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.