Friday, March 10, 2017

Quilters Who Don't Think Like We Do

Mid 20th-century?


We are, perhaps, overly concerned with symmetry today.

Late 19th century.
I left the ducks all in a row in the bottom of the photo
as the blocks are not quite so well organized.

I'd guess we emphasize symmetry mainly because we are used to seeing quilts flat out on a wall or in a photo.

Late -19th- century.

What the heck.


Early 20th century.

Mid-20th Century


Although some of us still have a devil-may-care attitude
towards the whole matchy-matchy idea.

Smazoochie posted this some years ago
and said she wasn't ripping.

As did Margie who says she's leaving it in.
Going against the current current.


  1. "Do it once, it's a mistake. Do it twice, it's a design element." I have a 19th-century top in my collection that I show as an example of a UFO. It's all flying geese with their noses nipped. More than that, the columns of geese have a definite taper so that one end of the top is considerably narrower than the other.

  2. I have one like that too. It's like she added a goose in each column and the top curves to the left.

  3. Fabulous post! I enjoy life's little mistakes because I make so many of them. I love Nann's comment and I like to think that all of my mistakes are simply design elements. Thanks Barbara and thanks Nann!

  4. Love the quirks of antique quilts - so much more personality than the current perfection.

  5. Yes, some of those old quilts are head-scratchers -- "What was she thinking?"
    Don't you think the lack of a design wall might have had something to do with it? That & making a quilt for a specific bed, one against the wall -- what's the point of making patchwork that won't be seen.
    Thanks for the shout out! I'm really pleased you read my blog!
    p.s. I am Millie C.'s daughter-in-law.

  6. I have a friend who put a quilt in our local show that had a flying geese patch set in backwards. She put on her description of the quilt that it had an error in it. People spent more time looking at her quilt than any other quilt in the show. They were looking for her "error"!

  7. So many current currents in quilt making.

  8. HOW FUN!!! I like "matchy matchy"!!!!

  9. I prefer symmetry in ALL areas of my life, not just quilting. I prefer things to be balanced, so I don't fall off the edge. =)

  10. I guess I'll be the odd quilter out.
    I've been a left brained person for most of my life, so I could never live with most of the exampled quilts. Before EQ I would redraft blocks until they fit into whatever size quilt I was making, even if it meant cutting very odd sized templates.
    I could probably live with the last 2 and even the quilt with the ducks; I would tuck the half blocks on the right side up under the pillows :)
    That 2nd quilt has that lovely appliqued border, but those half stars make me cry. I would have cut the stars on the right and bottom in half and centered the panel or made 8 starts and staggered them so there was a row of 3, a row of 2 and another of 3. The mid 19th century quilt with the red white and green pieced circles would have looked great if the quilter had added half of the right border onto the left side, but maybe it worked on her bed?

    My grandmother made quilts for her family with her sewing scraps, there were a few quilts that were a tiny bit off (mostly due to random color placement and a few points cut off) and I can appreciate them, because as frugal as she was (purchased fabric was 'dear'), she would have found another way around these problems. Maybe she was left brained too ;)

  11. So many possibilities for why - bed size, fabric supply or lack of, honest mistake, trying too hard to make it work, salvaging a damaged quilt.... But I rarely see mentioned the reason of "I'm SO tired of working on this @#$% quilt! I'm DONE making blocks!" which would probably be my biggest reason.

  12. I have an idea with regard to the circle/plates/flower one - a lady sews a pretty quilt for her daughter but by the time it's ready, the daughter has moved to a bigger bed. Not giving up, the mother adds more circles and hey presto it's ready - but the daughter has now married and has a double bed (or bigger) and so it's a case of I give up, I'm just adding a huge plain border around the sides and that's it!

    Oh I have one myself with snub corners on the triangles - I cut them and trimmed them so many times and still never worked so they are staying in. It makes me cringe terribly but my daughter is happy - which is the main thing.

    I seem to remember someone saying (sorry - don't remember who) that it's never a mistake, just a little bit different.

  13. I hardly ever comment, but you should know I think your posts are a scream. I almost always "snortle" (concurrent snorts and chuckles). xoxo

  14. I've done that! Let's show that this was human made, not computer made, there will be mistakes! I too have put mistakes quilts in quilt shows, and mention on the label that there is a mistake, and people DO spend a LOT of time looking for them. heheheh!

  15. I think those quilt have more personality than boring perfectly made quilts. I made simple nine patch quilt years ago using blue fabrics for all the patches and a white with blue print for the background. I put one red square in one of the patch blocks. I took it to quilt group and there was this one elderly lady who said "I can fix that for you." Everyone laughed.