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:


  1. Can't wait to get my copy! LOVE this block too!

  2. Nice block. I like your version with the secondary pattern of big pinwheels in alternate colors (the green, blue and black version). Maybe a good baby quilt pattern for a boy with the right fabric selection?

  3. I love your last screen capture version, would look great with Civil War cheddars and reds, I may have to try this one, I'll post when I get it finished.

  4. Querida Bárbara: entregaste todos tus patrones originales???. Y no hiciste, por lo menos, una copia de ellos?. Me pareces excesivamente generosa.
    Muchas gracias por todo tu empeño en recoger toda la información disponible con respecto a los bloques de patchwork. Te adoro!!!