And while we are on the topic of sampler blocks...
The Denver Post is posting a vintage quilt pattern regularly for a few weeks on their Archive Blog. The blocks are from a sampler from Ruby Short McKim's column, originally published in 1931.
Check it here:
McKim was a trailblazer in 20th-century quilt pattern design and publishing. She syndicated patterns to newspapers from the teens into the thirties. I'm most familiar with her designs for the Kansas City Star. I got interested in quilt patterns when I found a package of old Star patterns at a thrift store when I was about 20.
Skyrocket from a McKim pattern, about 1935
Collection of Carmel Reitman
McKim was very influential on the look of mid-20th-century quilts. Her patterns also appeared in the Denver Post and I think that this sampler view is something that was never in the Star. Various block patterns may have been, but the sampler format seems new to me.
Here's the Sunbeam block from the Star with no mention of a series.
I keep a file on blocks I find in online auctions and I was looking for a few of these designs to add to this story. Here's a set of blocks by a woman who didn't get the project finished but she embroidered the name of the block on each, and they are the same names Ruby McKim gave them.
So if you bought that set of blocks now you know what you have.
A Ruby McKim sampler.UPDATE
Susan had a good question in the comments so I am putting it here:
This is truly inspiring. I went to the site and saw the vintage sampler but no matter how hard I try I cannot find the actual templates or instructions for these blocks. Are they in your block base software? The clippings don't really give you accurate dimensions for reproducing the blocks and they are just wonderful. It's fun to see the clippings though. So for someone who likes to draft their own.... hmm maybe I should just do that! LOL
I have to tell you---that's all you got in 1930. No instructions, just the templates and instructions to "Cut 4 turquoise" etc. Notice they don't even tell you how big the block should be. It was always a surprise.
Actually, McKim was an innovator in giving you templates. A lot of early 20th-century pattern sources just gave you a photo or sketch of the block with instructions like, "Any competent seamstress should be able to draw her own pattern from our picture."
I do believe every competent seamstress should be able to draft her own---at least to understand the geometric structures of patterns and how to add seam allowances, etc. But once you learn the basics of drafting you don't have to draft them any more. You can always go to BlockBase and look them up by name.
Another problem with those old newspaper patterns: Newspapers were printed wet and then dried by heat, which distorted the lines in unpredictable fashion. The templates aren't that accurate. Newsprint isn't printed that way anymore but the old templates are often a little bit off. I'd redraw them or use a computer program.
UPDATE TO THE UPDATE
Check Lynn's blogpost on this sampler which was in the Kansas City Kansan---not the Star.
And after reading her blogpost I see I have a photo from eBay of one she missed!