found treasure but it is sort of a map and there is an X to help date it.
The map...well the pattern is one of my favorites "Trip around the world" which was published in the early 1930's. I don't know much about the quilt's past other than it came to me from Southern Georgia. I do know whoever put the quilt together had a great sense of color and pattern. The quilter put stripes, checks, solids, and florals ranging from maroon to pink with bits of black, green and yellow.
The "X" however was this fabric. First I noticed "hi-de-ho" printed on the blue fabrics with lots of musical instruments. That rang a bell! The squares are only 2-inches finished so I had to look at lots of these blue squares before I found on that gave me the full name - Cab Calloway (b. 1907-1994)!
Some of you may remember him as the great band leader and blues/jazz singer. (He was introduced to the "scat" style by Louis Armstrong.) Even if you aren't a jazz fan you probably remember the concert scene in "The Blues Brothers" (1980)...well that was Cab Calloway.
He and his music was really popular from 1930 to the late 40's. "Hi-De-Ho" was in a short film in 1934. The rest of the fabrics and the quilt style all fit with that time period as well.
So this may not be the most amazing quilt top, it has some holes, some wear, and a few frayed edges but it is certainly a piece of American Pop Culture and it certainly will make me smile and "jump and jive" a bit whenever I think of it! Thanks to San at Gypsy quilts and her friend for sending this quilt-top my way!