Tag Archives: traditional quilt design

Turkey in the Straw

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The Stars Are Out Again

After a long break (last touched in December), I worked on the Irish Star quilt along (button in side bar). It is more a quilt echo along now. WeddingDressBlue has moved on to another very interesting tutorial/quilt along.

1 stars

It is a nice change from the recent improv art project to do some repetitive chain piecing. There are things I like (and dislike) about each approach; moving among approaches smooths my interests out.

Now the plan had been to sort and put fabric away before starting a new project. Ah, but this isn’t a new project. (Rationalizing is one of my strong points.) I’d started on a stack on the table and these were at the bottom and just irresistible.  I also need to oil the machine and change the needle before I sew much more. Maybe tomorrow.

Now I have only four stars to go before I can plan the layout–my favorite part! This will be a good thing to do on one day of social distancing–now become stay-at-home. I really want to have time to sew all the parts together once it is lain out.



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Irish Star — Finished

Imagine, a scrap quilt post on Scrap Happy day!  I’ll admit to having been scrap delinquent lately. This top was completed a couple years ago at the guild’s fall retreat. Then it went to the black hole called “to be quilted.”  Thanks to the guild quilt show needing more quilts this year, it is now quilted and bound.

1 Irish chain finished

45 x 45 inches

Deanna of Weddingddressblue started the quilt-along back then. Designed as a relaxed pace, leader/ender project, it is still ongoing, in case you are interested.  She gave directions for 1 1/2-, 2-, 2 1/2-inch squares. I had 3 1/2-inch strips left over from Urban Chickens. (I had cut a 3 1/2-inch strip from each solid I owned and selected from the strips four squares for each Urban Chicken block. That left a lot over for a rainy day.) So I calculated the star pieces to go with the alternating 25-square block. Luckily I had 5 strips long enough to make the stars–seaming two to get the 6 1/2-inch star center. While I know where the solids came from, I have no idea what the original project was for the background pieces, bona fida scraps, they.

Even the back is made mostly from left-overs.  When making the back for Weather Watching, I needed more than one width of fabric of each color. I just sewed two full strips instead of dealing with exact measurement. I’d thought it would make the complete back for this one, but not quite. So I added the beige.

1 Irish chain back

The back has more of the look of using up the left overs than I like. It isn’t as logical a mate for this top as it was for Weather Watching. I realized too late that I could have cut the strips in half and reversed one and gotten more of a designed look.  But I wasn’t distressed enough to rip and resew.

Even the binding is a left over from the group quilt, What If? This is as close to wholly scrap quilt as I have ever gotten.

If you enjoy scrap projects, visit Kate’s Tall Tales from Chiconia blog around the 15th of each month.  I’ll also be linking with Oh Scrap! when the time comes. Till then, button in the side bar.

ETA I have another Irish Star quilt in the works as a leader/ender project. I don’t remembr what size I am aiming for, but I do remember I need 17 star blocks. I entered this one into the “modern” category for the local quilt show. Even though it is a modification of a traditional pattern, the large sized squares and the bright colored solid fabric spoke “modern” to me. And the show committee did not change it.


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Naming Quilt Blocks

I am fascinated by the wealth of traditional quilt blocks, but even more so by the many names they go by and their variations. And I can’t help wondering how much variation it takes for a block to become a different block. Browsing Barbara Brackman’s Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns, I’d posit that when shapes change–even one in a 9-patch block–a block gets a new number.  When shapes remain the same but fabrics change, it gets the same number with a letter suffix.  I’ll have to look more closely to see if that holds true.

3 quilt blocks

It’s block lotto time and January is blue-and-yellow month. The two to the right are among my stock blocks for lotto. I’m used to calling the block “Churn Dash” or “Monkey Wrench”; however, I was surprised to see it has been published under 19 different names (and four fabric variations). *

I had two reasons for exploring other block options. 1. I wanted to try something new. 2. I had been given the yellow/blue print fabric scraps by a friend who was house cleaning. I had decided I’d use all of it. Most was in 2 1/2-inch strips, but some pieces were large enough to get 4 1/2-inch squares and 5-inch squares. So I decided to cut as many as possible and add blue and yellow as necessary.

After using two 4 1/2-inch squares in the Churn Dash blocks I still had four. The block to the left was perfect for them. It has only one name, published under Nancy Cabot’s name in 1933 as Double Hour Glass. (# 1687a. There are three other fabric variations.)

Jacob's ladder

I had 20 small squares and two 5-inch squares left to play with. These two blocks use the same shaped pieces, I think of it as “Jacob’s Ladder.” Brackman shows five fabric variations, two worked for me. The block to the right has seven names.** I kept the two color arrangement but switched the print and plain–I don’t think that counts as another block because elsewhere Brackman simply notes in parentheses that fabrics were switched.

“Jacob’s Ladder” is among the seven names for the block to the left as well.***

Of course I could have cut the shapes and moved them around instead of finding block patterns first. But even if I had, if I’d used regular shapes, I’d have figured that someone else had already done it, and looked for a name.  Both design approaches are fun. Starting with the book can be faster unless you get caught up in browsing all 4000+ block designs.

The encyclopedia is no longer in print, but the information is available electronically as Blockbase from EQ.

This block has a different history.

Black Bird block

“When the pie was opened, the birds began to sing . . .”

A long time ago an invitation was put forth to make blocks representing nursery rhymes. A limited number would be made into a quilt. I had just seen how to make a bird from drunkard’s path blocks, and thought of “Sing a Song of Sixpence.” I sent it in. Obviously it wasn’t chosen. We must have sent SASE for the return of unused blocks–before electronic submission days. I was surprised to find it in a box of very old scraps. It was blue and yellow, so it went along with the others.

Linking up with LAFF and Show off Saturday. Here’s hoping that using one scrap fabric and a block found at the bottom of a box of scraps is scrappy enough for Oh Scrap!

*For the hardy souls who are still reading and who want to know all 19: Double Monkey Wrench, Old Mill Design, Hen and Chickens, Double  T, Shoo Fly, Sherman’s March, Love Knot, Hole in the Barn Door, Puss in the Corner, Lincoln’s Platform, Indian Hammer, Quail’s Nest, Broken Plate, Joan’s Doll Quilt, Fisherman’s Reel, Picture Frame, and Ludlow’s Favorite.#1646a

**The other six names: The Railroad, Golden Stairs, Road to California, Off to San Francisco, Going to Chicago, Susie’s Fancy. #1695a

***And the other six: Stepping Stones, The Tail of Benjamin’s Kite, Trail of the Covered Wagon, Wagon Tracks, Underground Railroad, Double Hour Glass. #1695b

ETA Brackman classification numbers


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