Monday, March 5, 2012

March Theme - The 1970's!

I hinted in a earlier post that one of my monthly themes this year would have to do with a time period in quilting that gets no respect these days....but I started quilting then and maybe some of you did too.

As a home sewer, polyester blends and knits were the rage for fashion fabrics (no ironing!) but they didn't work well for quilting.

I found this image on-line but I made this! I had the pattern - who knows I may still have the pattern!

The American bicentennial spurred a nostalgic look back at our nation's past.. Quilt patterns began to appear in magazines and community school classes offered beginning quiltmaking. Quilters Newsletter, the first magazine dedicated solely to quilting, was started by Bonnie Leman in 1969. Quilt stores began to pop up and another quilt revival was born.

The very first quilt I made (1974) was this Trip Around the World in small calico prints and poly-blend solids.
(This is a photo re-run from my post last November on One Patch Quilts.) It's the only one I have of that first quilt.

 Reminder: Photograph your quilts!

As it happens, two of the topics chosen by the Minnesota quilt study group for 2012 are 'Quilts from the 1950's, 60's and 70's' and 'One-Patch Quilts'.
So for my first project this month I am combining these topics and making a Tumbling or Baby's Block 'small' from my authentic 70's stash!

I am using a metal 60 degree diamond template which is a bit larger than I wanted so I am tracing the inner line and then eyeballing the seam as I hand-piece.

I am making little groups of three...It's a great take-along project for those found moments or while vegitating in front of the boob-tube.

These are not sewn together but I've laid them out to get the idea.

Cool? Groovy? 

When I showed a friend she said, "I really kind of like it - but don't you dare tell anyone I said that."

What did I tell you about no respect? 
Wait til I tell her I'll be using poly batting!

Then and Now
Always in Fashion


  1. I do like it--and I recognize many of those fabrics. Thought I didn't start quilting until the 80s, my Mom was quilting from the 60s on, and I was an interested bystander. She just got rid of her older quilt magazines from that era.

  2. I like the 70's/80's calicos too. I have quite a few, either from my mom's collection or from buying up the stuff when I worked in a fabric store all through the 80's. I've been thinking about separating it from the rest of my fabrics and making a quilt with them. Tumbling blocks is a perfect pattern for them. I'm just finishing up hand-piecing a queen-size top in this design.

  3. I think I still have some of those calicos, at least in (one of) the scrap basket(s). My college roommate had s quilt she bought from another student. It was calico and double-knit 12" squares, tied with red acrylic yarn. I already knew that I wanted to make rather than buy myself a quilt! Then I received a wedding gift of a kettlecloth quilt in '75.

  4. Feather Duster - that's what I did - a separate bin for this type of fabric...even though I think it's very possible to mix it into other projects, I just wanted to see what I had...a bit overwhelming!

  5. Besty - kettle cloth...that brings back memories. I used to work in fabrics of a major department store and I made many skirts, shorts etc out of kettle cloth!

  6. Ah,yes...kettle cloth. I still have a few pieces in my boxes. :O

    To answer your questions about how I did my tumbling blocks...

    My combinations are not really random, (as in just picking up three pieces and stitching them together). I cut (and cut and cut) a bunch of strips, then cut diamonds and pair up a dark and medium that coordinate, then add a shirting, cream, or other very light at the top. Values are always in the same place in each set of three, and oriented the same way in the quilt.

    I cut mine using a ruler. My favorite ruler is my 4" wide one and it has angle markings for 45 and 60 degree angles. My pieces are cut 2.25 inches wide (from one flat edge to the other), then cut into the diamonds with the 60 degree angle on the ruler. Very fast!

    I sewed a stack of maybe 15-20 of the 3-diamond sections, then sewed those together in groups of three (because I'd inherited my beginning pieces and that's how they were done). I think if I ever make another one (and that's a strong possibility) I would sew the three-diamond hexagons together in clusters of 7, like the grandmother's flower garden blocks, and then put those together. Although, I've also thought that a good approach would be assembling them in rows or about 8-10, then sewing those rows together.

    Time for me to get an updated photo of mine on my blog, so check back :-)

  7. * that should be "in rows OF about 8-10", not "OR"

  8. Feather Duster - thanks for the details of your process. I found your new blog entry - love the Quilt....!! Using strips would be the way to go on a big quilt. I am not sure what size mine will be but it will be small!

  9. I have a photo of you wearing the outfit from the pattern. The photo was sitting by on the table in SJ and I had to go back and find this column which I read "on the road" to make sure it's the same. You are looking marvelous seated on a couch at our house in St. Paul with Lois, Mary and me. Did I already send you the photo?


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