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.

UPDATE: MARCH 2015 as seen on eBay:

The seller wrote: "I suppose to some this would be considered a 'Cutter'. To me, it's Quilt History. Yes, there are stains and a worn binding, worn fabric and even a hole or two. But this Hand Made Quilt is over 100 years old and deserves to be cherished by someone. I can tell it is 19th Century because of the Muslin backing. Who ever quilted this piece made sure all the points remained points and corners touched and didn't overlap. Old time workmanship. 70 by 80."


  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.

  3. Karen.
    Hello! Small world, we live in. I had been researching, for hours, an unusual pattern, of a quilt I was "Watching", on Ebay. I was able to find one online, similar, at best, so I decided to buy the quilt. I figured that it must be neat, "cutter" or not. Well, I then came accross Barbara Brackman's blog and it, in turn, led me here. The quilt that I just bought, yesterday? You guessed it. The one, of which, you just posted a photo, ironically, I had messaged Barbara, already and I will try to send, you both, a photo of the whole quilt, as soon as I receive it. I know it is probably in poor condition, but given it's age and uniqueness, in design, I know I will love it! Thank you so much for all of this fabulous information! Holly