Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Union Blues on Parade

I saw this utilitarian four-patch comforter in an online auction a few months ago.
It probably dates to about 1910
when this blue palette of shirting stripes was popular.

The patchwork was simple---yet complex----
One of the things I really like about quilts.

You almost dismiss a quilt like this because it's so plain, but the shading of the blues and the intriguing pattern make you look a little longer. It's always fun to figure out how the unknown quilter got the effect.

I figured out her pattern. It's a strip quilt alternating
pieced strips with narrower, dark unpieced strips.

I found it in my Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns as a strip quilt #484.
The reference there was to a 1970s newspaper column in the Baldwin Telegraphics
where it was called Garden Path.

Here's the same pattern from about 1900, but shaded

It's not quite as effective as the first example, due to
the shading. Maybe the alternating unpieced strips are too wide.

Another top from the same period

Here's a different way to shade it. 

The quilt is from the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia.

And a  mid-century modern version.

I like the orderliness of the blue one at the top---like soldiers on parade, as in this sketch of Union troops in New York.

Perfect for the prints in my Union Blues collection.
The range of shades is similar to the vintage quilt.

Here I've drawn the design out in EQ7 to use 5" cut squares for the four-patches (Square B): the Charm Pack pre-cuts.

Click on the pattern above, save the image to a Word for JPG file and print it out.

The four-patches (Piece B) finish to 9" square and are set with pieced triangles.Piece A is cut 6-7/8" square and then sliced to make 4 triangles.

These go between the four-patches.

Make four patches till you're tired of them. Set them with the pieced triangles like this.

Set them into strips.
Be sure the light squares are going
up and down.
Send me pictures.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Laurel Leaves or Photinia?

"Laurel Leaf" from Stella Rubin's shop
Green leaves with the top three red.

A few weeks ago I did a post about the Laurel Leaf applique block  (#5.55 in my Encyclopedia of Applique.) I had not noticed the consistent shading in the 19th-century examples.

Laurel Leaf?

Laurel Leaf

Lady and Laurel Plant by Wencelas Hollar

Virginia Vis pointed out that Laurel plants
do not have red leaves or red flowers.

From a Baltimore Album Quilt dated 1848

Whereas the quilt block universally called Laurel Leaf
almost universally has green leaves and triple red flowers.

Blocks on point
From the Delaware Quilt Project
Virginia, who has done extensive work in identifying the patterns in Baltimore Album Quilts, sent me her " two cents worth:"

"I don't think the red are intended to be flowers. It's a plant that where new/immature leaves are red and then turn green."

Detail of a quilt found in the New Jersey project.
From the Quilt Index

So, Virginia, what is it if not a Bay Laurel?

"My best candidate is the Photinia. Its a southern bush used for hedges. I think its inclusion in the BAQs is another example of regionalism, like including the local monuments."

Photinia fraseri.
The common name is Red Tip Photinia
or Chinese Photinia.

"It's a plant where new/immature leaves are red and then turn green."

Leaves are alternate in both laurels and Photinias.
They aren't paired or opposite as in the quilt block.

But that seems a quibble.

You may have some Photinia in your yard. It's a very showy spring bush. As best I can figure out Photinia is a native of China and Japan and was imported to Europe and America in the early 19th century, where it probably graced the gardens of many an amateur botanist.

Quilt signed Margaret Boone
in the collection of the New England Quilt Mueum

I don't think Virginia is going to get everyone to start calling the block Photinia. It doesn't have a catchy common name either. "Red tip" probably won't work its way into our quilt block vocabulary.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Colonial Lady: Wardrobe & Other Malfunctions

Possibly the most anatomically incorrect
Colonial Lady ever.

Or....a bad wardrobe malfunction

There are many standard versions of this Southern Belle or
Colonial Lady.

 and there's a lot of room for variety
in individual interpretations,

I always say avoid fingers...

And faces

And those strapless tube tops.

See more about the Colonial Lady here:

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Union Blues and Taupes

A stack of quilts by Kathe Dougherty

Kathe Dougherty is a fan of taupes and neutrals.

 I focus on the blues in my Union Blues collection. She sees it as taupes with some blue for contrast. 

For her little quilt she emphasized the contrast between the fabrics.
She used a charm pack of 5" squares, cut off two corners of each square and filled in with triangles of
this subtle floral...

8290-19 Concord in Bronze

Leftover triangles went into a flying geese border.

You need a charm pack and a yard of extra fabric for Kathe's design.

And we have a Mini-Charm pack, 2-1/2" squares,
if you want to work at a small scale.

Denniele Bohannon is also emphasizing the contrast between the taupes and the blues. She's working on a sunburst.

She cut a 60-degree diamond template and designed as she stitched. Chopping the edge into a rectangle is always painful but the results are great. Kelly is quilting the top right now so hope to have a finished photo to show you soon.