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Durkee-Blakeslee-Quarton-Hoard Family Quilt Collection


Shoo Fly
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.


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