08 March, 2012

Autobiography Quilt

One day, several years ago, while visiting an antique quilt dealer's booth at the Quilter's Heritage Celebration in Lancaster, Pennsylvania I found a small antique basket block made of blue and white fabrics.  It was not very well sewn and there was only one.

Antique Basket Block
I purchased the little block and took it back to our home in Massachusetts.  I carefully took it apart and re-pieced the mismatched pieces in to a block that is actually square and will be 5 inches finished when sewn into a quilt.  But what quilt?

Little did I know then that the answer would present itself in 2003.  It was then that I purchased a wonderful book titled, "Dear Jane: the Two Hundred Twenty-five Patterns from the 1863 Jane A Stickle Quilt" by Brenda Manges Papadakis.

It is one of the few quilt pattern books you will find in my personal library as I most often purchase books more focused on quilt and textile history. However, the quilt made by Jane A. Stickle that inspired Brenda to reproduce it and write her book is absolutely charming. Who doesn't love the idea of making a challenging quilt?

I must admit that I have yet to actually begin a 'Dear Jane' quilt.  I doubt that I ever will because the little antique Basket block inspired me to design a quilt of my own.  At first I considered using some of Jane Stickle's blocks redrafted to finish at 5 inches to fit with the Basket block.  Instead I decided to choose blocks of my own and some with names that have a special meaning to me.

Turkey Tracks

This version of Turkey Tracks was drafted by me to be pieced and sewn into a quilt for DH's and my 25th wedding anniversary.  Have you heard any myths about this block?  It is also known as 'Wandering Foot' which I have heard is thought to bring bad luck to a marriage.  Since I am not particularly superstitious I made my quilt anyway.  My DH and I, now married almost 35 years, together wandered away from our childhood home in California about 14 years into our marriage.  We have been fortunate to be able to choose some wonderful places to live including . . .

Clockwise starting at the top left block these are
 California, Virginia, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania

California, Virginia, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania.  Yes, all of the blocks for my quilt conform in size to the little antique Basket block; they will all finish at 5 inches in the quilt.

Clockwise starting at the top left block these are
Holland Mill, Quilter's Delight, Job's Patience, and Mother's Own.
I used several resources to find blocks with titles that had some meaning to me.  These are Holland Mill, Quilter's Delight, Job's Patience (because I wish I had some), and Mother's Own.

Kylie, Brienne & Meagen
Two of our girls are left-handed!
 These little hands represent our three daughters.  Certainly they all have my heart in their hands. :-)

Tumbling Blocks
When I started this quilt we did not yet have any grandchildren.  In anticipation I included these Tumbling Blocks.  Now, we have three wonderful grandchildren for which new designs are in progress.  The oldest, our only grandson, will be 8 later this year! 

Clockwise starting at the top left block these are
antique 9-Patch, Thirteen Squared, Sunrise Sunset, and Trials & Troubles.
These are some of the more recent additions.  An antique 9-Patch, Thirteen Squared, Sunrise Sunset and Trials & Troubles.  The antique blocks represent my love of antique quilts. :-)

Each block starts with these paper plans drafted by me onto 5-1/2 inch squares of fabric to represent the unfinished size of the blocks.  I prepare several ahead and put them into baggies with the fabrics so that the work can travel with me when I am away from home.  I also work on the at home too!  Whether working by hand or machine I prefer traditional piecing and applique methods.  There is one block that has been foundation pieced onto muslin, but none of them have been paper pieced.  I enjoy the challenge of accuracy no matter how many pieces go into a small block.

37 Finished Blocks of the 64 Needed

I will not show all of my little blocks today, or bore you with the stories of why I chose each one. This is all I have finished spread out on the table by my laptop.  As of this post I have 37 out of 64 finished and more designed and ready to sew. My goal is to have all of the blocks completed sometime this year so that I may begin to set them into at quilt top.  I have several ideas for how to set them but until assembly of the top actually begins those ideas are subject to change.  A friend calls it my 'Dear Greta' quilt, but my working title is 'Autobiography Quilt'. 

This is one project I have been working on, mostly in the evenings.  I will share some of the others, and an antique quilt or two, soon!

No comments: