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Tile or Puzzle Appliqué Summer Spread
Made by an unidentified ladies’ group; bound but not backed or quilted
Paw Paw, Van Buren County, Michigan
Dated in the applique 1872
76” x 88”
MSUM 1998:76.1
Photo by Mary Whalen, all rights reserved Michigan State University Museum

A note, dated 1929, which accompanied this piece as it was handed down within the family indicated that the Tile summer spread was made by a group of ladies who were ‘old timers’ and who all belonged to the same church in the village of Paw Paw. Each made a block “in whatever form or design they chose.” The blocks were then combined and the finished quilt was given to the writer’s mother. “She was very choice of it and never used it but always sent it to convalescents to amuse them. I was a little girl… and remember so well the many times she sent that quilt here and there.”

“Tile” quilts, sometimes also called “Puzzle” quilts, are made of randomly-shaped pieces appliquéd individually on to a square block of white foundation fabric. To make the “tile” effect, a space is left between each piece as it is appliquéd on to the background. The patches on this quilt are often simply random shapes, but one particularly creative seamstress included a coffeepot, an ox yoke, an anchor, a boot, a rifle, a fish, a patriotic shield, a heart-in-hand, and a knife, fork, and spoon. One block contains the numerals 1872 and the letters PAW followed by a hand – the second “Paw.”


Another Paw Paw Tile Mosaic quilt is in the MSU Museums' collection.

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