Sunday, January 19, 2020

Daredevils Finishes

Dorry Emmer
She followed the pattern!

Many readers survived last fall's Daredevils experience and have a great little quilt to show (if I do say so myself).

Robin Revelle Gregg
Quilted and bound

Robin never follows the pattern! Why should she?

Barbara Burnham is hand quilting hers.

Jeanne Arnieri
Smaller dots and sash

Denniele Bohannon
Appliqued dots

Becky Brown
Pieced Quarter Circles

Post pictures on our Facebook page:

Barb Rowland Roberts 
Changed the circles to a pinwheel.

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Pattern Blocks

Group of quilt blocks from about 1900

Mid-20th century
Most of these are from online auctions

Anyone who collects old quilts is familiar with these groups of assorted blocks and parts, different shapes and sizes. Today they are called orphan quilt blocks (No, they were not made by orphans!) but that term implies they are not part of a family or group.


Wilene Smith gave us a different perspective on the meaning of these fabric documents in a paper for the American Quilt Study Group. A collection of various blocks may have been someone's quilt pattern library.

Late-19th century
They are not orphans

Wilene bought several sets in the 1980s  and interviewed two Kansas women born around 1910 about the purpose of the blocks, for they did indeed have a purpose.

Lillie Mae Hutcherson Webb (1909-2002) remembered growing up in Missouri. 
"When somebody would to to a friend's house and see a quilt that they liked, usually that person made a block, (sometimes) just out of anything just so they had the pattern and they'd make it up and send it to them or give it to them."
When interviewed in 1986 Lillie still had some of the pattern blocks

Blocks perhaps from the teens from an online auction
"Just out of anything just so they had the pattern"

Those of us who have stacks of these one-off blocks are sometimes surprised at how sleazy the fabric is and how ineptly they are stitched together.

Lillie told Wilene:
 "These less-exacting blocks do not necessarily indicate a lack of sewing skills. When recording or sharing a pattern even the most skilled seamstress might sometimes quickly 'throw together' a block without regard to fabric colors, contrasts or workmanship simply to give the idea of the pattern."

Wilene also talked to Oma Myers Haines (1914-1995) who remembered that her grandmother Sarah Belle Maltby McCain (1869-1938) had a big shirt box full of pieced blocks kept "on top of the chiffonier in grandma's bedroom" to be occasionally shared with a little girl.

 "She had the [fabric] patterns basted to each block with several stitches of thread." To make a block in the pattern she removed the cloth pieces and made cardboard or buckram patterns.

Ruth Finley showed some "mill-net" patterns that belonged to her mother.
The stiff fabric was much like buckram.

Oma's mother was a Californian, San Bernadino born, so these memories must have been of a California pattern collection.

This practice continued into the mid-20th century.

Read Wilene's paper "Quilt Blocks-or-Quilt Patterns." in Uncoverings 1986 at the Quilt Index (the photos do not appear).

How many of the irregular fabric patterns wound up in sampler quilt tops,
which Wilene has termed Pattern Quilts?

It was also reprinted in 1994 in Quiltmaking in America: Beyond the Myths (Editor Laurel Horton.)

For another perspective on all those blocks see this post:

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Sisterhood of Scraps Giveaway Winnerxxx

The winner is the last person to comment yesterday


Send your street address and email to me at MaterialCult@gmail.com

Thursday, January 9, 2020

Antique Quilt Shows Through Spring 2020

Cabin Fever? How about a road trip
to see an exhibit of antique quilts.
Here's a list through Spring 2020

Nora Ezell, Star Puzzle, 2001

Alabama, Montgomery
Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts. Pieces and Patterns: Quilts of West Alabama. Museum collection of quilts from Gees Bend and other locations.
February 13 through May 10, 2020

Connecticut, Hartford
Connecticut Historical Society, Connecticut Quilts, curated by Lynn Z. Bassett.
Through May 16, 2020. Tours of the exhibit every Saturday.

Georgia, Carrollton
Southeastern Quilt and Textile Museum. Antique Quilts from the Collection of Marti Michell
Through January 25, 2020

Illinois, Woodstock
The McHenry County Historical Society's annual show at the Woodstock Opera House. Through February 3.

Louisiana, New Orleans
New Orleans Museum of Art: The Quilts of Gee’s Bend. Five new purchases. Through March 8th, 2020.

Massachusetts, Lowell
New England Quilt Museum. New York, New York! NEQM Collection Quilts from New York State.
Plus: "Amish Quilts from the Collection" includes nine Amish quilts & a selection of miniature quilts from the Dorothy Bosselman Collection of miniature Amish quilts. Through April 4, 2020.

Nebraska, Lincoln
International Quilt Study Center & Museum

Old World Quilts. The earliest quilts in the collection, curated by Carolyn Ducey. Through July 12, 2020.

New Views: Shape Shifters. Recent acquisitions. Through March 29, 2020.

Quilts from the Claire Vlasin Collection. Through February 23, 2020.

New York/ Long Island City
Self-Taught Genius Gallery (American Museum of Folk Art) Signature Styles: Friendship, Album, and Fundraising Quilts
January 22 – May 1, 2020

North Carolina, Raleigh
North Carolina Museum of History, QuiltSpeak: Uncovering Women’s Voices Through Quilts
Through March 1, 2020
Catalog available for $20 at the museum's shop:

Ohio, Kent
Kent State Museum. Ohio quilts from the collection. Through April 12, 2020.

Pennsylvania, Lancaster
Lancaster Mennonite Historical Society: Quilt Turning, showing off some from their collection. Barb Garrett in charge. Doing it twice morning and afternoon on March 24, 2020.  Going to sell out fast:

South Carolina, Columbia
McKissick Museum, Piece by Piece: Quilts from the Permanent Collection. Three rotations illustrating the evolution of this textile tradition.
Through July 18, 2020.

Washington, LaConner
Pacific Northwest Quilt & Fiber Arts Museum. Recent Acquisitions.
Through February 23, 2020.

Wisconsin, Cedarburg
Wisconsin Museum of Quilts & Fiberarts. Infinite Ivory and Blue. Two-color textiles from the 1800s to the present.
February 6 – April 26, 2020

Monday, January 6, 2020

Grandmother's Choice: 2020 Suffrage Centennial

2020 is the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution guaranteeing women the right to vote. We will be celebrating all year.

Several years ago I designed a weekly Quilt Along of 49 blocks with names and references to
the story of the worldwide fight for women's suffrage. It's time to revive it.

From the Rural New Yorker in 1919

I've got two Facebook pages that you can join to follow along.

Grandmother's Choice, Block 1
by Becky Brown

The first block is up there now.

You'll see the link for a story and pattern is to the Grandmother's Choice blog, which is how we shared the blocks in 2012. It's still up there and so are all 49 patterns with lots of suggestions for colors, fabrics and setting ideas.

Georgann Eglinski made model blocks in red and white

Because the patterns are all derived from BlockBase and my Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns I thought they'd be good for our BlockBaseBlox Facebook group to use in the revised editions of both coming out in 2020. BUT the rules for those submissions say blocks 9"-12" and the patterns in Grandmother's Choice are 8". So I guess I'll give additional 12" instructions in that group every Saturday.
Join one or both.

Becky Brown made 2 tops (2 granddaughters), this one in
symbolic colors---purple was a big part of the suffrage image in the U.S.

Or just go to the 2012 blog:

Martha used William Morris prints

Vicki Welsh used her hand-dyed cottons.

Dustin Cecil used his amazing scrap bag with
an emphasis on purple and gold (the British symbolic color)

There was a whole lot of fussy cutting going on. This one by

Start stitching says Alice Paul

"Alice Paul is shown sewing the thirty-sixth star on the 
suffrage ratification banner, the stars having been 
added from time to time as the various states ratified,” 
1920. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress.

Sunday, January 5, 2020

2020 Centennial---Susan B Anthony House

100th Anniversary of New York and US Women's Suffrage
by Patricia Foote

Patricia entered her block in the 2020 Quilt Project:
Stitching Together Women's Suffrage...

...the Susan B. Anthony House Museum's ongoing quilt block
project to celebrate the 2020 centennial anniversary
 of the 19th Amendment guaranteeing American women the Right to Vote.

Susan B Anthony Dollar, Kenneth Dardenne

The project's been going on for a while. The deadline has passed for blocks to be displayed this year but they continue to accept entries for future exhibits. See a link to the project here:
Blocks from their Gallery.

Contrary Wife dedicated to Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Emilie Monefeldt
"The 2020 Quilt is designed so that each new block may be attached to the growing quilt with ribbons. The 2020 Quilt may be complete with one block or with hundreds of blocks. It is anticipated that the Quilt will be displayed in community centers, libraries, schools, or other public places on request. The whole 2020 Quilt or specific sections may be displayed from time to time. Each individual quilt block will be able to stand out on its own AND mesh wonderfully with the other quilt squares. Each block will tell a story in a unique and creative way."
Centennial of the 19th Amendment by Linda Stauffer Heil
(The block was published as Centennial)

NAWSA Logo, Mary Jane Frind

The blocks will be tied with ribbons and the piece made as large or small as the show space dictates.

Kathleen Anderson

Do you know of any other 2020 quilt celebrations?
Block of the Months

Women's Rights 1848-Present, Joan Robertson

Susan B Anthony, Diane Shirley

Susan Brownell Anthony 1820-1906,  Karen Cona

Susan B. Anthony Silhouette, Mery McEvoy

Susan B Anthony Star, Linda L. Rose Bushar

Susan Brownell Anthony, Lorraine S Ward

Sarah's Choice, Kathleen Mooney Rowland

See more at the Gallery

I'm surprised to find few 2020 quilt projects celebrating the anniversary on line, however. So I decided I'd revive a BOM from 2012. Tomorrow more on Grandmother's Choice.