Monday, October 3, 2016

Not Square Blocks: Diamond Shaped Blocks 3---Strings

I've been sorting all my images of vintage patterns based on diamond-shaped blocks.
Not a lot---until I get to the category of string-pieced diamonds.

I have quite a few pictures of quilts from about 1875-1920.

It's a simple design

One of the best. 
From the Pat Nickols collection at the Mingei Museum.

Most are quite utilitarian, probably made of
"strings" or strips left over from family sewing or 
from garment factories.

Wools and combination fabrics from
the early 20th century.

This one looks to be from about 1940 when
white was the favored neutral.

Same time. Pieced of rayons which take color better
but wiggle when you sew them down.

String quilt designs were rarely published or given names in print. These have no BlockBase numbers because I never found a pattern for them published before 1970.

Arnold Savage's grandmother started this crib quilt at the end of the 19th century and he quilted it a hundred years later.

Diamond blocks set next to each other at a slant in a straight line.
From the 1930s.

Early 20th century?
From Laura Fisher Quilts
Diamonds set with squares

Same pattern.

In string quilts the strips tend to be random widths, but at the end of the 19th century patterns were passed around in which the strips were controlled in width and shading.

Collection of the Missouri Historical Society

Is it a string quilt or a strip quilt?

From Stella Rubin's shop

The diamonds based on 60 degrees make hexagons or...

 6-pointed stars.

Here the strips are neatly cut and shaded.
Light on one side of each diamond, medium on the other
 and black in the center.
She attempted some order but ---well you know how it goes.
The right side had a mind of its own.
More stars later.

Dripping Diamonds by Sarah Bisel
Two recent interpretations of a diamond with regular strips

Picket Fence by Elsie Campbell

Vintage top with a single strip in the center, alternating dark strips and light.

Another variation on that idea in wools.

It's hard to figure out the pattern but it's six diamonds
set into hexagons.
A consistent black strip seems to be a theme.

This pattern was relatively popular from about
It looks like an irregular string-pieced hexagon.

But it's based on a string-pieced diamond
with a consistent, angled dark in the center of each.

The Sunday Paper by Sujata Shah

Or a consistent light.
Sujata and I each made one of these. See more at this post:

A consistent red right along the middle

makes a more regular hexagon.

Perhaps 1910-1935

Tim at Tim Quilts found one with a consistent gold print.

Enough consistency!

I admire this one often but I haven't attempted it.

It's hard to figure out how it's constructed.

And then there's this version.The diamond disappears.

But that's the underlying block pattern.

Another one from the collection of the Sioux City Public Museum.
Picture from the Iowa project and the Quilt Index.

A third from the collection of the
International Quilt Study Collection & Museum


  1. Rayons "wiggle when you sew them down"? Do other fabrics wiggle? When I go out of the room or while I'm asleep, is my stash wiggling like the front row at a rock concert? I will forever now be on the look out for wiggling fabric. Hope I catch it in the act someday. An arresting image.

  2. Wow -- some super inspirations here! I make string quilts regularly, and always enjoy new ideas. Thanks for this post!