Monday, April 30, 2018

Vintage Quilts Inspiring New Creations

It was hard to pick a block or vintage quilt this project.  I am inspired by every vintage quilt I see!  I wonder what was happening in the quilt-maker's life at the time she made this quilt, what was happening in the world?  If quilts could talk, think of the stories they could tell.  The Variable Star block and the Schoolhouse block were the two blocks I decided to use in my quilt.

From an exhibit at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History, Within These Walls.

Much like our Christmas Crafts Bazaars, Northern women who opposed slavery raised money for the cause through Anti-Slavery Fairs.  This little cradle quilt, made of small Northern Stars is one of the items sold at such a fair. This simple star is one of the oldest patchwork patterns, and has been published by many names....Evening Star, Aunt Liza's Star, and Saw-tooth Star. This is one of my favorite blocks to make in any quilt.

This poem was hand inked in the center star of the quilt.

 “Mother! When around your child
You clasp your arms in love,
And when with grateful joy you raise
Your eyes to God above—
Think of the negro mother,
When her child is torn away—
Sold for a little slave—Oh, then,
For that poor mother pray.”

We know that the early settlers traveled west for a better life, and education was a part of the quest for a better life. The school house and the church were probably one of the first public buildings built in a new settlement. The schoolhouse block was usually a variation of a school house or a church.  According to the International Quilt Study Center in Nebraska, schoolhouse quilts were popular in the late 19th century and continued into the 1920's and 1930's.   "For rural women of the late nineteenth century, teaching was both the most prestigious and the highest paying opportunity available to them. The Schoolhouse pattern, which became popular at the same time, may reflect the lives of the many women who helped support their families through teaching positions, prior to their marriage."

My quilt measures  40" x 46".  The sawtooth blocks are 6" finished and the schoolhouse block is 12" finished.  I paper pieced the schoolhouse block for greater accuracy, as when I put the block into EQ8, I did not like the rotary cutting measurements it gave me.  I don't do 1/16" all.  Paper piecing saved the day!

Island Batik provided me with the beautiful line of fabric, Blue Moon.  I'm thinking of adding a crescent moon and calling it "Once in a Blue Moon".....what do you think?  Hobbs Batting provided my favorite batting to use, Heirloom Premium 80/20 Cotton batting.  I love the way it gives my quilt the flatter, traditional look of antique quilts.  Since I use my domestic sewing machine, it is much less bulk to move through the harp of the machine, and easier on my back.  I used my walking foot and created a "hash-tag" quilting. That strip of blue you see on the right hand side is painters tape.  I like to use it to mark my lines.   The blue thread was provided by Aurifil ....looks great on this quilt.  

Do you have a favorite vintage quilt or quilt block? 

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