Monday, December 17, 2018

Unusual Twin Sisters

An odd repeat

And hard to figure out the block...

but here it is with seam lines
BlockBase #2314
Twin Sisters

Selma & Patty Bouvier
Marge Simpson's Twin Sisters. 
It's just strangely colored like Selma and Patty.

Published pattern names include Twin Sisters, Pinwheel and Waterwheel
among other.

The seams intersect as an X in the center.

The Nancy Cabot column in 1933 in the Chicago Tribune invented
a sad story of a pair of twins---one of whom died before
her wedding---hence, the name.
I doubt the tale, however.

There's a lot of design potential

Here it is set in strips diagonally.
You can see what can happen when you set strips diagonally.

A few years ago the SewWhatevers made this little top in the
pattern from some William Morris prints.


Monday, December 10, 2018

Strange Block Assembly in Pepto Bismol Pink

I posted this picture of a mid-20th-century quilt on my Facebook page, marveling
at how it was constructed---not in block fashion.

The quiltmaker made a relatively simple idea into a piecing extravaganza with the wheels of fans pieced into some white apple core shapes and then there is the x in bright pink.

It would have made a fine block with quarter circle fans in the corners.

 I drew it up in EQ8
8" block

Print this out at 8" for a 16" block.
I'm not too great at drawing fans but you get the picture.

While we were discussing this I couldn't
find the source for the one above but I did find a similar block.

Again with pink accents.



And then I saw this top on eBay a couple of weeks ago.

I had some trouble drawing the center area.
No source on this one either.
And what is with the pink???

BlockBase has several related designs with quarter circles in the corners but nothing like these three.

Cross Roads
Similar pattern structure. See a post here:

Monday, December 3, 2018

Whirlwind of Modernism

What a strange quilt! From the fabrics looks to be maybe 1960s.

From an online auction

I used those kind of florals in Home Ec.back then. I made a skirt of brown polished cotton. The blocks are rectangles and there are two alternating---
Well, I guess you could also classify it as a square cut in half but I did find it in that rather sparse section of  rectangular blocks in BlockBase.

BlockBase #222.8 in case you want to make one.
Published as Whirlwind From Woman's World magazine which collected some of their
articles on quilting in The Patchwork Book.

Their coloring in 3 fabrics makes for a more coherent design, which looks like a squat hexagon.

If you click on the source name in blue in BlockBase
it will tell you what I know about the magazine: A Chicago based
periodical. The Patchwork Book was published in 1931.
Someone kept it for thirty or so years and decided to make a modern design.

Monday, November 26, 2018

Radio Windmill from The Kansas City Star Quilts Sampler


C&T Publishing has just published the Kansas City Star Quilts Sampler with some 20th-century quilt history by me. 

Debbie Rodgers designed the sampler with over 60 blocks, stitched by staff. The 264-page book includes rotary cutting instructions for each block but also TEMPLATES! for piecing, a luxury in this day and age. Here's a template-worthy pattern from the cover.
I Photoshopped their block into a grid of 4.
The pattern in the book is 12" or 6" if you look at each unit as a block.

The unusual design was published in the Kansas City Star in 1941 as The Radio Windmill. I gave all my Kansas City Star original patterns to the International Quilt Study Center when I moved so I cannot look it up but the book gives us information from the original pattern in the Star and tells us that Anna Killillay of Pleasanton, Iowa mailed in the design.

It also (according to me) appeared in the Chicago Tribune's quilt column, Nancy Cabot.

It's BlockBase #2560

I did a Quick Quilt in BlockBase and this is how it looks set all over
each block shaded the same. Interesting but you could get the same look
easier with squares and recatangles.

I imported the BlockBase design to Electric Quilt 8. 
Scrappy with controlled shading might be quite cool. 

Changed the shading,
two different alternating blocks.

Same thing---kind of reads as Z's or pinwheels.

Inverted the color in Photoshop for more drama. 
One shading, alternate block rotated 

Did a screen capture here of a EQ quilt without any lines. A nice graphic and maybe my favorite among my color experiments. Three shades: medium, light and dark.

I'd show you some vintage examples of the Radio Windmill but I couldn't find any---not even on the Quilt Index. It's a neglected pattern but now we have templates in the book.

UPDATE: I found another name and publisher for the pattern. H. Ver Mehren's Colonial Quilt catalog apparently included it as Windmills of Amsterdam, here advertised in the Detroit Free Press.

See a review of the book at Publishers' Weekly here:

Monday, November 19, 2018


This airplane quilt was supposedly found after flying around in the tornado in Joplin, Missouri a few years ago. Let's hope it's been re-united with its owner by now.

Ragi Marino who has written the book on airplane quilts Flying High: The Airplane in Quilts used the same pattern when she made a copy of a crib quilt in her collection for the 2012 AQSG Quilt Study on Colonial Revival Quilts. Her pattern may have been the earliest of the patchwork airplanes, The Lone Eagle Quilt, designed by Emma S. Tyrrell for Successful Farming in January, 1929. The alternate block with the eagle has been done in embroidery and quilting.

Stella Rubin has one for sale with the quilted eagle.

Collector Joanna Rose showed one in her Infinite Variety show
a few years ago. It's hard to see the eagle in the quilting but it's there.

The New England Quilt Museum's airplane quilt also looks to have that quilting
but again it's hard to see.

In 1933 the Aunt Martha pattern company offered a pattern just for the plane in their catalog The Quilt Fair Comes To You. They called it Aeroplane and said "This shows the modern trend and explains how many designs originate." Copying patterns? I doubt that's what they meant but that airplane was such a good idea many pattern companies copied it.

Laura Fisher's Inventory

This pattern (with propeller in various places)
was quite popular

An all appliqued version honoring famous pilots was
sold as a block collection in an online auction a few years ago.

There's a subcategory

Kansas Project & the Quilt Index

Airplanes with circles and/or stars on the wings

International Quilt Study Center & Museum collection

From the Minnesota project & the Quilt Index
Must have been made during World War II,

From the Detroit News in the 1930s
Sent in by a reader of their pattern feature.

The News had their own pattern for
their quilt club, a fat little plane with a triangular tail.

This design (BlockBase #902) was published by
several sources.

With its nine-patch format it was a popular pattern.

Add a wide white sashing and blue corner squares
to create nine patches.

Texas project & the Quilt Index
Friends of  Ophelia Parker Bloys signed blocks with appliqued propellers for
a bridal shower quilt in 1939.

From Julie Silber's inventory. Blocks on the diagonal.

Massachusetts project & the Quilt Index
Planes on the diagonal, blocks on the straight.

Capper's Weekly published this pattern with a pieced propeller in 1930.
BlockBase #903.

 The Kansas City Star copied it in 1940.
This is one of the first quilts I made, and an article about airplane patterns is one of the first I published for Quilters' Newsletter in the 1970s.

A friendship quilt from 1933-1937 Claudell Grade School