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Whaley, Hilda J.
Yo-yo or Suffolk Puffs
early 20th century

These four quilts were made or collected in eastern Ontario. The highlight of this selection is the Log Cabin (Pineapple Variation) quilt. The Log Cabin is arguably a distinctive North American pattern. In 1882, The Dictionary of Needlework even defined it as “Canadian” patchwork. In this quilt’s construction, strips of fabric, or “logs,” overlap one another to form a square block, or “cabin.” The centre square of each block is usually (but not always) red, symbolizing the warmth of the central hearth. Popular since the last quarter of the 19th century, Log Cabin quilts have many variations-such as Barn Raising, Straight Furrow and Sunshine and Shadow-depending on how the light and dark strips of fabric are pieced within one block, and how the blocks are arranged within the entire quilt. The Pineapple variation has the most complex block construction, requiring extra folding and strips of varying lengths. Rail Fence has a similar construction to Log Cabins. Each block is made of five strips and pieced perpendicular to the adjacent square, producing an overall zigzag pattern like traditional rail fences. In this quilt, pink strips predominate, creating an overall stunning effect. The Suffolk Puffs or Yo-yo quilt incorporates lighter, brighter fabrics, suggesting the first half of the twentieth-century, when this type of coverlet was popular. The puffs are not quilted per se, but rather basted together, making this an accessible pattern for many sewers.

 
Whaley, Hilda J.
Yo-yo or Suffolk Puffs
early 20th century
cotton
166.5 x 180.5 cm
Gift of Paul Fritz Arts '61, 2013
Q13-002.01

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