Mary Elizabeth Beardslee Durkee
Birmingham, Oakland County, Michigan
74" x 85"
Cotton with cotton filling
MSU Museum Accession 1999:12.1
Photo by Pearl Yee Wong, all rights reserved Michigan
State University Museum
The "Shoo Fly" block found in this quilt is also known
as "Churn Dash," "Monkey Wrench," and "Hole
in the Barn Door." In Mary Durkee's quilt, there are thirty
pieced blocks set on point (on the diagonal) alternately with blocks
of unpieced squares. The fabric used for the alternate blocks and
the border is often identified as a butterscotch print or "California
gold." This print style features lines of a chrome yellow tone
printed on a white background. The small scale of the print gives
the illusion of a solid. Many of the blocks use shirtings as background
fabrics. Shirtings are small geometric, conversational, or striped
designs printed on a white or off-white background and were very
popular from 1880-1910. Also found in the blocks are checks, stripes,
plaids, madders, and chocolate brown prints.
By Mary Worrall, excerpted from American
Quilts from Michigan State University.