Sunday, 22 November 2015

Hunter's Star - November 22

The Zodiac star sign Sagittarius  runs from November 22nd to December 21st.  Sagittarius is the archer or the hunter, so Hunter's Star belongs here.

You can find a pattern for the Hunter's Star at Jinny Beyer's free patterns.

Thursday, 5 November 2015

5th November - Guy Fawkes

November 5 is Guy Fawkes Day, Guy Fawkes Night or Bonfire Night.  In 1605 Guy Fawkes and others attempted to blow up the House of Lords in London.  The Gunpowder Plot failed but the day lives on with bonfires and fireworks.

Firecrackers and Rockets

Fireworks Star

Fireworks (medium difficulty)
Fireworks (extremely challenging)

Or try a free quilt pattern Fireworks from Patchwork Square.

Sunday, 1 November 2015

1st November - All Saints' Day

In the Christian church the 1st November is All Saints' Day, a time to remember those who have already gone to heaven.  Here are a few blocks with saint's names to get you started. The BlockBase number will help you find a pattern.

St. Gregory's Cross   BB3126

Pope Gregory I, patron saint of musicians, singers, students and teachers.

St. Elmo's Cross   BBP008

St. Elmo, or Erasmus of Formia, patron saint of sailors and abdominal pain.

St. Paul   BB2493
St. Paul, writing of the Epistles in the New Testament and patron saint of missions.

Friday, 15 May 2015

May 15 - L. Frank Baum's Birthday

May 15 is the birthday of L. Frank Baum, the author of the Wizard of Oz series.  The quilt block is Emerald Block, BlockBase 1243, a Nancy Cabot block from 1936.

Lyman Frank Baum (1856 - 1919) was a prolific writer of novels, children's books, short stories and plays.  Baum was a keen fancy poultry breeder, especially Hamburgs.  He established a monthly trade journal, The Poultry Record and published his first book when he was 30 - The Book of the Hamburgs: A Brief Treatise upon the Mating, Rearing and Management of the Different Varieties of Hamburgs.

Now L. Frank Baum is remembered for his book The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. It was published in 1900 and Baum wrote a further thirteen books about Oz. When I was young our family would visit my grandparents in Philadelphia and I was able to spend hours reading the books that my mother had read when she was young.  I read about half a dozen Oz books; I found the illustrations a little frightening, especially the automatic cars that didn't need a driver, they just drove themselves.

Google "Land of Oz book illustrations" for the wonderful Art Nouveau book covers.
 For more on L. Frank Baum start with Wikipedia.

Sunday, 10 May 2015

Mother's Day - Second Sunday in May

Happy Mother's Day to you all;
to those visiting a mother, 
to those being a mother, 
to those missing a mother.

Mother's Favorite, BlockBase 2474.  From Comfort magazine, published between 1888 and 1942.

Sunday, 3 May 2015

May 4th - Star Wars Day

Star Wars Day? Yes, May the fourth be with you.

The first film of the trilogy Star Wars was relased in 1977, 38 years ago. The Empire Strikes Back was released in 1980 and The Return of the Jedi in 1983.

The second trilogy began in 1999 and the third trilogy is due at the end of this year.

Today's quilt block is Empire Star, Blockbase 3222. It was published by Hearth and Home, a company that offered mail order patterns from 1895 to the 1930s.

Monday, 27 April 2015

27th April - King's Day in the Netherlands

You can read about King's Day at this website on Amsterdam.  It's a public holiday with a street party focus.

The block is Dutchman's Puzzle in orange.

Friday, 24 April 2015

23 April - Shakespeare Day

William Shakespeare's birthday is the 23rd April.  It's also English Language day and Book and Copyright Day.

I've chosen Twist and Turn - like a Shakespeare plot. It's called Follow the Leader in Carrie Hall's Romance of the Patchwork Quilt.

Friday, 16 January 2015

Remember Me ~ An Introduction to Signature Quilts

Remember Me When This You See ~
A Short History of Signature Quilts
 An Introduction

The study of antique quilts is fascinating.  Quilts combine the spheres of artistic endeavour, social history and household utility.  There are so many ways to look at and discuss quilts and there is always one more quilt to discover.
For me, signature quilts are extra special.  I inherited my first signature quilt and since then have acquired a few more.  In this series of postings I will share my passion of these quilts and I hope you will discover why I am so enthralled by these special reminders of our ancestors.
A signature quilt is any quilt that contains blocks that have been signed.  Signatures can be written with ink, stamped with a manufactured stamp or embroidered.  Signature quilts are often called friendship quilts.  The blocks are made by a group of people for a special occasion such as a wedding, birth or farewell.

The blocks may be all the same pattern made with different fabrics.

The blocks can be different patterns.

Or the blocks can be a variety of patterns and even different sizes. 

Sometimes, there are no blocks at all, just signatures.

Quilting was not overdone, because the sentimental value was more important than the craftsmanship.
Signature quilts made an appearance in the United States in the 1840s and quickly gained in popularity.  There were a number of reasons why this happened.
As technological advances improved both printing and dying processes, printed material became cheaper and the variety of patterns increased dramatically.  Quilting and applique spread from the well-to-do ladies to the growing middle class.
The industrial revolution saw a change from a rural society based on agriculture to an urbanised society based on industry.  Instead of a farming family working together to keep themselves fed and clothed and housed, the family unit was demarcated; men went out to work to be the providers, and women stayed at home to care for children and keep house.  Extended families dispersed.  Women turned to each other for friendship and support.  Their definition of family expanded to include female relatives and friends.
At this time the autograph album and calling cards were used to record sentimental verse and friendly thoughts.  Giftbooks were popular from the 1820s to the 1860s and were a source of poems and phrases.  Magazines such as the Godey's Ladies' Book were another common source for friendship verses.

The great western migration in America in the middle of the 19th century was another encouragement for the making of signature quilts.  Women left their parents, family and friends and moved with husbands and children across the mountains and plains to a new future.  A signature quilt became a reminder of those left behind and maintained a bond between the old and the new.
Last but not least was an invention, the invention of indelible ink.  Indelible ink became commercially available in 1845 and steel nib pens replaced goose quills.  Writing was now easy and permanent.  Early homemade inks faded or left residues of iron and tannin which attacked the fabric.  Penmanship became an important feature of a young lady’s and a young man’s education.