Saturday, February 17, 2018

A House Block from France ... or Japan

I made another house block yesterday.  It has a bit of a back story which I'd like to share with you.

The last time I was in France I bought a quilt magazine.

Actually, it was the only time I have been to France.  My one and only trip to Europe was in 2011 and I chose to spend two days in Dijon.  Dijon is a beautiful city with cathedrals and ancient buildings, free museums and centuries of history.  My high school French was border-line adequate to buy some souvenirs and order meals.  I spent the first day walking the heritage tour called the Owl's Trail.  The English guide book says it takes about 1.5 hour; it took me eight hours and 120 photos.


As I was traveling on my own I decided to stay in my seedy hotel room after dark.  The only English language television channel was CNN and the evening's program was 'This Week in Uzbekistan.'  I got settled with some Farmer's Wife blocks to hand piece and opened the quilt magazine.

I had purchased a copy of Quiltmania, the wonderful European magazine.  I assumed that although the text was in French, the pictures would assist in any projects that might appeal.  And I found a lovely quilt project called 'Ryokan'.  Beautiful traditional house blocks, with a patchwork block as one of the house walls.  Ryokan appeared to be some sort of Japanese buildings ... or maybe vegetables. (les peties auberges japonaises = little Japanese eggplants?)

Never mind, plenty of diagrams for each different block, should be easy to make when I returned home. Well, lots of diagrams but not quite enough diagrams.  Eventually I got it sorted.

2eme Partie = Part 2

All I had was the second part of a Japanese pattern. Written in French.

A year later in Melbourne I was enjoying a quilt study day at Quilts in the Barn.  I had been invited by Linda Collins and Bev Bannard to bring my Chester Criswell Quilt to Linda’s home in Wonga Park to share the quilt and speak about my blog and block of the month project.  I had just begun telling the story of my great-great-grandmother’s signature quilt and it was pretty exciting to speak to a group of fellow enthusiasts who all wanted to know, What Comes Next?

During the course of the afternoon I told my sad story of my French Part 2 pattern.  Linda disappeared for a moment and then returned to present me with a copy of Quiltmania issue No.85 - which has Part 1, written in English!  Bonus in this issue was a feature on Australian quilters - which included Linda Collins’ own home and magnificent quilt collection.

Six years later and I still haven’t made the Ryokan quilt.  I have made one block, so at this rate I should be finished about 2090.



  1. Congratulations on completing your quilt block. What a special story coming full circle - starting with inspiration from Part 2 and ending with Issue No. 85 / Part 1.


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