Thursday, February 28, 2013

Improved Nine Patch quilt block

Improved Nine Patch
February 28, 1933-Nancy Cabot introduced the Improved Nine Patch quilt block to her readers in the Chicago Tribune.

The nine patch block is "improved" by stretching the four corners and adding "melon shaped pieces at two opposite sides," she explained.

When pieced with the melon shapes at each side, a ring pattern emerges.  Since I am using this block in a sampler quilt, I used only half a melon on each of the four sides.

Click here to see what I think is a wonderful example of how this quilt block was intended to be made.

You can get the templates I used for my six inch block here.  I have included a melon shaped patch if you are interested in making more than one block.  I made my block using three fabrics but Nancy Cabot showed it using only two.  She had the four blocks that are white here matching the four melon shapes at the edge.  Both of my print fabrics are feedsack material from vintage quilt blocks.

This block is not hard to make.  Just sew your nine center pieces together like you were making a regular nine patch block and then sew a melon or half melon to each side.  The curve is such that you probably won't even need to clip the seams.  I didn't.


Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Swastika quilt block

February 27, 1933-Nancy Cabot tells her Chicago Tribune readers to stitch a Swastika quilt "just for good luck." She says the symbol is much older than the quilt pattern derived from it and that it is typically pieced in red and white.

Though I think it would be stunning in red and white, I decided I wanted mine to be more fun.

The flowered print is a feedsack fabric and the dot fabric is supposed to be a 1930's reproduction fabric.

If you look at the block carefully, you can see that it can be made from eight flying geese units, four each of the two units shown at the left in the photo below.  The photo on the right shows one of each unit sewn together to make one-fourth of the block. You need to make four units exactly the same and rotate them to create the Swastika pattern.

To make a six inch finished block like I did, you make flying geese that finish at 1 1/2" X 3".  I used the Quilt in a Day flying geese ruler to make mine.  To make geese with this ruler , you start out with a 6" square and a 4 1/2" and end up with four geese all alike.  I love this ruler!

This is a super simple, fun block!  It can be found in Electric Quilt's BlockBase as #1339b.

Tomorrow- Improved Nine Patch

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Sunny Sam quilt block

Sunny Sam quilt block
February 26, 1933-"Little Boys Slip Happily Off to Sleep under 'Sunny Sam' Quilt" was the title of Nancy Cabot's Chicago Tribune column eighty years ago today.  She didn't mention any history behind the block but noted that "variation is obtained in this quilt by letting Sammy wear overalls.of a different color in each block."  She thought it was a great pattern for a boy's quilt and I agree.

I decided not to make this block because I don't really want to use it in my sampler quilt.

Tomorrow- Swastika

Monday, February 25, 2013

Blazing Star quilt block

Blazing Star quilt block
2/25/1933- Nancy Cabot published the Blazing Star quilt block pattern in the Chicago Tribune.

The only thing she had to say about it was that it "was brought to the western world from England by the early colonists."

I love this block!  If you are following this sew along and trying to make a sampler quilt, make only the blocks you truly love because there will be so many to choose from that you could make many quilts!

I used paper piecing to make this six inch block.  In my opinion, that's the only way to accurately get the precise lines and angles of this block.

You can get the pattern here.  There are only two basic templates as shown here in fabric.

These two units are sewn together to make one-fourth of the block.

All four sections are identical.  You must rotate the sections to complete the star design.

This pattern can be found in Electric Quilt's BlockBase program as #1238 and in Electric Quilt as Blazing Star.

Tomorrow- Sunny Sam

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Mariposa Lily quilt block

Mariposa Lily quilt block
February 24, 1933-Mariposa Lily, Noon Day Lily, and North Carolina Lily are all names for this lily block that Nancy Cabot introduced eighty years ago today.  She wrote that the block was originally "made of white flowers on a green background."  If the background is green, does that mean the leaves and stems were also white?  She goes on to say that "present day quiltmakers" (meaning 1933) have changed the original colors to fabrics that "suit individual favorite color schemes."

I believe that this block was originally hand appliqued.  At the six inch size that I made, I felt the pieces were too tiny to hand applique and decided to do fusible applique instead.

The pattern sheet includes a full size drawing of the block without seam allowances.  You can use it to place your applique pieces by laying your background fabric square on top of the paper pattern and then positioning your pieces on top of the fabric square before fusing them in place.  If you have a lightbox to put the paper on, it helps alot.  You can also use a window or your computer screen by taping the paper to the window or screen same as you would a lightbox.  I made the pattern with the fewest parts possible.  You may want to use stitching to outline the flower petals to give them more dimension.  I'm sure the petals were originally done individually which would give them more dimension than the fused ones.  Download your pattern here.

This block can be found in Electric Quilt's BlockBase program as #765.6.

Tomorrow-Blazing Star

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Weather Vane quilt block

Weather Vane quilt block
February 23, 1933- Nancy Cabot published the Weather Vane quilt block pattern in the Chicago Tribune saying it "is a quilt block in its original form which still boasts its original name" and "there are few designs that can claim the same distinction."

She shows it in three colors in the arrangement that I am showing in my block.

This block can be found in Electric Quilt's BlockBase program as #1780.

This block is very easy to make as a six inch block.  You need-

12- 1 1/2" squares of background fabric    
1- 2 1/2" square of background fabric
4- 2 1/2" squares of green fabric
4- 1 1/2" squares of peach fabric
8- 1" finished size half square triangles

 There are two basic units in this block as shown here. The first unit is made from two 1" HST and two squares as shown.  The second unit is made from a 2 1/2" square with a 1 1/2" square sewn on two corners on the diagonal and flipped.

Make 4 
Make 4

These units are sewn into three rows like this-    


        Tomorrow-Mariposa Lily
Sew the three rows together and you are done!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Log Cabin quilt block

February 22, 1933-Nancy Cabot presented one of the oldest quilt blocks known, the Log Cabin, which is still very popular today. I have never seen it pieced like this before and think it would be crazy to try to make a 6" block!

I wonder why she shows the block with four sections? Notice the cornerstone in the middle though? To me, that means sashing between blocks. Today, we would think of one of those sections as a block.

Nancy tells us that this block was originally made from silks and wool and was not quilted!

"With a slight variation in the way the blocks are set together, it may become, at your will, "Sunshine and Shadow", "Barn Raising", "Cabin Home" and many others" she wrote in the Chicago Tribune on this day eighty years ago.

Tomorrow- Weather Vane with a pattern!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Grandma's Fan quilt block

Grandma's Fan quilt block
February 21, 1933- Nancy Cabot introduced the Grandma's Fan quilt block in her Chicago Tribune column on this day.  She says this block started out as a silhouette block around 1870.  It was pieced in a single dark fabric against a light background just like any silhouette.  "A generation or so later the ribs of the fan were made of many cheerful printed fabrics-each panel different" she added.

I don't think this quilt block works well as a 6" block so I didn't make it.  The curve of the fan blade is very small at this size.

 I wonder how this block was set.  If they were set next to each other, you would end up with circles.  Maybe they were alternated with solid blocks.

I have not been able to find any examples of this quilt pattern, antique or modern, though there are many variations called Grandmother's Fan.

Tomorrow- Log Cabin

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Fox and Geese quilt block

Fox and Geese quilt block
February 20, 1933-Fox and Geese was the quilt pattern of the day for Nancy Cabot's column in the Chicago Tribune.  She reminds us that triangles have long been the symbol for birds in quilt patterns.

Different sizes of triangles and their arrangement make up the different quilt block patterns.  Of this block she says,"a mighty stretch of the imagination will label the larger triangles Reynard the Fox."

The block was also known then as Hen and Chickens.

To get templates for this pattern, go here.  This block can be found in Electric Quilt's BlockBase program as #1859b.

This is another of those blocks that has odd dimensions when made at the 6" size.  It is easily made with templates or paper pieced.  Use whichever method you prefer or your fabric scraps allow.  I used templates to make my 6" block.  I printed them on freezer paper which is the method I like best.  You can iron and re-iron the templates to your fabric to cut multiple pieces or even stack up your layers and cut several at once.

This is how I put my block together-

Tomorrow-Grandma's Fan

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Grandma's Garden quilt block

Grandma's Garden
February 19, 1933- Nancy Cabot wrote, "Grandma's prim, little formal flower beds were the inspiration for this quilt" in reference to the quilt block she introduced that day in the Chicago Tribune as Grandma's Garden.

Nancy states that the centers should be deep yellow bordered with pastel prints, then green and "a winding gravel pathway joins them all.'

The whole quilt was to be bordered with "three rows of blending hues."  I can't say I have ever seen this quilt pattern made like that!

She also tells us the the same block without the row of green is called French Bouquet.

I did not make this block for two reasons, a 6" block would take tiny pieces and I don't think the block is suitable for a sampler quilt.  The typical method to make this block today would probably be English paper piecing but 80 years ago it would have been hand pieced.  I have several antique blocks of this pattern and all are hand sewn.

Since I didn't make a block today, I thought I would share with you the Nancy Cabot pattern I just bought.  I know it's her pattern because the writing on it came straight out of her newspaper article!

So, this is what you bought for 5 cents in stamp or coin from Nancy Cabot and the Chicago Tribune in 1933.  It appears to me to be printed on newsprint so I'm assuming that the newspaper printed the patterns.

The blocks this week were-

Chimney Swallow
Autumn Leaves
Tennessee Circles
David and Goliath
Windblown Star
Birds in the Air


            Tomorrow- Fox and Geese

Monday, February 18, 2013

Birds in the Air quilt block

Birds in the Air
February 18, 1933- "Birds in the Air", in flight formation, represents one of the first "bird" quilt designs as so many of the triangular patterns were termed" wrote Nancy Cabot to introduce the block of the day.

She said those wanting to make the quilt should make it in two colors and "let all the birds fly in the same direction."  Birds in the Air is still a very popular quilt block pattern to this day!

The pattern can be found in Electric Quilt's BlockBase program as #1322 but it needs to be rotated 270 degrees for the birds to be flying the same direction as Nancy's.

This is a very easy block to make even at the 6 inch size I made.  You create 4 identical sections first.  Here is how each section goes together-

To make a 6 inch finished block, you need-

2- 3 7/8" squares of yellow cut across diagonal
12- half square triangles that finish at 1"
6- 1 7/8" squares of green cut across diagonal

(I'm referring to green and yellow only to help you understand the fabric's location in my block.)

To make my half squares triangles, I drew a grid on paper and sewed them all at once.  You can download a copy here.

Tomorrow-Grandma's Garden

Sunday, February 17, 2013

David and Goliath quilt block

David and Goliath quilt block
February 17,1933-The David and Goliath quilt block was designed in 1782 in New England according to Nancy Cabot.  She published this quilt pattern 80 years ago today in the Chicago Tribune.

She said the block has also been called Doe and Darts and Four Darts "because the blocks in each corner look more like darts than stones."

The pattern sold for "5 cents in stamps or coin" as did all of her patterns up to that point.

You can find a pattern for a six inch block here.

This block goes together much like the Cactus Basket quilt block, the very first block that Nancy Cabot published.

Here are the basic steps to make this block-

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Chimney Swallow quilt block

Chimney Swallow quilt block
February 16, 1933-  Nancy Cabot published the Chimney Swallow quilt pattern in her Chicago Tribune column.  She says it dates back to early pioneer days in Kentucky. Her other comments on this block really make no sense to me.  She says, "Are you reminded of the little log cabins with the big broad stone chimneys and the old fashioned wood burning fireplaces?"  I don't see what she was seeing evidently.

Her block was also done in only two colors as shown below and I think the color placement is odd.
Nancy Cabot's Chimney Swallow

So I did my own thing with the block and this is another one of the patterns that I had to draft by hand.  I like the way it turned out even if it does look like my center doesn't match at all!  It looks worse in the picture than it really is but I should probably unsew and try to make it look better. The templates can be found here.  The basic sewing steps are shown below.

Tomorrow- David and Goliath

Friday, February 15, 2013

Windblown Star quilt block

Windblown Star quilt pattern
February 15, 1933-Nancy Cabot introduced the Windblown Star quilt block on this day.  She didn't have much to say except that it could be traced to a "quaint, seaside town in Maine."  An example of this quilt that had been pieced in 1778 was found there.  It was made of blue fabrics which were very faded.

This is a popular quilt block today.  It can easily be made from all half square triangles. To make a 6" block, the HST would need to be 1 1/2" finished.

Nancy's block was pieced differently than what is common today, at least from what I've seen.

I designed a pattern based on this block back in August 2011 before I even knew anything about Nancy Cabot.  I call it Triangle Confusion.  This pattern is sewn with all half square triangle units that start out as 5" squares.  It's a great pattern to use up a lot of scraps or even those charm packs you don't know what to do with.  You can read about it here and here.  You can also purchase it here or here.

Triangle Confusion quilt

This is the way Nancy Cabot's Windblown Star quilt block was designed according to her drawing in the Chicago Tribune-

So, starting in the center, you need a 3 1/2" square of background fabric and 2-2" squares each of 2 coordinating fabric.  Mark a diagonal line on the 2" squares as shown.  This is your sewing line.

Sew a 2" square to each corner of the 3 1/2" square like this.  Trim corner to 1/4" seam allowance and press triangle up. The upper right hand square has been trimmed.  Repeat sewing, trimming and pressing each corner as shown until you have finished all 4 corners.

To make the triangles, you need 2-4 3/16" squares of background fabric and 1 each of your other two fabrics.  Cut the squares like this.  Then pair up a background piece with each of the pieces of the other 2 squares, matching up the short sides.  They should all have the background fabric on the left side of the triangle as shown in the the last photo below.  Sorry, I don't have another photo to explain this.  You will end up with 8 quarter square triangle units.  Two from each fabric will need to be trimmed.  Line the point up at 2 1/8" and trim as shown below.  These smaller triangles are sewn to the sides of the center block made earlier as shown in last photo.

Sew the last 4 triangles on and you are finished!  

Tomorrow-Chimney Swallow

If you want to see another Nancy Cabot block, her Broken Star block, check out my post in the BlockBase Sew Along!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Tennessee Circles quilt block

Tennessee Circles quilt block
February 14, 1933-"Puzzling Circles Are New Idea in Quilt Patterns" was the title of Nancy Cabot's Chicago Tribune column on this day.  She was referring to the Tennessee Circles quilt block also known as Tennessee Puzzle.

It took me a little bit to know what circles she was talking about.  She says that as each block is joined, more and more circles appear and lose the original block.  I drew it up in Electric Quilt and this is what I got using 12 blocks-

Tennessee Circles quilt

I love this block!  I think I'll have to make a whole quilt of it but not as six inch blocks, maybe twelve or fifteen inch ones!

There are just two basic templates to this block and you make four of each of them.  You can download the pattern for the six inch version here.

It can be found in BlockBase as #3083.

This is how it goes together-

Tennessee Circles block  parts

Tomorrow-Windblown Star