Sunday, 13 April 2014

Palm Block for Palm Sunday

This block is called Palm Leaf or Hosanna.  BlockBase 1304.5.

I used foundation paper piecing to get nice sharp points.

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Autism Awareness Day ~ The House Jack Built

2 April is World Autism Awareness Day.  I've chosen the block The House Jack Built.  Jack likes to play with Lego so I've chosen bright Lego colours for this block. 
The pattern is Barbara Brackman 2778 and was published in a Ladies Art Company magazine in the late 1890s.

Friday, 21 March 2014

Autumn Leaf - First Day of Autumn

In the Southern Hemisphere the 21st of March is the Autumn Equinox. In Australia we are looking forward to cooler weather and rain.

Autumn Leaf

The pattern Autumn Leaf is in Ruth Finley's book "Old Patchwork Quilts and the Women who Made Them."  The pattern is #2224 in BlockBase.

In the Northern Hemisphere the 21st of March is the Spring Equinox.  Which block? Why, Young Man's Fancy, of course.  Mine is fifteen inches square, each little section finishes at 3 inches.

In the spring a young man's fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love.  Alfred Tennyson

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

St. Joseph's Day - 19th March

On my first (and only) visit to Europe I stayed in Switzerland.   I was visiting in a Catholic canton and discovered that many public holidays are based on saint days.
The 19th of March is Seppitag - St. Joseph's Day.  It falls during the season of Lent so it's not the most exciting day.

Joseph's Coat

The block is Joseph's Coat BlockBase 2734.  The block probably refers to the Old Testament Joseph and his coat of many colours, but I used carpenter tools for the New Testament Joseph.

Monday, 17 March 2014

Single Irish Chain - St. Patrick's Day

17th March is St. Patrick's Day, the patron saint of Ireland.  Patrick lived in the 5th century and was a Roman citizen living in Britain.  March 17th is the anniversary of his death.  More from Wikipedia:
When he was about 16, he was captured from his home in Great Britain and taken as a slave to Ireland, where he lived for six years before escaping and returning to his family. After becoming a cleric, he returned to northern and western Ireland. In later life, he served as an ordained bishop, but little is known about the places where he worked. By the seventh century, he had already come to be revered as the patron saint of Ireland.

Single Irish Chain

It's not hard to choose a block for today - Single Irish Chain, BlockBase 2023. This block is set with alternate plain blocks.

Thursday, 13 March 2014

Geometry Block for Pi Day

14 March is Pi Day.  Pi is the mathematical constant used to find, for example, the diameter of a circle.  Pi is 3.14 and many more decimal places, so month 3 and day 14 is Pi day.  It's also Albert Einstein's birthday.  

Geometry Block

This block is called Geometry and it's found in 120 Patterns for Traditional Patchwork Quilts by Maggie Malone.  It's not listed in Barbara Brackman's BlockBase or EQ7.  The book suggests it is a good block for a scrap quilt.  When making the block divide it along the diagonals and make four big triangular sections.  Mine is finished 8 inches square.

Sunday, 2 March 2014

Grandma's Hopscotch

In France the first Sunday in March is Fête des grands-mères, Grandmothers' Day.  To celebrate I made this block, Grandma's Hopscotch.

Grandma's Hopscotch

I chose the fabrics during a bout of insomnia; Grandma's Hopscotch is a fair description of my brain when I can't sleep.  The pattern is from Maggie Malone's 120 Patterns for Traditional Patchwork Quilts.  According to Malone this pattern was in the Kansas City Star in the late 1920s or early 1930s.

Hopscotch game in Boston, Massachusetts

Sunday, 16 February 2014

Work in Progress

My blocks are coming along.  I am not making them strictly in order, it depends on my fabric stash.

 I have just purchased some red polka dots, now I need some blue and white checks.

Penny from New South Wales (Australia) has been sewing along, she may finish before I do <G>.  Penny has made each of the house blocks slightly differently, like the original  quilt.

Here are two more of the easy blocks.

The blocks are the same but the proportions are different.  The top one is a nine patch; the second one is based on a five by five grid.  They share the names Churn Dash and Double Monkey Wrench but there are dozens of other names.

 The 9 patch is Barbara Brackman's No.1646A; it has also been published as Broken Plate, Fisherman's Reel, Indian Hammer, Puss-in-the-Corner, Shoo Fly, Sherman's March, Lincoln's Platform, and Old Mill Design. 

The five by five is No. 1850; other names are Double Wrench, Aeroplane, Alaska Homestead, Bear Paw Design, Bride's Knot, Dragon's Head, Hens and Chickens, Hole in the Barn Door, Honey Dish, Maltese Cross, Pioneer Patch and T Quartet.

Friday, 24 January 2014

A Bevy of Baskets

Our patchwork group is working on basket blocks this year, one block a month.  The first is Basket of Fruit.

I starting a basket quilt in May last year.  It spent some time in a box on the shelf, as projects do, but it came out at the start of the year and it's progressing well.

I am working on a pieced sashing between the baskets.  The outer border is going to be flying geese.  I need about 120 flying geese blocks and I have 50 so far.

The Malaga quilt has a basket of flowers block.  It has been made with a yellow background instead of white and there are no duplicates in the floral prints.

Basket of flowers is a 5 x 5 block, so my 10 inch finished size was just right.  The pattern is 713 in BlockBase.

The signature on the block is Mrs. Rudberg.  Edna Rudberg was 50 in 1937, a farmer's wife with two children.  Her life was looking very ordinary until I found a new record.  At the age of 85 Edna married for a second time to a 91 year old widowed Russian immigrant Jewish bookbinder. Now that sounds like a story!

Saturday, 11 January 2014

The Mystery Block

The next block from the Malaga 1937 quilt is this one.

Not a lot of information.  The pink patches are the backing fabric of the quilt which you can see where the batting is thin. I've never seen fabric fade as completely as this.  

This is the block layout.  There appears to be at least two different fabrics, one is more loosely woven than the other.  The name would have been embroidered on the white fabric.

This is my first guess at how the block looked.  It doesn't look quite right to me, it's too unbalanced.  

This is my second attempt. It looks much nicer, although it doesn't allow for a signature on white.  I think I will put this block in the finished quilt.  My blocks are finished at ten inches, so the corner blocks are cut from three inch strips.  I don't have a name for this block, if you can help please leave a comment.

Minnie Key's census data demonstrates how mobile the American population was (and still is).  In 1920 Minnie and husband Frank were living with Frank's brother's family in Washington.  Minnie was born in Kansas, her father was born in England and her mother was born in Indiana.  Frank and brother Charles were born in Minnesota like their father and their mother was born in Wisconsin.  Charles's wife Enid was also born in Minnesota but her father was born in Germany.  Enid had two children, one born in North Dakota and the second in Minnesota. Two pages of the census include 21 different states as places of birth as well as Ireland, Greece, South America, Holland, Austria and Canada.

Minnie Key was about eight months pregnant with her first child when she made her quilt block; she and Frank had been married for fifteen years.  I think she was focused on things other than quilts.

Friday, 3 January 2014

Nellie Sellar's Bowtie Block

Happy New Year!  The first block for 2014 is a bowtie block.  It is number 3608 in BlockBase, but with the bowties in a ring, rather than meeting in the middle.

It was my intention to focus on the block itself but I have been swept away by Nellie Sellar's story; so you will have to make do with the story instead.

Nellie Lyall was born in Aberdeen, Scotland in 1890.  Her future husband James Sellar was also born in Scotland.  James and many members of his family emigrated to the USA in the early 1900s and settled in Chicago. In the 1910 census James, brother William and father William were working as plasterers; sisters Joan and Barbara were working as quilt makers!  In 1911 James traveled back to Scotland.  Nellie and James were married on 23 August, 1911 and sailed to New York on the SS Columbia.

Nellie Sellar seems to have traveled quite often between Chicago and Glasgow to visit her family.  Her eldest son James was born in Scotland; Helen, Elsie and George were born in Illinois.  1930s Chicago must have been a cosmopolitan place; the countries of origin on the same census page as the Sellars were Poland, Germany, Canada, Egypt, Ireland, England, Australia and Scotland.  The new question on the census form was 'does the household own a radio set?'  Every household did own one.

George was an afterthought - Nellie was 41 years old when George was born and his siblings were all at high school.  The year after baby George arrived the whole family moved West to Wenatchee, Washington.  Husband James worked as a plasterer but died early at the age of 56.  The children grew up, married, and had their own families.  George did well - he had a bridge named after him.

Senator George Sellar Bridge, Wenatchee

I almost forgot - here is my bowtie block.