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Understanding Quilt-Specific Colors: Turkey Red

Turkey Red
Turkey Red (named for the country, not the poultry) is a highly colorfast dye made from the roots of the madder plant, also known as rubia, and was used in quilt fabrics throughout the nineteenth century.  Turkey red was highly prized and is differentiated from madder red, a similar color made from the same plant, by its superior dye-making process.  Colorfast Turkey red dye was made with oil, while more fugitive madder reds were made with water.   In the mid-nineteenth century, Turkey red often appears in prints which also contain chrome yellow or indigo blue.  Around the turn of the last century and through the 1920s, Turkey red thread was used in redwork, red embroidery on a white or cream-colored ground.
  • Drunkard’s Path
  • Drunkard’s Path
  • Four Block Vase of Flowers
  • Ohio Star
  • Courthouse Steps
  • President’s Wreath
  • Elizabeth Metz’s Floral Top
  • Mikado Quilt
  • Blue Stars Quilt Top
  • Pan American Redwork

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