Thursday, September 14, 2017

Ships Ahoy

This week's block is a Sailboat.


Sailboat - H. E. Putnam



There is the usual challenge of deciding which name to use for the block.  Options were Sailboat, The Ship, Little Ship o' Dreams, Sailboat in Blue and White, The Mayflower and Tad Lincoln's Sailboat. 

The pink Sailboat is from a 1937 friendship quilt from Oklahoma.  There are two Sailboat blocks in the quilt.

Sailboat - Lou Henslee


So how are the blocks set into the quilt? Not how you would think.  Notice too the dotted green border strip.  It keeps getting wider and wider the further you go.  Each block in this quilt is not quite square and is a different size to every other blocks.  It must have been a challenge to put together; it sits quite flat and the corners are almost right angles.







Maggie Malone (120 Patterns for Traditional Patchwork Quilts, 1984) shows a similar block called Flags & Ships.  She points out that, unusually, the block is rectangular instead of square.  The Sailboat adds a white strip to make it square which then becomes a perfect block for a signature.



Flags & Ships



My latest friendship top appears to have a Sailboat block.  I assumed that Fannie Brumbaugh had some issues assembling her block; the hull is upside down.  But apologies to Miss Brumbaugh, it is a real pattern from the Kansas City Star.


The Sailboat Oklahoma







I have Googled 'Sailboat Oklahoma' but apart from the original reference I can't find any images.  If you ever see the good ship Sailboat Oklahoma in your travels I would love to hear about it.



Thursday, August 31, 2017

This Too is Jacob's Ladder

This week's block is Jacob's Ladder ... but not the usual patchwork ladder which Jacob saw in his dream.







This block is in a top which was made in Pennsylvania, probably about 1938.  I don't know who Charlotte was, which is a pity, but I have found a few of her friends in the other blocks. There are more photos in a previous post.

You can find a pattern for Jacob's Ladder at Field Guide to Quilts but it is a diagram of the patches with no measurements.  For a 12 inch block the flying geese units finish at 1.5 inches, and the corner blocks finish at 4.5 inches.


This design was printed in the booklet 'Grandma Dexter Applique and Patchwork Designs'.




The book was published by Virginia Snow Studios in the late 1930s.  Here is the Jacob's Ladder pattern on the right, printed as a scrappy block.




I found a downloadable copy of the whole booklet on the website Sewing Solutions.  This site has a range of 1930s sewing books which can be downloaded for personal use.  The price is reasonable and the link worked first time with no trouble.  However, a word of warning - for some reason there are a number of links on the webpage that do not lead you to quilt patterns. I found it best to put my mouse over a link and check out the preview before I clicked - there appeared to be a number of medications that are not required for patchwork.  Say no more.



Sport Coat made from Silk Patches

Wearable art? Maybe not.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

One More Final Block

This really is the last block, there isn't room for any more.



I don't have a name for this block.  It isn't uncommon, I have come across the same pattern in other antique quilts.  The nearest block in Barbara Brackman is Blockhouse ... which is the same but different.





A - 4 dark squares 3.5" x 3.5".

B - 4 dark and 8 light rectangles 1.5" x 3.5".

C- 1 light square 2.5" x 2.5".

D - 2 dark squares 2.5" x 2.5". Cut diagonally to make 4 triangles.  Sew to C, trim to 3.5 inches square.

Block measures 9.5 inches.




I have added a border to my mystery and it is nearly quilted.  I quilt my tops on the same sewing machine I use for piecing, so it's always a rush to finish the quilting and then get onto the next project.




The mystery is finished but the blocks keep coming.  We haven't finished the 1930s yet, I have more friendship quilts on the shelves which have been waiting patiently.  Next post will be Jacob's Ladder - but not as you know it ......

Friday, August 11, 2017

The Mystery Revealed*

*conditions apply


It is finally time for you to see the assembled mystery blocks. A number of blocks were made and auditioned for the final selection, and one managed to get into the final quilt without being introduced.  Rather than wait another week I have decided to show the finished layout now; some more instructions will be posted next week. I just wish I was a better photographer - the picture doesn't do justice to the real quilt top.



 

The blocks that you have been making fit together according to the following grid. It doesn't matter which six inch block goes into each six inch space; you can follow my pictures or rearrange your blocks to suit.  Earlier in the blog there were Dresden plates and House blocks - if you want to include them just put them in a matching sized space.  The quilt top divides into four quarters; A, B, C and D. Arrange your blocks on the design wall/floor for the whole quilt, then sew them together quarter by quarter.






quarter A


Quarter A uses one 12 inch, two 9 inch and 5 six inch blocks.




quarter B

Quarter B - one 12 inch, two 9 inch and five 6 inch.  The block you haven't seen is the blue and purple one on the right.  I will provide a pattern in the next post, or you might figure it out for yourself.





quarter C

Quarter C - two 9 inch blocks and three 6 inch blocks.



quarter D

Quarter D - one 9 inch, four 6 inch and five 3 inch blocks.  For the 3 inch blocks I used leftovers from other blocks.  You could make five different blocks. 


I am going to add a border too, again, your choice for border / no border.  Any questions?  You can comment below or join in on the Facebook page - and I would love to see your photos!

Thursday, August 3, 2017

One Last Block

The friendship quilt made in Malaga in 1937 has been the inspiration for the mystery blocks of the past few months.






I chose blocks that fit into the 6 - 9 - 12 inch pattern, and I left poor Sunbonnet Sue for another day. I discovered that I needed one more 9 inch block to finish the quilt so I opted for an old favourite.



Dutchman's Puzzle

I disassembled my Whirligig block that I decided not to use.  It was all half square triangles so I rearranged it into a Dutchman's Puzzle.





It will work a little better with Flying Geese to start with and can also be made in three colours - make the center geese one main colour and the outside geese a contrasting colour.









A - 2 dark 5.75 inch squares. Cut diagonally twice to make 8 triangles.

B - 8 light 3.25 inch squares. Cut diagonally to make 16 triangles.

Trim each flying goose block to 2.75" x 5".

Block measures 9.5 inches.




I made a few more flying geese blocks, this time with real geese.






So ... next post, the big reveal!  I do hope you like the end result.

Friday, July 28, 2017

A Mystery in a Mystery

Minnie Key's block needs a bit of imagination to reproduce.






Minnie's fabric has not worn well, it is very thin and there is no colour left.  The pale orange blotches in the photo are the backing fabric showing through the block.  Sometimes the seams of the patches still show some colour but I don't see any in this one.  All we have is the piecing.




I have also been unable to find a name for this block.  It looks familiar but nothing matches. 

I have pieced the design as two colours and as three colours.





I'm interested in your interpretations.

A -  2 light and 2 dark 2" x 2" squares.

B - 2 light and 2 dark 2.5" x 2.5" squares.  Cut diagonally to make 4 dark and 4 light triangles. 

C - 1 light and 1 dark 4" x 4" square.  Cut diagonally to make 2 light and 2 dark triangles.

Add two B's to square A; sew to C.  Trim to 3.5 inch square.

Block measures 6.5 inch square.


This following block is called Four Knaves from Nancy Cabot in 1938; almost the same as Nellie's Mystery.


A - 6 purple and 2 green squares 2.5" x 2.5". Cut diagonally to make 12 purple and 4 green triangles.  Make four half square triangles and trim to 2" square, add two more triangles.

B - 2 green squares 4" x 4".  Cut diagonally to make 4 triangles.

Block measures 6.5 inch square.





Make one of each block for your mystery quilt.  There is one more block to come, then all will be revealed!

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Cactus Basket, Cactus Pot


This week's block is a Cactus Basket.




Sarah Cannon, who made this block, was the first woman that I researched on the Malaga 1937 quilt.  I had not planned to do any research at all but I decided to just have a look at a person or two.  I discovered that Sarah's husband was a missionary to the Indians and that her daughter was the first white child to be born in the area. After this gem of information I went ahead and was able to place every name that was on the quilt, not a single missing person. Exploring on Ancestry.com is better than playing computer games!

Cactus Basket can also be called Desert Rose, Texas Rose, Texas Treasure, Basket of Diamonds or Flower Pot.  Sometimes the plant is much smaller than the basket.








Cactus Basket ~ Cactus Pot


Cactus Basket is usually made with diamond shapes, but that means set-in seams.  I have changed the diamonds to half square triangles for quick piecing - but you may change them back to diamonds if you like! The second block is Cactus Pot; very similar but different enough to include as a second pattern.  Make one of each for the mystery quilt.



A - 1 light, 1 pink and 1 basket 2" x 2" squares.

B - 2 light, 1 pink, 2 blue and 2 basket 2.5" x 2.5" squares.  Cut diagonally to make 14 triangles in all.  Make half square triangles using the picture as a guide, trim to 2" x 2".

C - 2 light rectangles 2" x 3.5".

D - 1 light 4" x 4" square.  Cut diagonally and use 1 triangle.

Block measures 6.5 inches.


A - 1 light 2" x 2" square.

B - 2 light, 2 green and 1 basket 2.5" x 2.5" squares.  Cut diagonally to make 10 triangles. Make half square triangles, trim to 2" x 2".

C - 2 light rectangles 2" x 3.5".

D - 1 light, 1 green and 1 basket 4" x4" squares.  Cut diagonally and use 1 triangles of each color.

Block measures 6.5 inches.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Album Blocks and Album Quilts

This week's block is an album block.





The word "album" has a number of different uses when looking at historic quilts.  These two blocks from the Malaga quilt are both Album blocks because the pattern's name is Album.  Blocks that are similar to these like Chimney Sweep and Cross Patch and Christian Cross can be called album blocks as a group.  An album quilt is a quilt made with different blocks, like a Baltimore Album quilt; or an album quilt can have signatures like an autograph album.







This  pattern is Chimney Sweep.  It was probably made in the 1880s. Seam allowance can be an issue on this diagonal blocks - you can see why this one stayed an orphan.








These are a variation on the Chimney Sweep.  They are in a 1940 quilt that I call Texas Too.  This Quaker quilt has the most amazing story behind it which I introduced here in the blog; one day I will get busy and find out the rest of the story.


So three blocks this week: Album, Chimney Sweep and Texas Chimney Sweep.

Album block



 A - 8 dark and 2 light squares 1.75" x 1.75".

B - 1 light rectangle 1.75" x 4.25".

C - 2 light squares 4" x 4". Cut diagonally twice to make 8 triangles.

D - 2 light squares 3" x 3". Cut diagonally to make 4 triangles.

Put the pieces together row by row.  The triangles are much bigger than the squares, that's OK.  Trim the triangles as you need to when you sew the seams.  The finished 6.5 inch block leaves a large margin around the dark squares - no disappearing points here.


Chimney Sweep


A - 8 dark and 2 light squares 2" x 2".

B - 4 dark and 1 light rectangle 2" x 5".

C - 3 light squares 4" x 4". Cut diagonally twice to make 12 triangles.

D - 2 light squares 2.75" x 2.75". Cut diagonally to make 4 triangles.

Make the center 9 patch square first, then build up the block by rows around the center. Block measures 9.5 inches.


Texas Chimney Sweep


A - 6 dark and 4 light squares 2" x 2".

B, C, D - same as Chimney Sweep instructions.

The center 9 patch is the only difference in this Texas Chimney Sweep block, all the other pieces are the same as Chimney Sweep.

Block measures 9.5 inches.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Is it a Bird? Is it a Plane? It's a Goose?!

Sometimes a mystery quilt contains mystery blocks.






The 1937 Malaga quilt has these two star blocks.  I went to Barbara Brackman to find a name, I thought is would be easy.  However, nothing matched.  I tried stars of all descriptions, 16 patch, unequal 9 patch with a large centre, and so on.  The only block that I did find has the same pieces but looks very different.







This is Brown Goose, or Double Z.  Doesn't look like a star at all, does it?  But the only difference is the corner blocks.  Reverse the half square triangles and the mystery block appears.


Brown Goose

Brown Goose Variation


A - 2 light and 6 dark 2.5" x 2.5" squares.  Cut diagonally to make 4 light and 12 dark triangles.

B - 2 light and 1 dark 4.25" x 4.25" squares.  Cut diagonally twice to make 8 light and 4 dark triangles (2 of each color not used).

Trim center hourglass block to 3.5" x 3.5". Trim flying geese (top, bottom, sides) to 2" x 3.5".  Trim half square triangle corners to 2" x 2".

Block measures 6.5 inches.



Cutting instructions are the same as Brown Goose, the only difference is the position of the half square triangles in the corners.


Make one of each block.  The unused triangles from each block can be used to make an hourglass block 3.5 inches square.