Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Emma Paul's Quilt

As some of you know, I'm the documentation chair for the Wisconsin Museum of Quilts & Fiber Arts.  I've been working hard to catch up with entries lately, now that I can work comfortably at the computer for longer periods of time.  I thought you might like to see some of the beautiful quilts we have documented and are entering into the Quilt Index.
This beautiful scrap quilt belongs to the New Berlin Historical Society.  According to the former owner, when Emma Stickels Paul was 21 years old, in 1862, she made this quilt in Mukwonago, Wisconsin.
The quilt is hand pieced and hand quilted.  We've identified the pattern as Brackman #2050, which has the name Indian, given to it by "Nancy Page" in the 1930s.  We really have no idea what Emma called the pattern.  The backing is unbleached muslin.  The binding is the same green as the sashing and borders, applied separately.
There are floral shapes quilted into the center squares, which are hard to see.  On this square there is a tiny spider web embroidered in white cotton.  We thought it might be a darn, but it isn't--there is no hole.
This is the most interesting find on the whole quilt:  the letter "A" embroidered in chain stitch with white cotton on one of the center squares.  Did Emma make it for someone whose name started with an A?  Or was Emma even the maker of the quilt?  Could the A stand for someone else who made the quilt?  Or someone who helped?
The donor of the quilt inherited it from his mother, who acquired it from Emma's husband.  The donor was Emma's nephew.
It would be fun to trace the genealogy of the family.  The date of 1862 seemed right to those of us who saw it in person, which included 3 AQS certified quilt appraisers.
Wouldn't this be a fun pattern to sew?  I think I'd make it as an 8 in. block, with a 4 in. center square, four 2 in. squares for the corners, and 8 triangle/squares that finish at 2 in.
If you made the center square 6 inches, and the squares and triangle/squares 3 in., you'd have a 12 in. block.
I'll be entering this quilt into our section of the Quilt Index in the next few days.  We already have 448 quilts entered.  If you'd like to see them, or any others, just point your browser to
Happy quilting!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Feed Sack Pinwheel Tutorial

I'm having fun making these blocks with feed sack squares left over from the Flying Squares Quilt.  I thought I'd share it in case anyone else would like to make one.

Here's a simple block to make with feed sacks and solid cottons.  It finishes 8 in. square.
For each block:
Cut 4 2.5 in. squares of print feed sacks, 2 of each print, and make a four patch.
Cut 4 rectangles from the white feed sacks, each measuring 2.5 in. x 4.5 in.
Make 4 triangle-squares that finish 2 in., using your favorite method, from white feed sacking and a solid color that goes with the print feed sacks.  I like to use the Easy Angle tool and cut the triangles from 2.5 in. strips.  Then I sew them together in pairs.

Here are all the pieces laid out, with the four patch sewn.

Now the triangles are sewn into squares.

Next, sew the triangle squares onto one end of the rectangles, as shown below.
Here's the block laid out, ready to sew.  As with the flying squares, the first seam is a partial seam, then all the other rectangles are added.  Finishing the partial seam is the last step in finishing the block.
And that's that!

It is so much fun choosing which solid color to use in each block.  I have a big scrap bag of solids to root around in.  The solid colors can really change the look of the block.

Have fun!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Fall Harvest

In the fall of 2003, I participated in a Treadle On block exchange, which resulted in the quilt above.  The rules were a little unusual.  We made blocks in 3 different sizes--12 in., 9 in., and 6 in. finished.  We could use any leaf pattern we liked, with the leaves in fall colors.  The backgrounds were to be dark, like the forest floor.  And of course, all the blocks were to be sewn with treadle or hand crank sewing machines.
Waiting to get my "squishy" (technical term for the package of blocks) in the mail was like waiting for Christmas when I was six.  It was so worth it!  The variety of blocks and prints was wonderful.  It was fun laying them out on the floor and fitting them together.  I added a few blocks with light backgrounds to jazz it up a bit.   I made lots of flying geese for the border on my Minnesota A, looking out the dining room window. 
It's been 10 years now, and I can hardly believe it's passed so quickly.  My favorite time to work on this quilt was in the fall.  It was hard to make myself do the quilting any other time.  I just finally finished the quilting last year.
I'm including a few more pictures.  If you see a block you made, could you let me know?  I once had a list of all the participants, but I'm afraid it disappeared.  I know Windy Cindy made the pink batik blocks.

I'm finding that I really love the color orange!  Maybe it's just this time of year, but I'm seeing orange everywhere and really enjoying its mellow brightness.

These pumpkins are garden "volunteers".  Their seeds were in the compost, and the vines came up everywhere.  The big green one is slowly turning orange.  I bought the butternut squash at the farmers market.
I'm still working on the feedsack pinwheels, and I will post a tutorial shortly.  Even there, I'm finding bits of orange.
Here's hoping you are enjoying this season too.