Saturday, August 31, 2013

Building Blocks quilt block

Building Blocks
May 1, 1933-Nancy Cabot introduced the Building Blocks quilt pattern in her Chicago Tribune column. Today, we would more likely know it as Tumbling Blocks.

Nancy explained that colonial quilt makers made the quilt of "any available materials, featuring only the light and dark of the design."  She goes on to say, "It will be prettier and you will like it better if you plan to piece it of lighter, daintier colors."

I did not make this block for my sampler but there's a lot of information available on how to make it.  Kaye Wood has a video showing how to sew the "y" seams needed to make this block.

Jinny Beyer has a video showing how to make the block both by machine and by hand.

And, a more modern approach to making this pattern can be found here.  There's even a pattern for paper piecing it here.

No matter how you make it, it's sure to create some type of optical illusion.  Here's a very interesting Pinterest board that's dedicated to Tumbling Block quilts.

Tomorrow-Tobacco Leaf

Friday, August 30, 2013

Custer's Last Stand quilt block

April 30, 1933-This Custer's Last Stand quilt block commemorates the Battle of Little Big Horn in 1876.

Nancy Cabot explains that "the quilt design, with it's square and surrounding triangles, is symbolic of the small group of American cavalrymen standing off the encircling Indians."

She goes on to tell of General Custer's widow's death in New York City on April 4, 1933!

This is another of those quilt blocks that I can not find any information on. I didn't make this block but I think it would be interesting to fussy cut motifs for the center.  Maybe, an I Spy quilt?

Here's what Custer's Last Stand looks like in a quilt-

Tomorrow-Building Blocks

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Dolly Madison Star quilt block

Dolly Madison Star
April 29, 1933-The Dolly Madison Star is named after the wife of our fourth president of the United States.  Nancy Cabot did not have much else to say about this pattern.

It is not a complicated block to make but at 6" finished, there are some very small pieces. I like it so much I decided to make it in spite of the tiny pieces.

Jinny Beyer has templates available on her website here for making a 6" block and directions for making the block here.  She has other size templates for this block available also.

I chose to paper piece mine.  You can download my pattern here.  I tried a couple different ways of paper piecing the block but ended up liking these triangle units the best.

sewn together
paper pieced

I also paper pieced the center 9 patch block because it was easier than cutting the 1.167" squares or strips needed to make the 2" 9 patch.  The corner background blocks are cut at 2 1/2" square.  The block goes together in rows like this-

I love this layout suggestion for using the Dolly Madison Star block.  It's from the Quilter's Cache and there are directions for making a 12" block here.

Tomorrow-Custer's Last Stand

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Old Antique quilt block

Old Antique
April 28,1933-Old Antique was the name given to this quilt in 1933 by it's owner , a nephew of the designer. The quilt was 90 years old at the time and no one knew what the designer had called it explains Nancy Cabot when writing about this quilt in her Chicago Tribune column.  She says the quilt was made in brown, yellow and unbleached muslin but does not state where the colors were used.  I assume the background was the muslin.

This is not a complicated block to make but at 6" finished the center square finishes at 4" which makes a strange size to cut for the center on-point square so I used a combination of techniques once again to make my block.

To make the center section, I started with a 4 1/2" square.
I paper pieced the small triangle corner sections and used the stitch and flip method to sew them to the center square like shown.  The upper left corner shows how to line up the corner with the block to sew your 1/4" seam and the lower right corner shows the corner after stitching, flipping and ironing it in place.

With the center section done, just add sashing and cornerstones.  The sashing strips are cut 1 1/2" wide by 4 1/2" long and the corner squares are cut as 1 1/2" squares.  Here's how the parts go together.  Just sew the rows together and you are done!  You can download the paper pieced corners here.  The pattern includes a template for the center  if you prefer to add the corners to an on point center instead of using the method I describe above.

I wonder how Nancy Cabot would have set this block.  On point makes the most sense to me.

Tommorrow-Dolly Madison Star

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Martha Washington Wreath quilt block

Martha Washington Wreath
April 27, 1933-The Martha Washington Wreath was "designed by a direct descendant of Martha Washington in 1840" which makes it "only of middle age compared with many of the old, old quilt designs we have already published and others which will appear in the future" suggests Nancy Cabot when writing about this block eighty years ago.

This is another applique block that I did not make but if you want to make it, you can download a drawing of the block here to make an applique pattern.

Eleanor Burns has a video here for making a 6" block without doing needle turn applique.  Her block is a little bit different but you can use her technique anyway.  She also shows an antique Martha Washington Wreath quilt that is a variation of this pattern.

Tomorrow-Old Antique

Monday, August 26, 2013

Friendship Knot quilt pattern

Friendship Knot
April 26, 1933- Nancy Cabot introduced the Friendship Knot quilt pattern in her Chicago Tribune column and sold it for "5 cents in stamps or coin."  She said it was also called Starry Crown and "was given to the quilt piecing world in 1861."

This has me confused because the way she drew it for her column (drawing at right) it would need to be appliqued, not pieced, since the background is all one piece..

In trying to research this pattern, I found it more common to have the area she shows at the center of each side as being in each corner not on the side.  It is also more commonly seen with the arc section pieced like this-

Check out the Q is for Quilter blog to see  more blocks like this along with some ideas on how it can be pieced.

I found one antique quilt that looks like the pattern Nancy shows except the arcs are pieced-

Each block has a name embroidered in the center. Nancy doesn't say anything about names being embroidered but it makes sense since it is called Friendship Knot.

You can download the applique pattern for a 6" inch block here.  It can be found in BlockBase as #4045.

Tomorrow-Martha Washington Wreath

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Daisy Swirl quilt block

April 25, 1933- The Daisy Swirl quilt block is the second Daisy pattern this month!  Remember Windblown Daisy?  Both blocks are applique blocks and modern for their time.

Nancy Cabot said that the Daisy Swirl block was "scarcely two years old" in 1933.  She predicted at that time that this pattern "may soon compete with "Double Wedding" and "Grandma's Garden."  Guess she was wrong about that as I can't find any references to this block, at least not by that name on the internet.  My guess is that it did not become very popular because there are 25 pieces to applique for each block!

You can download a drawing of this pattern if you wish to make an applique pattern.  The drawing is for a 6" block so just enlarge it if you want to make a larger block.

Tomorrow-Friendship Knot

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Skyrocket quilt block

April 24, 1933-Quilt Is Equally Effective in Vivid or Pastel Colors was the title of Nancy Cabot's Chicago Tribune article presenting the Skyrocket block.  This is one of my favorite blocks so far.  I see it as a nine patch pattern on point with pieced triangles on the corners.

Of this pattern, Nancy wrote, "The skyrocket pattern, if fitting to your personality and your general scheme of things, presents an opportunity for you to exhibit a showy burst of color in your quilt that will rival the brilliance of fireworks."

This statement made me think of the 4th of July and patriotic colors so I made my block in red, white and blue.

She also said the pattern was "quite adaptable to the popular powdery pastels used so much in modern interiors."

In making this block into a 6" block, I used paper piecing to avoid cutting odd size pieces.  I got so involved in making this very easy block that I forgot to take pictures along the way!  So here's the only one I got but at least it shows how it goes together. You can get the pattern here.

Eleanor Burns has a video making this block from templates. Watch it here.  It's on the second half of the video.

I also made the block using 2 1/2" squares which makes it very adaptable to using jelly roll, charm pack or layer cake pre-cuts.  It makes an 8 1/2" finished block.  I still used paper piecing for the corners because to me it's the easiest and fastest.  I hope to make a tutorial for making this block so stay tuned!

Skyrocket 8 1/2" block

I had been thinking about making a scrappy quilt using this block.  I did a search on the internet and look what I found! I love, love, love it!! I find it interesting that the quiltmaker made the center star and the sections I made in blue, scrappy.  This pattern for the block is however credited to Ruby McKim, another quilter writing patterns for a different newspaper in the 1930's.  I don't know if Ruby McKim showed the colors placed like this or the quiltmaker interpreted it this way.  That's the beauty of quilting.  You can make any quilt your own design.  And did she mean to cut off all the points in her border?

Click to go to the original article about the quilt by Barbara Brackman.
Tomorrow-Daisy Swirl

Friday, August 23, 2013

Stonewall Jackson quilt block

Stonewall Jackson
April 23, 1933-Courage of Gen. "Stonewall" Jackson Is Represented by Joined Star Points is the title of Nancy Cabot's column introducing the Stonewall Jackson quilt.  "Representing the powerful courage of Jackson, the accompanying quilt pattern shows the points of the star being joined together to make a solid wall" she wrote referring to the first Battle of Bull Run where "Jackson hurried to the rescue with five Virginia regiments and put up an indomitable resistance."

Nancy went on to say, "The design is difficult for the beginner, but is exceptionally beautiful when made up in blue and white."

This is another block that I can not find any images of.  I would assume it was just too hard to make.  It's really just multiple Star of Bethlehem or Lone Star blocks and my guess is that not many people would want to make multiples of those blocks!

Electric Quilt's BlockBase program does have a version of the block but it would not fit together in a quilt like Nancy Cabot's block would.  It can be found as #1061.5.  I have drawn it (above) as Nancy presented it.


Thursday, August 22, 2013

Job's Tears quilt block

Job's Tears
April 22, 1933-The Job's Tears quilt originated in New England before the revolution "as early as 1760" according to Nancy Cabot.  In 1819, it became known as "Slave Chain" due to "the great political disturbance" of admitting "Missouri to the Union and the subsequent problem of slavery" she wrote.  In 1840, it was called Texas Tears and by 1880, it was called Endless Chain.

This is another pattern that I can not find any examples of by any of the names it has been given.  However, it can be found in Electric Quilt's BlockBase program as #3079.

Nancy states,"The pieced blocks are always sewed together without intervening strips, and thus form an endless chain over the entire quilt."

I don't quite understand what she means by pieced blocks because here is a copy of her actual pattern and it looks like an applique pattern to me.  Their is no background pattern piece to sew in between the curves.

Her patterns that I have seen so far don't tell you how to make the blocks. But, back then they didn't have all the resources that we do today so I guess a quilter just knew to trace templates, cut the fabric and sew the pieces together, by hand quite often.

Here's an example of what I think a quilt made with this pattern might look like-

Tomorrow-Stonewall Jackson

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Double Pyramid quilt block

Double Pyramid 
April 21, 1933-The Double Pyramid quilt is "patterned after a lace design" and "always pieced in pink and white and of fine cloth-the quintessence of daintiness and refinement" wrote Nancy Cabot in her column introducing this quilt pattern which sold for "5 cents in stamp or coin" through the Chicago Tribune.;

Nancy said the quilt was first made in 1819 in Virginia and was "an excellent example of the exquisite needlework of the women of the south."

Double Pyramid can be found in Electric Quilt's BlockBase program as #1702 or Double Pyramid!

This is not a complicated block to make.  It's all triangles. I didn't make it as a 6" block because the pieces would be so tiny.  Each section of the nine patch block would only be 2" finished.  That's 16 little triangles in half of a 2" block!

Directions for making an 18" finished block can be found at

I found this antique quilt being sold at auction at some point.  It is dated 1875-1900 and is registered with the Iowa Historical Museum.  It's alternated with a square in a square block. I don't know if this was a typical setting or not.


Tomorrow-Job's Tears

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Sunny Jim quilt block

Sunny Jim
April 20, 1933-Sunny Jim could just as well been called "The Overall Boy" joked Nancy Cabot when introducing her pattern for this block, as she felt he seems "to be in a serous, thoughtful mood" with his sunny disposition "not so evident."  His hat was to be made from "a light yellow, straw colored material, his shirt of a peppy print, and the overalls of blue-either striped or plain."  I wonder what a peppy print looked like in 1933!

Since this is an applique pattern, I did not make the block.  You can download a drawing here to make an applique pattern if you would like to make this block.

Here's an old block I found that looks like Nancy's Sunny Jim block. You can see it used in a quilt and read more about it here.

Tomorrow-Double Pyramid

Monday, August 19, 2013

Jacob's Ladder quilt block

Jacob's Ladder
April 19, 1933-"When pieced in colors of striking color contrast, this pattern gives the impression of a series of ladders-"Jacob's Ladders"-running up and down and across the quilt or diagonally from corner to opposite corner, depending on the arrangement of the pieced blocks" wrote Nancy Cabot in her Chicago Tribune column.

She also says this block dates from "pre-revolutionary days" making it one of the oldest quilt patterns.  The blocks can be sewn together "in straight panels or in diamond fashion."

This block is made from 5 four patch blocks and 4 half square triangle blocks.  These individual blocks are each 2" finished when making a 6" finished block as I have done.  Use your favorite method for making each of the units of this block.

This block can be found in Electric Quilt's BlockBase program as 1695B. There's a video here for making the block using precuts.  It makes a 12" finished block.

I made a variation of this block (shown above) before I started this sew along and decided to use it in my sampler quilt instead a making a new block.  The difference in my block is the two contrasting squares at the corners of the block.  Nancy Cabot's version shows all of the blocks in the four patch units as being from the same fabric.

Here are some photos of quilts I made using a variation of this block when I did my Double Nickel Quilt Challenge-

I See Stars
Criss Cross Stars

Xavier's quilt
 and here are some layouts I considered when trying to arrange the blocks-

What's different about my blocks is that I reversed the traditional placement of light and dark and made the block scrappy!

Tomorrow-Sunny Jim

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Windblown Daisy quilt block

Windblown Daisy
April 18, 1933- Nancy Cabot describes the Windblown Daisy quilt block as being "one of the modern quilt designs."   She said to "borrow the beauty of the natural daisies for your design by proper selection and matching of colors and careful stitching of the pieces" in making this applique block. I think it looks modern even for today!

 This is another block that must not have been very popular as I can't find any antique quilts made using this block.

Since it is an applique block, I did not make it but the pattern can be downloaded here.

I wonder how Nancy suggested setting the blocks. Here are a couple of my ideas-

Tomorrow-Jacob's Ladder

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Queen Charlotte's Crown quilt block

Queen Charlotte's Crown
April 17, 1933-The Queen Charlotte's Crown block originated in Charlottesville, Virginia which was named in honor of Queen Charlotte of England, wife of George III.  Do you see the pair of crowns?

"In the migration of this pattern to Kentucky the name was changed to "Indian Meadow" and in Kentucky was "almost as popular as in it's home city" explained Nancy Cabot in her Chicago Tribune column.

A tutorial for making the Indian Meadow block can be found here.  It's for a 15" block but there is a good explanation of how the pieces get sewn together.  You can download my paper piecing pattern here.

This is how I made the Queen Charlotte's Crown block:

These are the pieces of my paper pieced pattern-

The parts get sewn together like this-

Before adding the half square triangle blocks, mark the seam allowances like this-

Sew to your mark like this-

to make two halves like this-

To sew these pieces together, I started in the middle and sewed from seam to seam before sewing each side as shown below.

You could also start at one end and sew to the seam allowance and then pivot the fabric around to line up your center and then pivot again at the end of the center section to line up the last edge.

Here's another way to make the block which is easier in some ways but made differently than Nancy Cabot presented it.  The tutorial is for a 10" block.
Here's a quilt that is linked to the tutorial also.  I love it!

Tomorrow- Windblown Daisy