Saturday, August 6, 2011

Delectable Mountains: 1812 Reproduction

Lately Arrived from London
Designed by Susan Stiff and Barbara Brackman
10" finished blocks; 76" Square

Above is the project quilt from my Moda reproduction collection called Lately Arrived From London.

Our inspiration was the pattern today called Delectable Mountains, a sort of medallion made from blocks.
The version above is from an online auction where blocks on point frame a chintz panel, probably finished about 1840. Examples date as early as the teens so it would seem to be an excellent design to recall the War of 1812 for the anniversary next year.

The basic block is a two patch cut in half diagonally.
 It can have any number of mountain peaks.

For our project Susan redrew the old block to make it scrappier.
With the medium-sized triangle broken up into three pieces it looks like a basket.
In all of her blocks the big triangle is medium or dark and the background is light as in the picture above.

I've been playing around with the block in EQ7.
Here the big triangle is light to match the background and it becomes the background.

To make the medallion set work you have to use an even number like 4 x 4, 6 x 6 or 8 x 8 block grids.This set leaves you with an empty area in the center but if you use the large chintz like the Seaflower the space  will not really be empty. It would be rather dramatic.

Quilters often filled that center area with a star. This antique has the blocks on point, the typical 19th century  set.

Here's a star in center with the blocks on the square. The easiest way to do this is probably to leave the big triangles off the four center blocks. Piece them to the sides of a star. With 10" finished blocks that center star should measure about  14-3/4" with the seams.

Above are the finished measurements. Add seams.

At the bottom of this page are instructions
 for cutting a star finishing to 14 1/4".

Quilters also put the blocks side by side, set on point.
Here's a detail of one from the 1840s or '50s with that buff and blue combination so popular then.

You could increase the complexity in the all-over on-point set by making half the blocks dark on light and half the blocks light on dark. You get a strip effect if you alternate them.

Dark on Light

Light on Dark

You could also set them on point in strips.
 The block really looks like a basket here.

Sawtooth Strip
I made this quilt 15 years ago or so. I was going to make a Delectable Mountains medallion but I got distracted. I turned the blocks into rectangles and stacked them up.

Part of the appeal in these patterns is the name.

The Delectable Mountains

The image comes from a Christian parable, an 18th-century book by John Bunyan called Pilgrim's Progress. Pilgrims named Christian and Hope came upon the Delectable Mountains from which they got a view of the Celestial City.
Click here to see the project pattern for Lately Arrived From London

The International Quilt Study Center and Museum owns several great examples of the Delectable Mountains pattern. Click here:
And here are examples from the Quilt Index
Cutting a variable star finishing to 14-1/4"
Corner squares - Cut 4 squares 4-1/8"
Large triuangles - Cut 1 square 8-3/8". Cut into 4 triangles with 2 diagonal cuts.
Small triangles. Cut 4 squares 4-3/8". Cut each into 2 triangles with one diagonal cut.
Center Square - Cut 1 square 7-4/8"
For these odd measurements you may have to do a little easing to get the star to fit the diagonal of the mountain blocks.


  1. These posts are just wonderful and so informative. I love your Seaflower fabric. I am also drawn to the blocks set on point to look like baskets and the quilt with the medallion center. In another post you mentioned "block base". To what does that refer?

  2. look in the left hand column and you'll find a link to BlockBase but it's temporarily backordered.

  3. Just a quick note to let you know that a link to this post will be placed on CraftCrave today [07 Aug 01:00am GMT]. Thanks, Maria

  4. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  5. Was told that you have block of the month section???? I can't find it Idaho