Monday, February 23, 2015
It's really unusual to see this kind of block set on the straight, rather than on point.
When we documented it, we could not find an exact pattern match among the thousands of quilt patterns in our reference books. It's similar to one called English Ivy (Brackman #1330), but it's not exactly the same. It's a variation.
Variation is a useful term in documenting quilts. Quilt makers are endlessly inventive. Sometimes variations happen because we're trying to replicate something we saw somewhere, and it comes out differently than we expected. Or we start out to copy a pattern, and then think, what if I changed this or that? We add seams, and leave them out. We change the colors, or reverse background and foreground. We change the size or the set.
One of the things that drew me to this quilt was the ease of drafting the pattern. The original English Ivy pattern is much more difficult, with several sizes of triangles. This version is just squares and half-square triangles, with a bit of machine applique.
I mostly left the colors the same, although I used print fabrics instead of solid colors. I did change the small squares in the corners.
I also left out the leaves, just for simplicity's sake.
My version is a 12 in. square (finished) block. The original blocks measured around 9 in. square, which I didn't know until I had drafted my version and made the first block.
I made 12 blocks, which will make a relatively small quilt. Here's how I'm going to set it:
Here are the directions, if you would like to make my version of this block.
Red Clover Quilt
12 in. block (finished)
To make one block:
You will need 2 half square triangles made from red print and background fabric, that measure 4 in. square finished. I made these using the Easy Angle. I placed a strip of background fabric face down on a strip of red print fabric, each 4.5 in. wide, and cut the triangles with the Easy Angle.
You will also need 13 half square triangles made from green print and background fabric, that measure 2 in. finished. I made these by placing a strip of background fabric face down on a strip of green print fabric, each 2.5 in. wide, and cut the triangles with the Easy Angle.
You can make the triangle squares any way you like, as long as they end up measuring the same.
That takes care of the triangles!
You also need:
From background fabric, cut:
1 square 6.5 in. x 6.5 in.
2 squares 2.5 in. x 2.5 in.
From red print fabric, cut
1 square, 4.5 in. x 4.5 in.
From green print fabric, cut
1 rectangle, 2 in. wide x 10.5 in. long (this is the stem).
I made this block in quarters. The lower right quarter, with the stem, is already done.
Once you've got these sections sewn, you just join them together.
The sashing strips are cut 1.5 in. wide and 12.5 in. long. The nine patch corner squares are made from 1.5 in. squares, and the nine patch finishes at 3 in. square. I suppose you could strip piece them, but I find that it wastes fabric, so I just cut the squares.
I'm hoping to work on this quilt today, to get all the sashing and cornerstones made and decide on an outside border. I finished the leaders and enders 4 patch blocks yesterday, so I guess today I'll work on a charity quilt as a leaders and enders project. It's amazing what we can get done this way.
Keep warm, and keep sewing!
Monday, February 16, 2015
This is my third quilt. I made another scrap quilt on my own first (pretty bad, but no lumping since I used a blanket for batting) before I sought professional help and took a class at a quilt shop.
And it was, for a while. About 30 years.
I made this quilt with the quilt-as-you-go method, too, but this time I machine quilted the blocks. It didn't take me 3 years to get it done, either.
Samplers are fun to make, and really are a good learning experience for new quilters. In my volunteer work with the Wisconsin Museum of Quilts &Fiber Arts, I have seen many, many samplers made in the 1970s and 1980s. This was the first quilt many people made, their first step into the amazing world of quilting.
In the past, quilts of many patterns were made, but were not necessarily called samplers. The term sampler comes from embroideries, done to teach a young girl her stitches and sometimes her alphabet at the same time.
According to quilt historian Barbara Brackman's classic book, Clues in the Calico, when the block style became popular in the 1840s, quilts of multiple different blocks began to be made. In the early years, they were often appliqued album quilts, either made by one person or by a group of friends. The famous Baltimore Album quilts are of this type. Later, when applique was less fashionable, friendship quilts were more often made of pieced blocks. The ones we call samplers were made with many different block patterns by the same person, not by a group of friends.
Many quilt historians believe some quilters kept a collection of various different blocks as a way of remembering the patterns. The quilter might see a block she liked at a friend's home or a quilt show, and make up a block herself. She could then keep the block itself as a pattern. As you can imagine, a person could end up with quite a lot of blocks. Either the quilter herself, or her heirs after her death, might make these test blocks into a quilt. This quilt could then be called a "pattern quilt". Quilts of this type often have blocks of several different sizes.
I found one of these sets of blocks at a flea market several years ago.
I don't know if I'll make my antique block collection into a quilt. Some of the blocks are not in good shape, so couldn't be used. Some of them are stained, probably from the basket they were stored in. But it might be fun to put the good blocks together like a "puzil".
It's fun to look for sampler quilts (or any other kind of quilt!) on the Quilt Index. Here are a couple of antique samplers.
Want to see more? Click on the link, and search for quilts.
And finally, this is my all time favorite sampler:
Yeah, I've got a weakness for chocolates. I do like having the map included, so I know which ones I'm getting.
I hope your week ahead is full of quilting fun.
Monday, February 9, 2015
I wish I had labeled more of my quilts. Sometimes I just write my name and the date on the quilt in permanent ink, but often I don't even do that. Mostly I can't remember when I made a certain quilt. A label would really help.
In my volunteer work with the Wisconsin Museum of Quilts & Fiber Arts, I always make sure to take a photograph of any labels we may be lucky enough to have on documented quilts. We don't think we'll forget, but we do! And the next generation will not have any idea. So label your quilts already!
Okay, I'm down off the soapbox now.
So on to the next project, right? And the next one for me is my Jane Austen block of the week quilt.
Back in May, I posted about Barbara Brackman's Jane Austen Family Album quilt. I was only 5 blocks in then. I've got 30 done now, and I was setting them together this weekend.
There were 36 blocks in the series, but I had decided to make only 30 before it even started. I've never liked square quilts, and 30 seems about the perfect number for 12 in. blocks.
Making the Jane Austen sampler has been such a learning experience. Every week Barbara shared interesting facts and visuals from Jane's time period and details about her family and friends. It was like taking a free class.
Here's a link to my previous post, which has a link to the Jane Austen Family Album block of the week:
Sundays with Jane
I've also been watching all of the movies based on Jane Austen's work--well, most of them. I'm not really interested in zombies.
This one is my absolute favorite: The BBC version of Pride and Prejudice, starring Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy.
It's an old one, from 1980 or so. I like it not because I'm a huge fan of Colin Firth (but what's not to like?), but because it is so true to the book, and the character actors are so good.
We're still deep in winter here, but there is a hope of spring, and we know May will be here eventually. Until then, we've just got to keep warm, and keep sewing.
Monday, February 2, 2015
Lots of people were doing utility quilting with their machines, but it was difficult. And long arm quilting like we have today was virtually unknown. Harriet showed us how to manage a large quilt for either quilting with a walking foot or free motion quilting.
I went back to this book when I got ready to quilt my Reproduction Chain quilt.
It took the better part of an afternoon, but I got the pin basting done.
My biggest problem is wanting to go too fast. Remember the commercial with the old ladies in the car, and one says to the driver, "Punch it, Martha!"? I want to punch it. Not the best way for staying on the lines.
J. J. Stitches Quilt Shop
I didn't see this pattern offered on their site. I don't need the one I have anymore, so I'd be happy to pass it on to the first person who asks. Comment below, and we'll exchange emails so I can get your address to send it.
Here's what it looked like from my sewing room window yesterday afternoon:
Stay warm this week! Keep calm, and keep quilting.