Monday, June 10, 2013

Why is a Baptist Fan Called a Baptist Fan?!?

I like to think of myself as a wannabe history buff sometimes.  Other times a wannabe etymologist.  So I want to know where this term came from.    I spent some time this evening researching, but no luck.  I could easily lose hours upon hours searching for something on the Internet. 

I quilted this cute little Thimbleberries top for Joanie, and used an old-fashioned Baptist Fan quilting pattern, (which has recently made a resurgence among "modern" quilters).  It's a great edge to edge treatment that works great on many quilt tops.

Baptist fan...  As in an actual fan used in a Baptist church?  Where the heck did this name come from?  Do you know?  Please share with us here if you do know! 


What Comes Next? said...

no idea, but it is a great quilting design!

Shelley: the Dread Pirate Rodgers said...

I did a Google search for Baptist Fan history and came across a blog entry, Minick and Simpson Blog, dated June 28, 2009. (URL is )

In that blog, concerning the name of Baptist Fan, they write, "This quilting design is kind of a free form fan design. The fan design is most commonly known as "Baptist Fan" or "Methodist Fan" because it is a very common utilitarian quilting design that was often used for quilting bees in the basement of churches - hence the name. These utilitarian quilts from the last half of the 19th century and early 20th century were quickly quilted by the church ladies for fund raisers. Those sweeping fans, you see, are easy to quilt when you are sitting around a quilt frame. They follow the natural movement of your arm. Each person did the section in front of them, then the quilt was rolled and a new section appeared before you to be quilted. This design is seen over and over again in antique quilts. "

I have no idea if this is actually true, but it does sound plausible.

I've also seen this quilting pattern called a "Bishops Fan".

Unknown said...

Great blog...
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