Saturday, November 30, 2013

Beggar's Block quilt block

Beggar's Block
June 30, 1933-The Beggar's Block is from "pre-revolutionary days when materials were difficult to obtain. Needleworkers begged and bartered scraps from friends and neighbors; hence the name" wrote Nancy Cabot in her Chicago Tribune column when debuting her pattern for the Beggar's Block which sold for "5 cents in stamp or coin."

The Pennsylvania Dutch called it Cats and Mice and the midwest and southern states called it Scrap Bag.

She continued by saying, "No matter what the name, the pattern is a delight to the thrifty quilter."

I agree. I love this block! So much so that I have a pattern called Fluttering Around based on the Beggar's Block that I designed in early 2011 as one of the designs for my Double Nickel Quilt Challenge.

Fluttering Around
For those of you not familiar with my challenge, I challenged myself to figure out 55 ways to use 5" squares of fabric in my quilts during my 55th year.  My Fluttering Around quilt does not have the blank square in the center of the block like the original Beggar's Block.  It does however use up lots of scraps and or charm pack squares like the original block was intended to do. The quilt uses 199 5" squares of fabric for the 99 butterfly blocks (I think the block looks more like a butterfly) and scrappy border.  The pattern works great with 2 1/2" jelly roll strips also.  A pattern is available for immediate download here.

There is a whole post, from July 2012, about the Beggar's Block at Quilt Inspiration . There is also an old pattern here.

I made my 6" finished Beggar's Block differently than the larger block used in Fluttering Around.  I paper pieced the smaller block like this and it was very easy! The center is all one piece!

You can download the pattern for the 6" finished block paper pieced block here.  The Beggar's Block can also be found in Electric Quilt's Blockbase  program as #1758b.

Tomorrow-Linked Diamonds

Friday, November 29, 2013

Narcissus quilt block

June 29, 1933-"Narcissus" Quilt Pattern Making It's Debut Today was the title of Nancy Cabot's Chicago Tribune column eighty years ago on this day.  I wonder if that means she actually designed this block?

She says it had never before been published. She suggests the flowers "be white or cream white, with deep yellow centers, and the slender stems and leaves a cool green.  The ground color could be a pastel green if one wished a delicate, feminine effect."

This is an applique block that I chose not to make.

There is a link to a Narcissus quilt pattern by Nancy Cabot here.   I don't believe it's from her column on this date but probably from a future column.  The writing on the pattern is not the same as the article like it always has been before and the pattern is drawn a bit differently.  I guess we will see in the future.

Here's what the Narcissus quilt might look like if made according to Nancy Cabot's pattern-

She said to make 30 blocks that are 14" square with a 6" border on all sides.  I have not been able to find any quilts made with this pattern.

Tomorrow-Beggar's Block

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Martha Washington Star quilt block

Martha Washington Star
June 28, 1933-The Martha Washington Star quilt block was designed in colonial times to honor President George Washington's wife.

Nancy Cabot wrote, "The old examples of the design were pieced in the turkey reds so popular at the time, but any color scheme may be used."

She sold her Martha Washington Star quilt pattern for "5 cents in stamps or coins" as she did all her patterns to this date. Payment was to be sent to the Chicago Tribune where she wrote her daily column.


This is an easy block to make.  There are just three basic parts that you need four each of as shown in the photo at the right.

To make this 6" block, just follow the Martha Washington Star block tutorial at Emily's Homestead. The cutting and directions are correct but in the center pinwheel, the red and white fabrics are switched.  This appears to be a more common arrangement than the version Nancy Cabot presented.  I arranged my pinwheel Nancy's way.

I put my block together in rows like this-

There is an antique red, white a blue version of a Martha Washington Star quilt here and another version shown below from the Quilter's Cache.

Here's a two color Martha Washington Star quilt from Quilt Guy-

The pattern for this block can be found in Electric Quilt's Blockbase  program as #2147.


Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Compass quilt block

The Compass
June 27, 1933-Nancy Cabot wrote, "The designer of "The Compass" was a crippled veteran of the civil war, who whiled away the long tedious hours of his days making a quilt of this pattern for each of his fourteen grandchildren.  The quilt is a combination of piece work and applique."

I was able to find three old patterns for the Compass quilt here, here and here. You need to go to image 14 on the last link to see the Compass pattern.

All three patterns suggest using pink, green and white fabric when making this pattern.

The Compass block can be found in Electric Quilt's Blockbase  program as #3847.

I made this block but it was very difficult and took many, many hours.  Definitely not my best work. I started out using English paper piecing.  That wasn't a good choice because of the circles.  I ended up hand sewing the center to the two rings and appliqueing the block to the background.  I think the biggest problem was the 6" size that I have been making for my sampler.  The pieces are so small and there are so many of them. It would have gone together better and faster if I would have just hand pieced it. I think it would be able to be machine pieced if the block was made larger.  I can't recommend making it as a 6" block.

I found two quilts made from this block-

 This one is shown by Helen Cook on Craftsy.

 This was is from an expired ebay listing for the pattern for this quilt.

Tomorrow-Martha Washington Star

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

California Rose quilt block

California Rose
June 26, 1933-"California Rose" is not at all like a rose in construction, but if made in various shades of rose or yellow, with the star points in green, the resemblance to a large individual rose is clear." This sentence was all Nancy Cabot had to say about the California Rose quilt block in her Chicago Tribune column eighty years ago.

I was able to find a copy of Nancy's original pattern here and an even older pattern, entitled Rose Album, from the Ladies Art Company here.  The latter pattern is pieced while Nancy's pattern is an applique pattern.

I really like the look of this block but it is not an easy one and I'm not really sure how I would put it together. I decided not to try to make a 6" block for my sampler. I do hope to attempt a larger size at some point though.  If you've made this block, please let me know how!

The California Rose block can be found in Electric Quilt's Blockbase  program as #3651.

There are a couple of California Rose quilts here and here that have very different looks.

This is how Nancy's version might look-


Monday, November 25, 2013

Seth Thomas Rose quilt block

Seth Thomas Rose
June 25, 1933-The Seth Thomas Rose quilt pattern gets it's name from a rose design painted on the glass door of a clock.  Nancy Cabot wrote that "the design, although enlarged for quilt purposes, is identical with the clock decoration.  And in most quilts of this pattern we find even the original colors used."  The original colors were "brilliant reds and greens."

Nancy explained that Seth Thomas clocks were "a part of every pioneer family's household goods."

There is an old pattern, not Nancy Cabot's, called Seth Thomas Rose here.  It does vary a little from Nancy's pattern but it is the only example I can find.

There is one quilt in the Quilt Index called Seth Thomas Rose. It is a much simpler pattern than the one Nancy Cabot was selling however.

There is a little history about the block at Material Culture if want to read more.

I didn't make this block.  It was hard enough to draw!

Tomorrow-California Rose

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Old Maid's Patience quilt block

Old Maid's Patience
 June 24, 1933-Nancy Cabot had very little to say about the Old Maid's Patience quilt block on this day eighty years ago.

She simply noted that it was popular in colonial times as well as the 1930's when she was writing for the Chicago Tribune and that it kept it's original name throughout history.

As you can see, it is made up of four Lemoyne Star or Eight Point Star blocks.
That means in a 6" block like I have been making, each star finishes at 3".  I may be crazy but I decided to try it.  I knew I didn't want to do any "y" seams so I added some extra seams and decided to paper piece it. It works great!

Each star block is made from eight of the pieces shown at the top of the photo at the right and sewn together in four sections as shown at the bottom of the photo. You can download the pattern I used here.  The Old Maid's Patience block can also be found in Electric Quilt's Blockbase  program as #3736a.

I found old quilts here and here. The second one is called Old Maid's Patience but it's not obvious to me that four of these stars are in each block as it is in the first quilt.

Tomorrow-Seth Thomas Rose

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Golden Rose of Virginia quilt block

Golden Rose of Virginia
June 23, 1933-"During the early days of Virginia the Order of the Golden Rose was given to several deserving colonists as a reward of merit by the king of England.  Some imaginative and enterprising needlewoman used the emblem as the motif of her quilt pattern.  Known as the "Golden Rose of Virginia," it is still a popular design."

The quote above is Nancy Cabot's entire Chicago Tribune column for the day which she titled, English Order of Golden Rose Quilt Inspiration.

 Even though Nancy claims it was a popular design, I have not been able to find any examples of this block made into a quilt. Maybe it had another name?

I did find an old pattern by Ruby McKim entitled Rose Applique that is very similar.  Look at image 10 in the link. Ruby McKim's pattern calls for 21 applique blocks and 21 plain blocks. She suggested having the stems point to the sides. This is what I think it would look like-

I chose not to make this block for my sampler quilt.

Tomorrow-Old Maid's Patience

Rocky Mountain Puzzle quilt block

Rocky Mountain Puzzle
June 22, 1933-The Rocky Mountain Puzzle block started out being called Mountain Puzzle when it was originally designed in the hills of Kentucky according to Nancy Cabot in her Chicago Tribune column.

She also noted that it was called Ozark Mountains in the state of Missouri but became more commonly known as Rocky Mountain Puzzle because "it was in the Rocky mountain section that it finally established and maintained residence.

The pattern was sold for "5 cents in stamp or coin" and were ordered through the Chicago Tribune as all of her patterns to date have been.

Here's a fun, bright modern version of a Rocky Mountain Puzzle quilt here at a little gray.  Novelty prints are used in the center of the block which I think is a great idea!  Makes a fun little I Spy quilt without having to collect so many novelty print fabrics.

Here's another version, set on point with sashing and cornerstones at Lisa Bongean's Weblog. (It's at the bottom of her post.)

Such different looks but I love them both!  It's a super simple block to make even at the 6" size I am using for this sewalong.  You just need to make ten half square triangle blocks that will finish at 1 1/2" using any method you like, cut three 2" squares of background fabric for the corners and center, and cut 1 1/4" wide strips to border the center 2" square.  It doesn't really matter how you add the strips to the center as long as the center finishes at 3". Put the pieces together in rows like this-

Super easy! A pattern for an 8" block can be found at Quilters Cache if you want to make a larger size.

Tomorrow-Golden Rose of Virginia


Friday, November 22, 2013

Aster quilt block

June 21, 1933-The Aster flower design was "comparatively new" in 1930 when Nancy Cabot introduced her pattern in the Chicago Tribune.

She suggested  a color scheme "with the petals cut of two contrasting colors and pieced sunburst fashion around a standard yellow center ; or all of the innumerable colors of the gay aster may be used."

The fabrics I used in my Aster quilt block came from a vintage Aster block like this one that I had in my stash!

Vintage Aster block

The block was poorly made so I just cut it apart and used each petal to make a smaller one for my 6" block. I decided to use the standard yellow center.

I almost didn't make this block because the petals are so small but it went together quite easily.

I used spray sizing to make the little pieces of feed sack fabric very stiff which I think helped tremendously.  I used invisible thread and a very small zigzag stitch to attach the applique to the background block.  I hand stitched the center though.  I think it's easier to applique a circle by hand because I feel like I have a little more control over it's shape. I love the look of this little block!

We would more commonly know this design today as Dresden Plate.  There's a beautiful Dresden Plate quilt at Eagle's Wings Quilts

There is an example of an Aster quilt  here, a very scrappy version here and a friendship version with names here.

To make your own Aster or Dresden Plate quilt block, you can watch a video tutorial by Missouri Star Quilt Company or follow this written tutorial at Ginger Quilts.

There is an old pattern for the Aster block, attributed to The Progressive Farmer, that shows that the petals were not stitched like shown in the tutorials mentioned above.  The edges were turned under like any other applique pattern of the day.  Here's the back of an old block I have that is done this traditional way-

The Aster block can be found in Electric Quilt's Blockbase program as #3485.  You can download my templates for a 6" block here.  There is a petal included for both the traditional applique method and the more modern version of sewing a seam to make the point as shown in the tutorials mentioned above.  I used the wedge shape template and sewed a seam.

Tomorrow-Rocky Mountain Puzzle

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Japanese Lantern quilt block

Japanese Lantern
June 20, 1933-Interesting Quilt Will Utilize All Small Remnants was the title of Nancy Cabot's column introducing the Japanese Lantern quilt pattern.

It was a new design and is both pieced and appliqued. The center lantern is pieced from diamonds and then appliqued to the pieced background.

She said, "it will enable the needleworker to use the many small scraps of prints left over from other quilting bees."

You can see a copy of Nancy's pattern here. The blocks are to be 12" finished. It calls for 20 pieced blocks and 12 plain blocks set on point with a 6" border on all sides.

There is an interesting quilt here with Japanese Lantern blocks set on point and another variation here without the cornerstones.

This is another block I decided not to make for my sampler.


Mexican Star quilt block

Mexican Star
June 19, 1933-The Mexican Star "is an easy one to piece" wrote Nancy Cabot about today's quilt pattern in her Chicago Tribune column eighty years ago.

Star patterns were so popular that the Mexican Star pattern "was borrowed from Mexico" even though "domestic star patterns are almost innumerable" she wrote.

Eleanor Burns has a tutorial for making a 16" Mexican Star block here.

There are several quilts made with Mexican Star blocks at The Quilt Index.  Here are some links-
sashing and cornerstoones
no sashing
wide sashing
multiple sashing

I put my 6" block together the same way Eleanor Burns' tutorial shows but using templates which you can download.  Here are all the pieces of the block  in various stages all in the same block-

There are several ways the pieces can be sewn together.  I chose to make each half of the block from the three units I show in the upper right hand corner of the photo but sew them together any way that makes sense to you.

The block can be found in Electric Quilt's Blockbase program as #2937.

Tomorrow-Japanese Lantern

Monday, November 18, 2013

Queen's Crown quilt block

Queen's Crown
June 18, 1933-The Queen's Crown quilt pattern comes from the hills of Tennessee where Nancy Cabot believed that the women "tiring of the old quilt patterns and unable to secure new ones, simply designed their own by combining two or more of the old ones."

I didn't make this block.  The little nine patch block in the corners would finish at 1.2" in a 6" block and each square would finish as .4". too small for me!

Nancy's original pattern can be seen here. It calls for a 15" block, which I think is a more appropriate size for the Queen's Crown block, and there are directions for making a 15" block here.

The quilt layout below is a layout shown with those block directions.

Queen's Crown quilt
There are directions and a video for making a lap size quilt here.  It's made from one giant block!

The Queen's Crown block can be found in Electric Quilt's Blockbase  program as #1818.

Tomorrow-Mexican Star

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Lady of the Lake quilt block

Lady of the Lake
June 17, 1933-The origin of the Lady of the Lake quilt pattern was the "subject of much debate" wrote Nancy Cabot in her Chicago Tribune column.

She went on to say, "If you plan to piece the blocks of a dainty pastel tone combined with a matching print, the quilt is sure to be as charming and lovely as the poem, "Lady of the Lake"-it's namesake."

This is not the pattern we would think of today as Lady of the Lake and I have not been able to find any examples of a block or quilt made like Nancy Cabot's block.

I did find an old pattern entitled Galahad's Shield that has a note on it about it being called Lady of the Lake by Nancy Cabot though.  The pattern is for a 12" block and is attributed to The Progressive Farmer. The quilt is to be made of 20 pieced quilt blocks to be set with 20 alternate plain white blocks and a 6" wide white border.

I made my 6" block by paper piecing it.  Here are the parts-

Sew the center of the block before adding the corners-

You can download my pattern here. The Lady of the Lake block can also be found in Electric Quilt's Blockbase program as #2493.

Tomorrow-Queen's Crown

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Flying Swallows quilt block

Flying Swallows
June 16, 1933-The Flying Swallows quilt pattern originated in 1830 in Long Island, New York according to Nancy Cabot.  It was pieced in red and white in those days she explained.  The design is "four swallows with wings outspread" she wrote.

The Flying Swallows block is a variation of the Wandering Foot or Turkey Tracks block from February 5, 1933.  The addition of the diamond in the center of the block is the only difference. The Mississippi Oak Leaves quilt block from April 5, 1933 is yet another variation but more complicated.

Since this block is so similar to the blocks mentioned above, I didn't make it.  You can download the pattern for it here if you wish to make it though.  Piece the center of the block and then follow this wonderful tutorial at Scrappy n Happy.  The block can also be found in Electric Quilt's Blockbase program as #3107.

There is a Flying Swallows block made exactly as Nancy described it here and a quilt made from this block here. The quilt was made as a friendship quilt. Names are embroidered or written in ink in the center of each block. A year is included with each name showing the quilt was made in the 1860's! The quilt also has some very interesting sashing between the blocks.

Tomorrow-Lady of the Lake

Friday, November 15, 2013

Old Maid's Puzzle quilt block

Old Maid's Puzzle
June 15, 1933-"Today's pattern, "Old Maid's Puzzle," is a simple design to work and would be more suitable for the busy bachelor girl of today to pick up in her rare spare moments" wrote Nancy Cabot in her Chicago Tribune column in reference to today's block.

I agree that it's a super simple block.  For a 6" Old Maid's Puzzle block, just make two half square triangle blocks that finish at 3" for opposite corners.  The remaining corners are four patch blocks made from two 2" squares and two half square triangle blocks that finish at 1 1/2".  Just refer to the photo of my block for placement of the blocks.

There's a really scrappy Old Maid's Puzzle quilt here.  Be sure to check out this quilt that's set on point.  Note that the four patch blocks are turned differently than Nancy Cabot's block. See the block that is made wrong? I wonder if that was on purpose?

I made my 6" block following the drawing that Nancy Cabot included in her column.  She showed a print fabric for the large triangles, a solid fabric for the small triangles and a light background. The Old Maid's Puzzle block can be found in Electric Quilt's Blockbase program as #1314a.

Tomorrow-Flying Swallows

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Hollyhock Wreath quilt pattern

Hollyhock Wreath
June 14, 1933-The Hollyhock Wreath was the pattern introduced by Nancy Cabot eighty years ago today.

She said it is an old design that originated in the south where hollyhocks are seen in every garden.

She recommended each wreath be made a different color. "All the gay yellows, pinks, orchids, reds, and purples of the hardy hollyhocks, and their intermediate shades, can be used in piecing the "Hollyhock Wreath" she wrote.

There is a copy of her original pattern here at the Quilt Index.  Her block finished at 16" square.  Her Hollyhock Wreath quilt was to be made from 20 blocks with 3" wide sashing and a 6" border.  She also called out yellow for the center of each flower.

I also found a quilt made with Nancy's block here.

Tomorrow-Old Maid's Puzzle

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Double T quilt block

Double T or Four T's
June 13, 1933-Plain Tones Used in "Double T" by Modern Quilter was the title of Nancy Cabot's Chicago Tribune column eighty years ago on this day.

Nancy explained that the Double T pattern came from Carolina in early colonial days and was also known as Four T's.

"Now examples of this pattern are made in plain colors with quite as much charm as the quaint prints used by our grandmothers," she wrote.

I decided to use a vintage print to make my block and made my block very differently from the traditional way.

Here is a link to a pattern by Ruby McKim, a contemporary of Nancy Cabot, showing how the block would have been made in the past.  You need to go to image 13 of the link to see the pattern.  There is an antique block made this way at the Spencer Museum of Art.

I made mine like this-

Very easy! You can download the paper pieced pattern here. The Double T block pattern can be found in Electric Quilt's Blockbase program as #2901a.

Tomorrow-Hollyhock Wreath

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Fish Block quilt block

Fish Block
June 12, 1933-Seacoast Towns of Maine Home of Fish Design was the title of Nancy Cabot's column on this day.

She was referring to the Fish Block which she believed came "from the little fishing villages and seacoast towns of Maine where the livelihood of the inhabitants comes from the sea."

Nancy felt the pattern showed "a great deal of imagination and originality."

Here are the basic pieces I used to make this block-

The section in the center of the photo that is pieced was made by paper piecing.  This is not a block for a beginner quilter in my mind.  Most of the seams are inset and the pieces are very small.  It took me a long time to make the block but I love the look of it!  I agree with Nancy that it is very original.

Here's an interesting Fish Block I found at Merrily As I Go

You can download the templates I used here.  I think this block would be a good candidate for English paper piecing or hand sewing because of all the "y" seams.

There are templates for a 12" Fish Block here.  Looks much easier at that scale!

The Fish Block can be found in Electric Quilt's Blockbase program as #3828.

Tomorrow-Double T

 Craftsy 25% Off Food Classes during November 

Monday, November 11, 2013

Another Butterfly quilt

Remember this Butterfly block? Nancy Cabot introduced her pattern using the Butterfly block back on March 11, 1933.  Quite different than yesterday's Pieced Butterfly block that was introduced on June 11, 1933.

Well, Karen sent me this picture of her quilt made from the Butterfly block.  I love it!  She plans on making another quilt using the Pieced Butterfly pattern too.  Can't wait to see it!!

If you have made anything using one of the blocks from this blog, I'd love to share it with my readers.  Send me an email to

On another note, I have updated The Blocks page to make it easier to search the blog when trying to find a certain block.  There are pictures of each block with a link to the post about that particular block.  The Blocks page can be accessed by clicking on The Blocks tab at the top of each page of this blog.  So far it's updated through May but I hope to add the newest blocks soon.

Happy quilting!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Pieced Butterfly quilt block

Pieced Butterfly
June 11, 1933-Design Answers Quilt Fancier's Request for Pieced Butterfly is the title of Nancy Cabot's column in the Chicago Tribune eighty years ago.  Nancy was introducing the Pieced Butterfly block.  "If pieced from gay, dainty prints this design will make a quilt quite as lively and colorful as the frivolous butterflies themselves" she wrote.  She also says this pattern was developed specifically because of requests from quilters for a new pieced butterfly pattern.  I wonder if this means Nancy Cabot designed this one herself?

I love this block!  I think it's a great one to make from all those scraps we quilters seem to have.

You can download a paper pieced pattern for the 6" Pieced Butterfly block here.

Here are the parts of the pattern-2 paper pieced sections and one template-

This block goes together very quickly. I'm sure I'll use it in other projects, maybe a whole quilt of butterflies?

I used more fabrics from my little bag of vintage scraps that I bought on my way home from Texas.

The Pieced Butterfly block can be found in Electric Quilt's Blockbase program as #922.

I found this antique quilt at Cindy's Antique Quilts-

There is another wonderful example at the Quilt Index.  It has sashing and cornerstones for a very different look.  See it here.

Tomorrow-Fish Block

Friday, November 8, 2013

Indian Canoes quilt block

Indian Canoes
June 10, 1933-Both Indiana and Illinois claim credit for creating the Indian Canoes quilt block according to Nancy Cabot.  Handmade birch bark canoes made by the American Indians were the inspiration for this design.  "The broken square formed by the crossing of the canoes usually was pieced of bright colors by early quilt makers to represent the emblem which the tribal chiefs used on their canoes" she wrote.  The quilt  pattern using the Indian Canoes block sold for "5 cents in stamp or coin."

An antique pattern can be found here.  Image #3 suggests the background be made from a print with the other two pieces being made of two shades of solid fabric.

This block can be found in Electric Quilt's Blockbase program as Crossed Canoes.  You can download templates for a 6" block from Jinny Beyer here.  She has 10" and 12" versions available also.

I made my block by paper piecing it.  I found this great link to the 6" paper pieced patterns at 365 Paper Pieced Quilt Blocks made exactly the way I made my Indian Canoes block shown below-

Check out this scrappy version of an Indian Canoes quilt with sashing here.

Tomorrow-Pieced Butterfly