Saturday, 30 November 2013

Hourglass Star

There are a few duplicate blocks in this signature album quilt as you can see. 

The picture shows the top two rows of the quilt, one third of the whole top.  The last block in the first row is another basket of diamonds, like the first block.  

This block is signed by Onie Mead, an unusual name.  It is a variation of the name Anne and (believe it or not) was popular in the late 1800s in the USA. Onie was living with her husband and two sons when the quilt was made; her sister Lorena also made one of the blocks.

On to the next block.  I can't find a name for this pattern so I've called it an hourglass star.  It's a 16 patch block with a centre hourglass, four flying geese and for half triangle squares for the corners.  With my ten inch blocks each patch is 2.5 inches.

Mrs. Herr was Gussie Selina Herr.  Gussie worked occasionally in the fruit packing sheds and lived to 103.

Malaga is about 6.5 miles away from Wenatchee

Friday, 15 November 2013

Weathervane Block

This week's block is the weathervane.  It's a nine patch block.

In Blockbase it is number 1780.

The Malaga ladies had some issues with the block sizes.  Whoever put the blocks together just trimmed them to fit.

Gladys Hill was 45 years old, a farmer's wife with four children at school.  Gladys had a four year university degree.  She probably waited a while to get married, her first child was born when she was 31 years old.

On the 1940s census form her husband Leo had worked 60 hours in the previous week.  The hours worked by Gladys, occupation 'housework', was blank.  Either her hours did not count, or the hours she worked were countless.  Some things never change.

A weathervane block on a McHenry County, Illinois barn.  See

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Dresden Plate / Aster / Friendship Ring

It would be easiest if each quilt block had one and only one name - but it wouldn't be as much fun!

Nina Elliott Dresden Plate
This block can be called Dresden Plate or Friendship Ring or Aster.  Ruby McKim uses all three names in One Hundred and One Patchwork Patterns.  This Dresden Plate has 16 short petals with rounded ends; McKim's pattern has 20 petals all of different fabrics.  You could buy pre-cuts from the McKim Studios; twenty different prints, all ready cut and sufficient for 20 blocks would cost you $2 in 1927.  Or, you could have a lot of friends and exchange fabrics with them.

Aster flowers

For my pattern I used EQ7's 4 Petal Large Center Dresden Plate.  The center was too large so I reduced it and made the petals longer.  In Blockbase it is 3488a, which has 20 petals and a small centre.  Take your pick.  I machine stitched the petals together, and then hand appliqued the petals to the background and lastly the circle to cover the ends of the petals.

Nina May Elliott was 25 years old in 1937 when she made her block for the Malaga quilt.  She was a school teacher with a three year college degree.  Nina married Merton Love in 1940.  He was twenty years older than Nina and a widower with two children aged 13 and 12.  The witnesses to the wedding ceremony were Nina 's parents.  I wonder what they thought about Nina's choice of husband?

For more information about the Dresden Plate block visit Patterns from History.

Friday, 18 October 2013

Album Block

This simple block is usually called Album (Barbara Brackman 2414).  Ruby McKim says:

The album quilt is a real old-timer.  Its original purpose was for a gift for a bride-to-be.  A group of friends would get together and each would piece a block and embroider her name upon it!
Amazing!  The embroidered name here is Maude Laughlin.  Maude was aged 55 in 1937 but she had only been married for a few years.  Her husband was George Washington Laughlin, a widower, and they married sometime after 1930.

I got a lovely email from Penny:
 I was very happy to see your quilt block yesterday from the 1937 signature
quilt in Down Under and went out and bought some ink for my printer. Printed off the templates from BlockBase and had the block made by bedtime.

Well done Penny!  Any other block makers out there?

Thursday, 3 October 2013

A Basket of Diamonds

Today I received the new issue of Down Under Quilts in the letterbox.

I am very pleased to say that that my 1937 Signature Quilt made is on page 13!  How cool is that!

I posted about purchasing this quilt on my other blog.  It's a signature quilt, so that's most important to me, but I also was drawn by the mix of 1930s blocks - I love album quilts too.  And because I like making quilts even more than collecting them, I started to reproduce a copy of this one in 1930s reproduction prints.

Where to begin? Begin at the beginning, in the top left hand corner.  This block was an easy one to make.  It's No. 725 in Barbara Brackman's BlockBase, and the published names are Basket of Diamonds, Flower Basket, Flower Pot, Jersey Tulip, Rainbow Cactus, The Disk and Century Plant.  I think Basket of Diamonds will do.

The block was made by Sarah Cannon.  Sarah married Rev. Thomas Jackson Cannon in 1884 and their first homestead was in Entiat Valley, Washington.  Thomas Cannon was a peacemaker between the white settlers and the Indians.  Sarah and Thomas's daughter Dema was the first white child born in the area.  In 1937 Sarah was 72 years old and a widow.

This is my Basket.  Finding matching prints is more difficult than I anticipated but I think these have worked well.  I'm making 10 inch blocks, the original quilt has blocks between 11 and 12 inches.

Friday, 14 June 2013

Flower Basket Block

This is another block for the basket quilt.  This is Flower Basket, Block Base 704, nice and easy.

This quilt is not easy.  It has many, many flower baskets.  The photo was posted on the Facebook group Quilts - Vintage and Antique.  It's a great group, just loads of photos of quilts and plenty of knowledgeable people commenting about old quilts.  Perfect.

Friday, 17 May 2013

Fruit Basket Beginnings

On Mother's Day I was fortunate enough to visit one of my favourite spots.

Mitchell River, Bairnsdale, Victoria

 I happened to have my Mother's Day present with me (as one does).

I saw these fabrics from Blue Hill Fabrics Pomegranate range at the Australian Quilt Convention. I bought them from The Quilted Crow and had a very nice conversation as well. The bundle was a bit outside of my budget so I declared them to be my Mother's Day present.

While I was waiting for Mother's Day to come I thought about how I would use them.  I like Dear Jane and The Farmer's Wife  but I didn't want to make the same quilts as everyone else.  I though that a basket block would suit the colours.  I was going to use one pattern and make each block in a different colourway; then decided a collection of different basket blocks would be far more fun.  And seeing as Pomegranate is a fruit I chose Fruit Basket as my first block.

My finished block, hot off the press, is a little smaller than my intended 6 inch finished.  I had some difficulty dividing a six inch block into five by five pieces even with EQ7. 

Fruit Basket is a pattern in Ruby McKim's 101 Patchwork Patterns (1931).  She has suggested piecing it all in small squares and half triangles, I think that would have caused even more grief.

This fruit basket quilt was on eBay, I like the way the baskets spin around the (almost) centre.

The Mitchell River isn't the only picturesque place in Bairnsdale.  I visited the Courthouse too.  Inspiration can come from anywhere!