Sunday, February 28, 2016

Orchard House-Alcott Quilts and Document Prints

If you visit Orchard House, the home of the Alcotts in Concord, Massachusetts, you may
come across one of Abba May Alcott's quilts in the bedrooms.

Louisa May Alcott's Orchard House is
a popular museum.

The museum owns several quilts attributed to Louisa May Alcott's Marmie, Abigail May Alcott. The Quilt Index has photos of Louisa's family quilts documented by the Massachusetts project. These were donated to the museum by Alcott descendents. Some of them qualify Abigail May Alcott as: "Possible quiltmaker/ no solid evidence."

But the quilts are certainly old enough to have been
made by Abigail who was born in 1800 and died in 1877.
These quilts seem to be from the year's of Abba's young womanhood,
raising a family on a limited budget.

Links to the Quilt Index files attributed to Abigail May Alcott:


My latest Moda reproduction collection Old Cambridge Pike pays tribute to the Alcotts and the other New England intellectuals in their circle. Below are three prints named for them.

"Abigail May" is an all-over design, a print that
imitates a woven brocade with an exotic floral and vine.

The document print is the orangey-red at the top above.
The silhouettes are of unknown people
but I imagine them as Bronson Alcott reading his ideas
to Abba while she does her work.

"Orchard" is a small geometric---or are those fruit? It's
the classic mid-century everyday print,
a simple figure in a diagonal, spaced repeat.
The original document print was madder-dyed shades:
brown/black to light red with 
a blue accent.

We did it in three madder shades and a blue ground too.

#8327 "Good Wives" is named for a lesser-known book, a  sequel to Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. It's often published in a 2-volume combination with Little Women.

The document print was this heart on a stem.
My scrap was chrome yellow but you often see this print
in madder shades. We did it in colors across the
palette in Old Cambridge Pike.
It's a tiny print, perfect for backgrounds.

I'm using Goodwives as binding right now.

See two other posts about pieces and patterns named for the Alcotts here:


This old postcard of Orchard House says
"I walked by here Saturday afternoon..."

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Two Dots - Two Moons

I can't find a published pattern for this old
quilt, which looks to be from the 1930-1960 era.

I've been putting dot quilts on my Facebook page for Georgann's
birthday week this week. She is fond of dots.
But this one is so good it needs more words and pictures.

It's a lot like BlockBase # 1504 or 1505

Air Ship pattern from the Ohio Farmer in 1911

From a sampler quilt dated 1846

But the two circles are not the same size.

It's a small circle and a larger circle.

Which is easy enough to draw in EQ7

So I did.
Here's a layout for 16" blocks. If you make a 6 x 6 grid of 36 blocks your quilt would
be 90".

Or if you make 12" block you can put 49 together for an 84" square quilt.

I thought I'd name it Martian Moons since
Mars has two moons.

Here's a template pattern for one quarter of the 16" finished block.
You could always draw your own in EQ7.
Or draw a square and trace two plates, one larger than the other.
Do add seams to the templates.

Create a word file or a new empty JPG file that is 8-1/2" x 11".
Click on the image above.
Right click on it and save it to your file.
Print that file out 8-1/2" x 11". The sides of the square should measure 8".
 Adjust the printed page size if necessary. It really doesn't matter if it's a little smaller as long as the square is square. 

Here's another variation. This one in polyester I believe
has a full circle pieced in for the large moon.

The pattern must have been published with a name once or twice.

Dottie Barker sleeps under my desk.

And while we are on the topic of dots:
(Aren't we always?)
Look at this post and scroll down for dots, dots, dots.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Tessellations 8 ---What won't work

Perhaps like me, you have learned the hard way
that an 8-sided shape won't tessellate.
Octagons need other pieces to cover the surface.
Above a traditional quilt pattern with octagons plus diamonds...

Octagons and squares.

Squares fill the gaps well.

Squares and long hexagons.

Once we get above six sides we are into shapes that do not tessellate.
No charm quilts below.

Regular polygons:
5 = Pentagon
6 = Hexagon
7 = Heptagon
8 = Octagon
9 = Nonagon
10 = Decagon

We have  added to our vocabulary if not
our repertoire for tessellating charm quilts.

Pentagon and Heptagon

These complex shapes, however, do make interesting pattern when combined with other shapes. You rarely see them in antique quilts but there are lots of ideas on the web for pattern with Nonagons and Heptagons, etc.

A ring of heptagons

A decagon

A paper-pieced decagon.
Buy the pattern from Endulzar's Etsy Shop

Tessellations: Next-Curves

Long hexagons---6 sided shapes

(You may have noticed I have skipped the 6-sided shapes---hexagons---in discussing pattern that will tessellate or cover a surface with one piece. That's because it is such an ENORMOUS category. I am still working on sorting it all out. )

Friday, February 19, 2016

Grandmother's Choice-Lura's Choice

Vicki's finished her second Grandmother's Choice sampler.

Lura's Choice by Vicki Welsh, 2016
69 x 92"

You may recall the Block of the Week we did in 2012-2013.

Vicki's pieced the blocks from her hand-dyed fabrics
and quilted it on her Innova Longarm

This one's for her grandmother Lura,
here with her twin Lillian.

Do read more about the quilt and Lura here on Vicki's blog:

If you are going to the Mid-Atlantic Festival next week in Virginia look for Vicki's quilt.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Alice's Scrapbag: Papa's Kerchief

I noticed on Etsy that Cheryl at Willow Ridge Quilts is offering a 49" square quilt pieced from Alice's Scrapbag.

In my imaginary scrapbag, the family clothing cottons from which Alice Browne made
her four-patch quilt, we have Papa's Kerchief.

Alice's Scrapbag from Moda

I named each print after an article of clothing that might
have wound up in the scrapbag.

Men often wore a kerchief around their necks, but a neck scarf instead of a necktie was work wear or casual wear---not formal wear for the photographer. When we see a period photo of a man in a kerchief it's often an occupational photo, a man dressed in his work clothing.

Neck scarves were often of paisley pattern,
as in the print picked for Papa's Kerchief.

The paisley comes in four colorways.

You sometimes see neck kerchiefs as part of an official uniform, as in this sailor's portrait.

Or in unofficial uniforms as in this cowboy wanna-be
dressed up in the photographer's props.

 Women also wore neck kerchiefs. This one looks like a classic bandana.

A look Moda's captured in Bunk House Bandanas.

Possibly a European nursemaid with her charge.

Kerchiefs were also headwear,
particularly for African-American women,
slave or free. This example is a classic polka dot.

A look the cowboys loved too.

Gene Autry, the Singing Cowboy

Here's the link to Cheryl's quilt.