Monday, November 27, 2017

A Scrappy Chintz Quilt: Odd Pattern

This pattern in a scrappy chintz quilt from about 1830-1850
is "Unknown,"
(a tragedy for us pattern classifiers.)

I saw the quilt in an online auction.

It should be on this page of BlockBase
with similar blocks. 
Many of these triangle designs are called Railroad Crossing.
The main similarity on that page is
the 4X design with 2 primary diagonal seams.

And then two sizes of half-square triangles.

I drew it up in EQ7.
Because few people used the term railroad in the 1830 & '40s I
am calling it "A Ride in the Cars."

In 1846 Emily Dickinson took the train from Amherst to Boston but that's not how she phrased it:
"I had a delightful ride in the cars, and am now getting settled down, if there can be such a state in the city."
A paper cut-out card of Queen Victoria and the
Royal Family in the cars in 1842.

You don't want to set it as an all-over pattern
because  you get this more common 9-patch looking design.

If you rotate every other block to the side it looks like the original.

A Ride in the Cars
Quilt with 12" Blocks
64 blocks = 98" square

And if you shaded the center blocks in pink you'd get
the medallion-like look that quilters favored before 1850.

The EQ7 drawing is for a 12 inch block.
Here are the cutting instructions for 1 block.

Cutting a 12" Block

A - Cut 5 squares 5-1/4". (3 light/2 dark) Cut each into 4 triangles with 2 diagonal cuts. You need 18 triangles.
B - Cut 1 dark square 13-1/4".  Cut into 4 triangles with 2 diagonal cuts. You need 2 triangles.

See Barbara S.'s version here:

Monday, November 20, 2017

Half a Log Variation

Log Cabin Variation by Anna Cook, about 1900
New Jersey

Here's a cool pattern.
I was browsing through the New Jersey project
pictures and came across this quilt.

My first guess at the pattern:

It's 5 strips in a grid of 25.

Easy enough to draw in EQ7

And maybe easy enough to make.
100  blocks shaded the same way
but every other block is turned upside down.
100 inches x 100 inches with ten inch blocks.

I think I could keep that straight.

Which Anna had trouble doing. Some of her blocks look upside down.
She may have had a directionality problem and her design floor
was probably too small to scope the whole thing out.
Problems I can relate to.

I may be reading her block wrong. It may be
a more conventional version. What they call Half-a-Log in the South.

Here's a version of the Half-a-Log from my collection.
I've tried to copy it but this version is formidable.

I saw this fairly recent quilt in on line auction two years ago.

It's a variation on Anna's I think. But what's that extra log between blocks.
Too much for me.

But Anna's....

I learned some things from messing with Anna's quilt.
I tried to fix her repeat by Photoshopping the upside down blocks
right side up. But that didn't work.
Some of her lights just aren't light enough.
And red---it's really neither dark nor light here.
Her red is in the middle of a gray scale here---

It's not dark; it's not light.
Turning the red blocks upside down didn't help the patterning much.
It's interesting how she got that chrome orange strip to read as dark.

My plan. No red; no chrome orange.
Sort the fabrics into dark, mediums and lights and throw all the mediums back in the scrap box.

2-1/2" strips 

See more about the history of half a log cabin quilts here:

Mary couldn't resist the challenge to draft that formidable Half-A-Log above. Here's her drawing:

She says:
"I used EQ, and drew the block on a 9 x 9 grid. The red square is 3 x 3.
It would easily work as a 9” block. Cut the red square 3½” x 3½”, and the logs 1½” wide."

I think it was so formidable for me because you have to flip blocks over and I had trouble getting that dark, dark medium, medium and light shading consistent. Give it a try!

Monday, November 13, 2017

Aunt Martha's Lattice Fan

In BlockBase you can search by designer. If you do a search for Aunt Martha you come up with 121 pieced patterns. The company (there was no actual Aunt Martha) designed many innovative patterns in the 1930s.

Aunt Martha's bio from my book Women of Design.

Some of the Aunt Martha patterns in BlockBase.
They published a lot of innovative applique too.

This particular design may have been published
in her magazine Workbasket in 1941.

A version maybe from the 1950s or '60s.

Aunt Martha is still in business. Her logo's been
modernized if the woman herself still lags behind current fashion for aunts.
Lattice Fan by Jean Stanclift and Barbara Brackman.
Quilted by Lori Kukuk. 42" x 42"

Jean and I did this version for my book Women of Design about Quilts in the Newspaper.  I picked the colors and drew the pattern. Jean pieced it. Lori quilted it. It's one of my favorite group quilts we did.
The book is out of print, but you can see a preview which includes the pattern for Lattice Fan.


Here's a post on another clever Aunt Martha/Workbasket design:

Monday, November 6, 2017

Pine Tree or Christmas Tree #834

Merikay Waldvogel asked me to post this picture of a
wonderful 20th-century quilt top that was auctioned during
the recent AQSG Seminar in New Hampshire.

And then everybody wanted a pattern.
It's #834 in BlockBase so easy enough to make a pattern.

I drew it in BlockBase---12" and 18" finished block size. At the bottom of the page I'll show you how I imported the pattern from BlockBase to EQ7 and recolored it to match the old top.

Merikay found a pattern in her stash of Nancy Cabot patterns,
published as Pine Tree in the Chicago Tribune in 1934. It's shaded
exactly like the top.

It would make a great Christmas tree so I colored it
with some bright William Morris repro designs,
recolored for my Morris Jewels line a few years ago.

A Christmas tree at night, recolored in EQ7.
The pattern is based on half rectangles rather than squares,
which makes it look art deco and modern.

There were requests for a 12" pattern (finished block). If you have my BlockBase computer program you can draw the pattern yourself any size.

BlockBase & EQ have a tendency to add more
letters to the pattern than really necessary so I simplified
the lettering system. 

Cutting a 12" Finished Block

A - Cut 1 background rectangle 13-1/4 x 6-5/8". Cut in half diagonally. You need 2 triangles.

B - Cut 5 triangles from 2-3/4 inch squares. 

C - Cut 22 rectangles 3-1/4" x 1-5/8". Cut each in half diagonally. You need 41 triangles. Figure out your own shading here based on the pictures.

D - Cut 2 background rectangles 2-1/2" x 5"

E - Cut 1 rectangle 2-1/2" x 1-1/2"

You may not want to work with 41 triangles cut from 1-5/8 inch rectangles, so I also had BlockBase figure out a larger pattern to finish 18".

Cutting an 18" Finished Block 
A - Cut 1 background rectangle 19-1/4 x 9-5/8". Cut in half diagonally. You need 2 triangles.
B - Cut 5 triangles from 3-3/4 inch squares.
C - Cut 22 rectangles 4-1/4" x 2-1/8". Cut each in half diagonally. You need 41 triangles. Figure out your own shading here based on the pictures.
D - Cut 2 background rectangles 3-1/2" x 7-1/4".
E - Cut 1 rectangle 3-1/2" x 2".

The Kansas City Star published the design
as The Christmas Tree on December 28, 1932
drawn by designer Eveline Foland who 
did several original "moderne" patterns for the Star.

The antique top sold at the AQSG auction is unusual. I have no other photos of quilts made from this design in the 1930s when it was published.

UPDATE: The family of Mary Gasperik asked that I delete any references
to her quilts.

I did find a quilt that used the tree in the border, designed and stitched by Chicago quilt artist Mary Gasperik in the Quilt Index. It's dated 1953.

Other names include Pine Tree from the Ladies Art Company and Pine Forest (A Quilt for Maine) from Ruby McKim's Patchwork Parade of States. Nancy Cabot copied the design in 1934. 

A McKim Studios website says that the Patchwork Parade series appeared in 1931. So which clever Kansas City designer---Ruby McKim or Eveline Foland---created the pattern???? The Patchwork Parade is hard to find and I don't have a date on this Maine design. 
I'm betting on Eveline but I could be wrong (50% chance.)

And below: How I imported the pattern from BlockBase to EQ7 and recolored it. I started in EQ7 and opened my file with Morris Jewels fabric. I clicked on Libraries in the top line. Then clicked on Block Library. Since I have BlockBase linked to EQ my BlockBase files appeared---4,000 patterns.

I did a search for the pattern number 834
although I could have searched by pattern name---
Christmas Tree?

Three patterns with that arrangement of numbers showed up. 
I clicked on the tree and then clicked "Add to Sketchbook" at the bottom

Once it was in my EQ7 sketchbook I could recolor it in
William Morris repro prints.

But then I realized the BlockBase drawing is not shaded
exactly the same as the old top or the Eveline Foland drawing.

So I recolored it. 
And there you are.

Speaking of Christmas maybe you need EQ7 and BlockBase
for your PC computer. Any pieced pattern, any size, any shading.
If you spent an hour a day on learning it you'd be an expert by spring.