Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Designs Still Worth Doing: Jolly Circus and Nursery Rhyme Quilt

In September of 1921, McKim's quilt design for the Jolly Circus Quilt was published in Woman's World magazine.  This was a coup for the designer.  Woman's World magazine was one of the most popular women's magazine at that time.  
Apologies--the magazine is tall and I couldn't get the full image to scan.  Here's another look at the quilt:

What I like about this quilt:  The images are joyful and I love the design of the quilt with the two horizontal stripes flanking the top and the bottom.  It's a different look and appealing!

Is this a design still worth doing?  Well I loved the pattern and even bought fabric to make this one:

But the problem is that none of the younger generation was interested in having a Jolly Circus Quilt.  The truth is that circuses have not been popular for some time (and evidenced by the closing of Barnum and Bailey in 2017).  

But as an historian, I know very well how popular the circus used to be.  In the first half of the twentieth century, it was a big deal when the circus came to town.  Even the arrival of the circus by train was an event.  Animals and performers would parade and perform en route to the venue (a clever marketing ploy) and if a child was too poor to attend...well schools closed that day so all the children could see the antics and magic of the circus.

So I have to ask...would you make a Jolly Circus Quilt for a child in your family?  How well would it be received?

In 1922, another series quilt designed by Ruby was published throughout many newspapers.  This one featured Nursery Rhymes:

Things were about to change more for Ruby and we'll talk about that next week!

Have a safe and happy day!


1 comment:

  1. I think I would not make this for a child...too dated and as you say circuses have lost their charm. Maybe a few blocks but I would work it up in fabric in EQ8 before attempting!