Saturday, July 30, 2011

Patterns: Known and Unknown

Every once in a while I put some pieced patterns up that I haven't seen published. The design above is from a quilt offered on an online auction.
The symmetries are odd and the striped fabric
 makes the four patch more intricate. The fabrics look mid-20th century.

In my Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns it's closest to patterns numbered in the 1280s or 1370s, four patches with diagonal seams, but it's not been published in the usual 1880-1970 sources.
(BlockBase is the digital version of the Encyclopedia)

Here's another odd block separated by sashing that looks to have been stitched in the early 20th century.
The basic structure is what I call a 9x and it should be in the Encyclopedia and BlockBase numbered 2770 to 2800.

But it's not.

Here's a simple block, sort of like a pineapple/maltese cross with only one row around the center square.
A good idea, especially when shaded in counterchange fashion with what's light in one block dark in the next.

This one should be #2626.5, but it's not in the Encyclopedia. Maybe I missed it when I was indexing blocks, maybe it was published in a magazine with a small circulation, maybe some clever seamstress made it up.The fabrics in the top look to be end of the 19th century, probably 1880 to 1900. It would be a nice block to show off an intricate print like a William Morris piece or a chintz.

Wait a minute, here's an unsual pattern that I could assign a name and a source to. Nancy sent this picture of a top she bought, two fabrics---that 1930s Nile green and a multi-colored print.

I did find the block. It’s #2323 Twin Darts published in Farm Journal in February, 1945.

The piecer also used a counterchange color scheme, which makes it more complex.
I generally find designs prior to 1970 in the Encyclopedia and BlockBase. It's the patterns I can't find there that are so fascinating to me.


  1. Bit unsettling some of those blocks - especially that stripey one! Just shows you what imagination can do!

  2. Oh, those patterns make me seasick lol.

  3. It looks like they made that top pattern by first piecing together a long strip of three long "stripes": a dark blue, a white, and another dark blue, and then then using a triangular template (+ seam allowances), alternating it right-side up and then up-side down on the long strip, to cut out right angle triangles that would then be arranged in this block pattern and sewn together. Easy to make, but hard on the eyes.

  4. The block with the 4 squares and the hourglass in the center is very similar to one in Maggie Malones book 500 patchwork patterns....she calls it "our next president" #290

  5. There is also one called president's choice that is even closer...it is #232 in the malone book