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!


  1. What a fun variety of prints to explore. Thank you for sharing!

  2. I love scrap quilts such as your Four Patch Frenzy. I always wish I knew the woman who made it. I suspect I would have liked them. They certainly didn't worry about the quilt police!!

    Thanks for sharing!
    Deb from

  3. I agree - there is something so refreshing about the freedom with which this type of quilt is put together. I find it hard to do in my own quiltmaking, as much as I love it - we are so 'tranined'.... it's hard to dare to defy the 'rules' in trying to make authentic looking reproductions of this sort.


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