Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Clamshell/Pickle Dish Pattern

If you follow Barbara Brackman's blog (and you really should if you love quilt history), you will have seen the photo of what I now call the Pickle Dish Clamshell pattern that I shared with her.

I saw this quilt on eBay about 2001 or 2003. I had never seen one before or since although I had seen some variations that sort of made me think of it.  When I saw Barb's first post about the Pickle Dish pattern, I went looking for this photo. I finally found a paper copy of it and scanned it but could not find the digital photo in my computer.

When I shared it with Barb, she told me that she planned to do a follow up post about this little known pattern and ask if she might include it. But of course!

The great thing about Barb's posts is they're worth re-reading again and again. They're humorous at times; they are always informative and she uses great graphics!

Today I discovered the first REAL pickle dish that actually reminded me of the pattern.  Below it I have enlarged the section of the quilt as though you were looking down on top of a red-edged pickle dish. To me, this shape looks more like a clamshell, so I call the above pattern the Pickle Dish Clamshell

The above blue Pickle Dish is quite rare. Click here to go to the website where I found it. It was made by American China Manufactory (Bonnin and Morris), Philadelphia, 1771-72. Soft-paste porcelain with lead glaze; height 4 3/16, width 4 ½.

According to the blurb accompanying the photo, the American China Manufactory, founded by Gousse Bonnin and George Morris, was the first manufacturer to produce soft-paste porcelain in America. Only nineteen pieces from the firm survive today, making their work extremely valuable and rare.

But even before I found the blue dish, I found the little swatch of fabric (below) drom the early 1800s in my photo files that also brought this pattern to mind. I had to enlarge it so much it turned fuzzy but you get the idea.

Here is the link to my post about the more traditional Pickle Dish pattern.

Hmmm, pickles. A great topic this time of year for I love pickles with left-over turkey! Here is a very funny story about a dill pickle addict and turkey. And don't forgot those yummy turkey sandwiches!

Come to think of it, doesn't the "fan" shape of this pattern rather remind you of a Tom Turkey in full glory? You just need to add his head and another row or two of spiky colors! Found this one on Etsy.

Count your blessings and have a GREAT Thanksgiving!

UPDATE Decemember 22, 2010

I just found another fabric in a quilt at Copake Auctions that has a pickle-dish like pattern to it.

Above is the photo I showed you earlier in the post.

Below is the fabric in context within the quilt.


  1. Fabulous post, Karen. I learned a lot!

  2. Very informative post. The quilt design is unusual. Of course, I like the red & white combination that was used.