About a year ago I pulled out all my vintage quilts and quilt tops that I have collected over the past few decades and decided it was time to make good use of them and give them a new life. The only problem is I was deep into the design work on the Border Options line of English Paper Piecing products (and now hand piecing also!) and so the idea for a line of templates was born, but couldn’t become reality for awhile. I am an army of one and some days off and sleep are needed. 😊
But with Border Options now out in public and doing it’s thing I decided that it was time to begin working on what I am calling “Mic’s Attic Picks” collection of quilt block templates for hand piecing. I dove back into my stack of vintage and antique quilts and instantly knew what quilt block I wanted to share first.
Most of my antique quilts are tops for two reasons. The cost of a top vs. a quilt is significantly lower and when my collecting started many moons ago we had two young mouths to feed and clothe so my budget was very small. Plus tops obviously take up less space, and with a small abode (under 1200 sq ft!) I could collect 4-5 tops in the space of one quilt on my shelves. Tops it is! Now back to the inspiration top itself.
Isn’t it just striking! I remember the block caught my eye. But it was the use of the red background that sold it. WOW! What a bold and daring choice for the era. I am not a certified quilt historian but I know enough info to be dangerous and so I can state with confidence this quilt was most likely finished in the early 1940s based on the youngest fabric in it. And I think the red background supports that. Again…who would of thought to go red. But I love it. And I will say it has me looking at my red fabrics a bit differently with consideration of red background of my own one day.
So I grabbed my Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns by Barbara Brackman (did you know you can get this as a digital book now from the AQS website – I love now having all these blocks with me in my laptop) and set to work looking up the block. As a lover of history, I am determined to find a block’s given name if possible. Only when I have exhausted all possible avenues of knowledge will I give a vintage block a new name and then will let you know this when released. This is important to me.
I found the block. It is #1536 in the encyclopedia. It has just one name attributed to it.
The block was a mail order pattern released in the 1930s by the Old Chelsea State Needlecraft Service under the designer name of Laura Wheeler. This company is know for it’s complex quilt block designs and advertised in newspapers across America selling patterns for a dime.
Carolina Favorite Hand Piecing Templates are now available for preorder in my webstore. You will easily find them under the NEW! Category as they are the first product. There is a preorder special available until August 7th, you can find all the details there in the product description in the store. Orders will begin to ship out on August 10th in the order in which they were received.
All template sets will come with basic hand piecing guidelines and tips. I will also be posting detailed how-to blogs full of step by step pictures starting mid August. And if you follow me on Facebook (MDQuilts) you will see numerous LIVE posts of sew-a-longs also covering block construction.
Hand piecing is very relaxing and I can say over the years I have taught thousands to hand piece both thru blogs and workshops, both beginners and experienced quilters and have never lost a student.
The gentle curves of this block are easily obtained with hand piecing and before you know it you will be breathing easier and enjoying the ability to be creative even while “on the go” as piecing by hand is so portable that a sandwich bag of “stuff” is all that is needed.
..next blog…let’s look at some coloring variations for this block.
‘til next time.
Piece & Hexiness,