I chose the pattern from The Ladies Art Company catalog of 1928. The time period was almost right for the dates the show portrayed (1912 to 1926). The block I chose was called Sisters Choice. I've always liked that block, plus the name really went with what Downton Abbey was about. The show centers around the choices sisters Mary, Edith, and Sybil make, good and bad, and how that affects everyone around them.
I added seams in 4 places to the block above to make it easier to piece, and I made my blocks 10 in. square, so each segment finished at 2 in.
After a few disasters (such as the Terrible Quilt from 2 post ago), I learned how to quilt by the block and end up with a decent quilt. Warning--it involves hand sewing! But not a huge amount. For machine quilting, I use my Pfaff electric sewing machine with a built-in walking foot.
Here's how I make my quilt-as-you-go quilts:
Once the rows are done, I do a more traditional quilt-as-you-go joining. I add the long sashing piece on the front of the first row and the backing for the sashing on the back of the first row, just like joining the sections above. Then I add the front sashing ONLY to the next row. I lay in a strip of batting, and pin the backing over the seam. Here's where I hand stitch. I SHOULD HAVE TAKEN PICTURES OF THIS STEP, SORRY.
The only hand stitching I do is to sew down the backing of each sashing strip. In this quilt, there were 5 of these (6 rows of blocks). Each of these seams is the width of the quilt.
After the sashing was joined between the rows, I quilted it (just the simple railroad tracks again).
Just for fun, I timed myself. I took me approximately 9 minutes to quilt each block. There were 5 blocks in each row, so 45 minutes quilting, plus some time trimming and pressing. I could easily quilt a row in an hour. I didn't time how long it took to do the hand sewing. Mostly, I just had it on the kitchen table and worked on it while supper cooked, etc.
The borders are joined sew-and-flip style. To get this right, I ran down to my basement bookcase and got this book:
So now for the binding, and then the label!
I still miss Downton Abbey on Sunday nights. Sure, some of the story lines were silly (Mr. Bates AND Mrs. Bates suspected of murders???), but for the most part it was extremely well done, historically accurate, and compelling television. I don't think a quilt like mine would ever have graced a bed upstairs, but it could have been made by one of the servants from the scraps of everyone's clothing. Maybe Mrs. Hughes, or Anna, or Baxter could have sewn it. Hmm, Baxter seems to know her way around a sewing machine.
I wish you the joy of quilting this week.