QUILTS & FABRIC: PAST & PRESENT By Quilt Historian Barbara Brackman Above: Compton from Moda's Morris Earthly Paradise

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Morris Hexathon 4: Box Hill

Morris Hexathon Block 4: Box Hill by Becky Brown

This week's block is a variation on the classic box design,
what we might call Baby's Blocks.

Collection of the Brooklyn Museum, 1880-1900
The design is another one of the hexagonal blocks that we see in 19th-century quilts...

Perhaps influenced by Italian mosaics such as this floor at Pompeii.
The geometry is ancient.

We actually see a simple version of the design as cheater cloth---
 printed patchwork---from about 1840 or earlier,

The block in a late-19th-century silk quilt from the 
Massachusetts project and the Quilt Index

 Box Hill by Bettina Havig
The pattern fits a hexagonal block. It's just one piece---but 27 of them.

I named it for Box Hill in the Surrey hills, a feature in the English landscape that was a venerable tourist attraction when George Lambert painted it in 1733. Jane Austen's fictional Emma's visited and so did William Morris.

The View from Box Hill.
Emma and friends picnicking in a BBC production.

Morris loved exploring the countryside. He wrote a letter to daughter Jenny in June, 1886, after a visit to Box Hill with her sister May. "The place Box Hill is really beautiful with a famous box wood at the top. You and I must go there when you are back in London."

Below the pattern for English Paper-Piecing.

Pattern for an 8" Hexagon
(4" sides)

To Print:
  • Create a word file or a new empty JPG file that is 8-1/2" x 11". 
  • Click on the image above. 
  • Right click on it and save it to your file. 
  • Print that file out 8-1/2" x 11". The hexagon sides should finish to 4" across. 
  • Adjust the printed page size if necessary. 
  • Add seams when you cut the fabric.

I found two published names for BlockBase #240:
  • Tea Box from the Farm Journal
  • Diamond Cube from the Ladies Art Company
Below a drawing from the LAC catalog, which is a little vague--- missing a few lines.

Diamond Cube

An example made by Mary Gentry about 1910 from the Tennessee Project
and the Quilt Index. The Ladies Art Company may have been her source.

Here's another version from about 1900-1910.

It's hard to see how this one's constructed

An option--- BlockBase #240

Exactly the same pieced design but shaded and set differently

From Julie Silber's collection.

It's all the same pattern, rotated and shaded to different effect.

One More Inspiration

Just to confuse you.
This one's not #240.

An Alternate
I designed this series to be pieced over paper. Another option is to piece this simplified version conventionally. Or save it for later. As the hexies get more difficult you might want an easy block on file.

It's a 60 degree diamond with a 4" finished side.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Baltimore Blues: Moda Reproduction Prints

Quick. What's your favorite color?

Baltimore blue.

A few mid-19th century quilts....

The dye was Prussian blue.

Patterson Park (#8342-12) in Harbor Blue
from Baltimore Blues

The shades were vivid sky blue to deep navy.

Blues we're calling Harbor Blue in my next reproduction collection
for Moda.

We're working on Baltimore Blues for fall fabrics. Shop owners ordered at market and sales reps will be showing these this week.

The prints also come in a buff shade: Talbot Tan
and Sassafras Brown

River Green

And Marble for contrast.

More---much more later

See a splash here:

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

String Lanterns & Melons

String quilts were rarely published so the variations
don't have "real names" or "book names". This pattern, most often seen
in southeastern Pennsylvania, is a mystery design.

It's far more organized than the usual string
quilt pieced of random or regular strings of fabric.

Rickrack Antique quilts calls their example Chinese Lanterns.

Here's one that looks more like a lantern than many.

A variation that's more crazy than organized strings.

From the Pat L. Nickols collection
at the Mingei Musueum. The curved shapes include a lot of conventionally
pieced blocks, nine patches, stars, etc.

A cousin to this example at the International
Quilt Study Center and Museum

A more distant cousin---no curves.

I've never seen these variations on the string quilt published---
at least before 1970

From Julie Silber's inventory

You could see the design growing out of a basic melon or orange
peel with string piecing added.

Here are two melon variations from silks and mixed fabrics
with embroidery.

But the extra curves....

The Quilt Index has 511 quilts titled string quilt, and not one of these.