Monday, April 18, 2011

Four Patch Frenzy c. 1950

Well, forgive me for being silly with quilt names but you must admit this is frenetic! I thought I was done shopping at the Brass Armadillo on the way home from Arizona  – but  just one more stroll down an aisle I thought I may have missed and… ‘voila!” 
I love the energy and chaos created by combining these 4 patch units of any and all sorts of prints, stripes and solids. At first glance it appears to be an overall one patch but a closer look shows the 4 patch unit. Placing them side by side and values in mostly the mid-range contribute to the overall design.
The addition of the red border at only the top and bottom helps contain it a bit….It looks like she ran out of the green print for the  outer border big deal..... she used something else on one side.
 It is tied with red cotton that looks like crochet thread  or perle cotton –  She left the tails long adding texture and interest.  It feels like a blanket or flannel was used for batting. The backing is flannel.
I have accumulated quite a stash of this thread in many colors – purchased mostly at garage or rummage sales at churches. I have used it to do big stitch on a ‘picnic’ quilt I made for one of my sons…to be seen in a future post of utility quilts......

Notice the piecing of the plaid piece - so often seen in vintage quilts but rare today.

And the bucking bronco fabric
I like to study the wide assortment of fabrics found in this type of quilt. You may remember a pattern called Disappearing Nine Patch by Blanche Young. In an article in a quilt magazine the summer of 1990 she states that the pattern was inspired by an antique quilt and notes that making this type of quilt is a great way to use leftover fabrics or prints and colors that don't seem to blend into more planned quilt designs.
Here's a vintage example c. 1910 using  9 patch blocks. Notice the different look when there is more contrast  between the lights and darks.           
  I  decided to start cutting up leftovers to make my own....I found the stack safely tucked away in a shoe box...
yet another work in progress... .
Looking for that stack of blocks I found this little doll sized piece  – a 16 patch in the same idea but the contrast makes 'blocks' stand out more. This unfinished project is just 20" square - I got stuck on how to border it..... Now I plan to use the idea of the top and bottom borders only ( as seen in the 4 patch above) to finish it. Sometimes it pays to let thing sit awhile....I enjoy taking ideas from older quilts and incorporating them into my own projects...... I'll post it again when this one is completed.
I also found this related crib quilt basted and ready for quilting .....amazing what can be unearthed in a search for something else. The individual squares are 1" finished. As you can see, I don't throw much away!

 It took the Four Patch Frenzy to realize I've been attracted to this idea for awhile. 

Next time - more fascinating finds from the Road to Minnesota. Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Bowtie Bonanza!

Back in Minnesota…. an 1800+ mile road trip home from Arizona…. and if  you are thinking that along the way perhaps there was a need to stop and s t r e t c h very near an antique store or two,  you would be right!
I bought several items from The Brass Armadillo near Des Moines, IA, which I’ll share in the coming posts. 
Bowtie 1 - c. 1950

This bowtie uses a wide variety of cotton fabrics from 1950’s and 60’s. The block measures just 5”. It is nicely pieced and appears not to have been used much if at all. It has been washed giving it that nice pucker of a real quilt. It is hand quilted, has cotton batt and measures a generous 82” x 93”. It was such a bargain I couldn’t pass it up. I have heard the term ‘bottom feeder’ in regards to quilt collecting and I think that describes me. I DO so love a good quilt for an even better price! I had to include several close-ups so you could see the fabrics better.

Bowtie 2 - c. 1900
As long as we’re talkin’ ties I realized I  had two more in my collection. You are not seeing double. This one is c. 1900. Unlike the previous example, It is very worn –maybe that’s what gives it such charm. I used it on a table display last year at a quilt show where I was appraising and it got as much attention as the many wonderful new quilts! It is hand quilted in a simple but effective overall diagonal grid. Now that I compare it with the one I just bought I’m amazed. The setting is exactly the same…. The block size varies by only ¼”, each has a 3.5” white border and white binding. The blocks are set side by side and oriented in the same direction! They were made about 50 years apart! You may think there are not that many ways to set this block but my third example will prove you wrong.

 Bowtie 3 Indigo and White - c. 1900

I purchased this top at an AQSG seminar. I do like tops. As far as I’m concerned they can stay that way- which is good because most of mine do. I have toyed with the idea of taking this one apart and changing the setting but now that I look at it again I like the unique ‘strippy’ format. The close-up views show the many indigo and shirting fabrics the maker chose. It would be nice to quilt this one, wouldn’t it?
Come  back soon to see a few more treasures from the trip home!