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Clues in the Calico: A Guide to Identifying and Dating Antique Quilts. Thus, this dye can help to both identify both the date and location in which a quilt was made. Chrome orange, or antimony, was commonly used in appliqué, especially in Pennsylvania, from about 1860 to 1880. Like, antimony or chrome orange, chrome greens and yellows were popular in the period from about 1860 to 1880 and were produced, often in the home, from highly toxic chemical dye powders. Rich chocolate brown (think the color of a milk chocolate bar, hence the alternate name ‘Hershey’ brown) was often paired with white in quilts.Today, indigo blue dyes very similar to those made in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries are still common in African quiltmaking and are sometimes used in contemporary American art quilts.Lancaster blue, sometimes called Pennsylvania blue after Pennsylvania’s Lancaster County, are a ‘double blue’ similar to double pinks in that they are composed of a fine light blue print on a slightly darker blue ground.Nile green, usually indicative of quilts dating to the 1930s or ‘40s, is a medium to light green with a yellow undertone.Nile green was often used in appliqué on quilts with a white or cream background.
All text for the Quilt-Specific Colors written by Amanda Sikarskie. If the 1870s and 1880s were “the brown years,” the 1920s could be called the pink years.
Throughout much of the rest of the nineteenth century indigo blue was often seen as the background in prints, sometimes with the overlaying print in chrome yellow or orange.
Indigo continued to be common in cotton fabrics through the Edwardian period.
Bubblegum pinks were used in solids as well as prints.
Bubblegum pinks, however, are easily distinguished from the others by their cool undertone and general resemblance to chewing gum.