Cheddar: The Color, not the Cheese!

by Judy Tucker

Left: Quebec 3 year old cheddar,  Right: Cotswold Cheese (not a cheddar)
Front Center: Irish Vintage Cheddar

The quilts in the Pilgrim Roy Collection at Boston's Museum of Fine Arts have me thinking about color again.  The first 2 quilts as you enter the "Quilts and Color" exhibit are a red, green and orange Carpenter's wheel on the left a red, green and cheddar Ocean Waves on the right.  Here is the quilt on the right with the cheddar orange.  

Ocean Waves, Mennonite. PA 1880s.
On exhibit at the MFA, Boston
in the "Quilts and Color" exhibit

Cheddar was a popular color in the early 1800s before aniline dyes became available.  One of the articles I read about the color said that at the time, it was considered a "neutral" color.  Wow.  Some neutral!!   The dye was made from Lead Antimony powder so the dyeing could be done at home.  However, both the lead and antimony are heavy metal which are poisonous.  So the process of dyeing fabrics cheddar color was potentially dangerous, something I'm not sure they appreciated much at the time.

Cheddar yellow seems to have made a come back in the past several years. Bonnie Hunter has a Bow Tie Pattern  which has a Cheddar yellow background and the fabric companies are making yellow orange solids which they have named "Cheddar".  Both Moda and Kona have a version.   Kona's cheddar is a much softer color, and it's the one I prefer.  Neither of them is really the color of cheddar cheese, though my brother did hunt down a cheese from Wisconsin that is a much deeper color than anything I found at my local cheese shop here in Boston!  (Sometimes it takes a team effort to make an interesting blog post…Thanks, Bill)!



Wisconsin Cheddar found in Michigan Cheese Shop

I decided to make a couple blocks with the colors used in the two quilts in the show at the MFA. One block has orange as bad the background and one has the Cheddar Moda Bella Cotton.  (I have a couple yards of the Kona Cheddar so I'm saving that for a larger project).
And I also made a block with a grey print since grey is frequently used as a background color quilts being made now.

The pattern is a variation of Mill Wheel which I found in the book, 500 Quilt Blocks, by Lynne Goldsworthy and Carrie Green.

Cheddar background

Orange Background

Modern Grey Print background

I got a good chuckle when I was sewing the block with the cheddar background.  Something about it was just so familiar.  Then I realized the yellow orange and green were the colors of the Crayola Crayon boxes of my childhood.  Color bringing back memories!

Vote on in the poll (see top of side bar on the right) and let me know which of these three backgrounds is your favorite!  I let you which was the most popular color combination next Monday! 

UPDATE: Sorry folks.  Blogger Polling crashed last week.  Google is working on a fix, but at the moment, the poll feature it isn't working.  Thanks if you voted.  We can try again in an up-coming post.