Here's one of four drawers full of index cards.
Over 4,000 cards, each with a pattern sketch,
a name and the source.
Click on the box over in the left hand column to order BlockBase from Electric Quilt. They will pay the shipping right now.
The computer program includes over 4,300 patterns, all from published sources from 1836 to 1970. I use BlockBase in many ways but lately I have been doing a lot of block samplers with a theme. Last year I did a Block of the Week as a blog "Civil War Quilts." The theme was Civil War history and I tied a first-person account of the War's first year to a traditional block from BlockBase.
See it here: http://civilwarquilts.blogspot.com/
BlockBase has a Wildcard Search button which brings up any pattern name with a particular word. For the Civil War theme I typed in words like Union and North and South.
I used several of these patterns with Union in the name for the Civil War blog.
Once I found a block I liked I clicked on it and printed out a pattern.
This pattern was given the name Union Square in the Nancy Cabot column in the Chicago Tribune in the 1930s. I printed out the rotary cutting instructions for an 8" finished block and then put them on the blog post.
Here's the post:
Beginning September 1st I am going to do another Block of the Week. This year's theme is the Fight for Women's Rights so Wildcard words included choice, dream or girl.
Click here to see the blog---first block up on September 1st.
You might want to do the block of the month for your guild or your shop. Choose your state name. If it's California you have 19 blocks with that word in the name.
California---then there's Sacramento, Shasta, ocean, etc.
Any topic---how about birds
Here's a hint. I save those searches with the PrintScreen or screen capture key on my computer. On my PC I hold down the Shift and the Ctrl buttons and then the PrtScrn key. I've made a copy of the entire screen. I save the screen image and copy it into an empty file. I use Photoshop but you can drop it into a new image in any picture program or a blank page in word. I crop out what I don't need, give it a label and save it in my idea file.
Louise Townsend made the cover quilt from
blocks on the theme of "fairs"
Years ago I wrote articles for Quilters Newsletter on thematic designs like quilts for a wedding or for summer. I'd have to spend a good deal of time reading through the paper alphabetic index in the back of my Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns. Now I find twenty blocks in a few seconds---one reason I do a Block of the Week rather than a Block of the Month. Too many ideas to edit it down to twelve.