Thursday, February 28, 2013

How I Use BlockBase: Quick Quilts

 Granny's Choice by Becky Brown

Last year when Becky and I were working out blocks for the Grandmother's Choice sampler I did a BlockBase search under wild card for the word Granny and the program came up with three options. She thought this one---Granny's Choice (#2309) from the Kansas City Star in 1948---was an interesting block. Wouldn't it make an great allover design?

The easiest way to see how the design worked as a quilt is to use the Quick Quilt view in BlockBase. You click on the block and then right click and this menu comes up. Highlight Quick Quilt and it will show you 16 blocks at once.

It would indeed make a complex design with the corners forming pinwheels. I imported the block to EQ7 and did some fooling around with repeats and shading. I liked the on-point set so I saved some images and sent them to her.

I thought it would be a good place to use the 2-1/2" Jelly Roll strips, Moda precuts. Now, the only way I know to figure out how to make a block that uses strips cut to 2-1/2" is by trial and error.

I click on the block in BlockBase and go to 
>Rotary Cutting
I started with a 12 inch block and hit Preview.
It didn't work. 
The strips and squares would have to be cut 2-5/8". Too big.
So I changed the width and height to 11.5.

It says cut the strips and squares 2-1/2". Perfect!
Well, 11-1/2" blocks may be hard to work out in samplers but for an all-over block quilt it's not a problem.

Becky, being a very skilled seamstress, decided to reduce the block size to 6-1/2" for this quilt. It's 36" x 48" right now and she is going to add a 6" border to make it 48" x 60", a good size for her favorite project, making quilts for hospitalized veterans. She's been encouraging her friends to use a larger version for the gift quilts.

UPDATE: Here's one she just sent with the 2-1/2" strips.

If you don't have BlockBase click on the diagram above and it will tell you the cutting directions for an 11-1/2" block. A free pattern perfect for all your 2-1/2" strips.

See the Grandmother's Choice block of the week here:

Monday, February 25, 2013

Color Blocking: Quilts, Fashion and Art History

Amish Quilt

I don't pay much attention to Fashion Week but here's a look I can live with---color blocking. As far as I can tell this means mixing wardrobe pieces across the color wheel rather than mixing shades or values of one hue. I like it.

Tied wool comforter

Amish quilt
The color is great and reminds me why Amish quilts are so classic.
 I am not doing belts however.

Another variation of the Color Blocking trend is patchwork clothing--- which can be figure flattering or not. Contemplating the above garments I had a flashback to 1965.

When I was in college I had dresses a lot like this

The designer of these museum pieces was André Courrèges
My knockoffs, I believe, came from Macy's basement
but were no less fashionable.

See more about André Courrèges at the Victoria and Albert Museum site:

A major influence on these geometric dresses was the art of Piet Mondrian, here reflected in a series from 1965 by Yves Saint Laurent.

Detail of Mondrian's Broadway Boogie Woogie painting

Kenneth Noland 

The fashion influence was modern art.

Log Cabin, about 1930

Which had much in common with classic patchwork.

Ellsworth Kelly, High Yellow
In the '60s these were called Color Field Paintings. Kelly was the master.

Mennonite Quilt

Ellsworth Kelly, Red/Blue
The paintings were a little too cool for me at the time.
I was in the throes of abstract expressionism.

Amish Quilt

Then I had another flashback.

Sonia Delaunay was doing these 
Rhythme series paintings decades earlier.

Three Graces

And she was designing similar clothing in the 1920s.
Read more about Delaunay here:

I guess all fashion is one flashback after another.

Here are today's Moda Quilt-Along  Bloggers for February 25th:
Kathy Schmitz

Edyta- LaundryBasket

 Lauren & Jessi Jung

Friday, February 22, 2013

Washington Bicentennial Quilts

Today is the anniversary of George Washington's birth in 1732. In 1932 the Bicentennial of his birth was a national celebration, inspiring a few quilts.

Washington Bicentennial Quilt
by Carrie A. Hall
Spencer Museum of Art

Much of the Washington imagery in the 1930s focused on the charming story of his chopping down a cherry tree when he was a child.

A myth that painter Grant Wood celebrated in 
"Parson Weems's Fable" in 1939

Do note that George looks the same at 6 in the painting as he does on a dollar bill.
Read more about the painting at the Amon Carter Museum website:

The idea of the cherry tree, the hatchet and the honest child persists although it was a story made up by Parson Weems pictured at right above.

I've been collecting photos of quilts made during that Bicentennial celebration in the early 1930s. This top may be one of a kind.

Here's a detail of a similar idea, better executed, from Cindy's Quilts.
Click here to see the whole quilt:

Detail showing the hatchet and a cherry tree

The Louisiana Folklife Project documented a quilt called "Our George's Cherry Tree," possibly from the early 1930s.  The detail is fuzzy but it's a rather graceful cherry tree with a hatchet floating around....See it at the Quilt Index site here:

And years ago collector Donna Stickovich sent me this one.
I still don't know what to make of it.
I can't imagine this was a commercial pattern.

Center of Carrie Hall's quilt

Click here to see Hall's quilt at the Spencer Museum site:

She used a published pattern by the mother/daughter team of Lydia LeBaron Walker and Mary Evangeline Walker who had a needlework column in the early thirties.

Their Cherry Tree is #838 in BlockBase

The center applique, the gray hatchet border and the trees were part of the Walkers' design, as was the blue patchwork border, which they called Washington Pavement.

The Walkers also did another Washington pattern called Tree and Truth

#3278 in BlockBase...
 in case you ever want to make one.

Read more about the Walkers at Wilene Smith's Quilt History Tidbits website:

Here is another odd design to remember George:
The George Washington Cherry Tree from Sophie LaCroix in 1916.
Blockbase #850

This weeks' Grandmother's Choice pattern blog discusses another meaning for the hatchet image. Click here to read about Carrie Nation and her "Hatchetations."

Happy Birthday, George.

And don't forget to check out the Moda Quilt-Along Blocks for today, February 22, 2013.

Kaari-French General

Lynne-Kansas Troubles

Kate Spain