Four Eagles on Cheddar
84 1/4" x 84 1/4"
MSU Museum Accession 2001:158.3
Photo by Fumio Ichikawa, all rights reserved by the MSU
Among donor Kitty Clark Cole's special collecting interests are quilts
with "Cheddar" fabrics and those with patriotic motifs. This
quilt combines both those elements. The bright, golden-colored fabric
known as "Cheddar" (because of its similarity to the color of
Cheddar cheese and sometimes known as chrome orange or antimony) was a
color choice popular among quilters of the last quarter of the nineteenth
Many members of Kitty's family have served in the military and Kitty
feels that collecting quilts with patriotic motifs is a reflection of
her heritage. Her collection of patriotic quilts includes designs of stars,
stripes, ones honoring veterans or commemorating wars, and several featuring
a four-block, eagle design.
"Four-Block Eagle" quilts usually range in date from ca. 1875
until the 1930s and have been made throughout the United States, but they
seem to have been especially popular in Pennsylvania. Some textile historians
think this was prompted by the 1876 Centennial Exposition, held in Philadelphia
on the one hundredth anniversary of the Declaration of Independence. That
event spurred many needleworkers to create items with patriotic themes.
By Mary Worrall, excerpted from American
Quilts from Michigan State University Museum.