QUILTS & FABRIC: PAST & PRESENT


Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Fat Quarter Fancy Work

Buttonwood Basket by Karla Menaugh
32" x 44-1/2"
Background pieced from fat quarters.

Fat Quarters are cut 18" x 22".

Fat quarters are easy to buy, easy to store and they seem inexpensive enough that we always pop a few extra into our stack at the checkout counter. 


There are plenty of designs for piecing with fat-quarter cuts, but several years ago Karla and I noticed that traditional applique designs ignore the contemporary fat quarter.

First of all, it's a rectangle cut, and most applique is designed for a square format.

Second, you don't get much area to work with. After you square up your edges, trim your selvage off and pre-wash the yardage we figure you can count on a rectangle 16-1/2" x 20-1/2".

We designed Buttonwood Basket baby quilt around those limitations.
Our theory: Buy two closely related fat quarters for the background.
Karla chose a woven stripe and woven check, same colors.


  1. After pre-washing and trimming square up the fat-quarters to 16-1/2" x 20-1/2".
  2. Cut each in half horizontally, resulting in 10-1/4" x 16-1/2" rectangles.
  3. Sew the rectangles together into a four patch pattern to make a background 20" x 32-1/2
The rectangular four-patch gives you a nice area for applique and if you are looking for rectangular designs:


Vintage applique quilts featuring baskets and vases of flowers are easily adapted.





The book gives you cutting instructions for adding more background.


The Virtual Store

We still have copies of the Fat Quarter Fancywork book with ideas for applique and fat quarters in our Sunflower Pattern Co-operative Etsy Store.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Past Perfect: Sandy Klop

Wagon Wheels by Sandy Klop

The Past Perfect feature for March is about Sandy Klop
of American Jane Patterns.

Wagon Wheels Repro Quilt

Perhaps inspired by this antique top from the late 19th century.

Every month this year I'm featuring a quilter who does a classic job of interpreting quilts from the past. Past Perfect. Sandy Klop is a classic herself.

Sandy designs fabric for Moda, specializing in
primary colors that echo traditional French Provincial design.

Stars & Stripes

Criss Cross

Edy's Quilt
Our mutual friend Edy has a antique in this marvelous design

Oh, My Stars.

Inspired by a quilt in the Camden County New Jersey
Historical Society collection, pictured in New Jersey Quilts on page 82.

Sandy's Primarily Houses

The inspiration from the late 19th century was pictured in a Quilt Engagement Calendar.
Sandy has a real eye for selecting unusual antiques that are perfect for her new fabrics.

Nickels & Dimes

Fiestaware Quilt

Festival of Light

Flying Circles

Her designs are impressive in their complexity (although she does simple quilts too) but what's also impressive is that she inspires others to stitch these complex reproductions.

Susan Dyer's version of Oh, My Stars

Kathy O's version of Oh, My Stars

Get inspired yourself at Sandy's American Jane Pattern page:

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Needlework at the Bazaar: Horribly Uninteresting

Fair in Philadelphia, 1864
Knitted and crocheted blankets hanging in the fancy work area.

Here's why you don't take some 17 year olds to needlework shows:

Julia Rosa Newberry (1853-1876)
 about the time of the Bazaar

Julia Rosa Newberry kept a diary. She was living in New York. On April 20, 1870 her friend James Hooker Hammersley tried to interest her and sister Mary Louisa in working for the poor orphans of Brooklyn.

Sheltering Arms Nursery

The administrators and board held a spring "Bazaar" or "Fair" to raise money to run the school and feed and clothe the children.
April 20, 1870
"The judicious Hooker Hammersly was very anxious Sister & I should be on his committee for the 'Sheltering Arms' a great bazaar just opened & which is to last ten days.---we went to see it, there was a fine collection of pictures, & tons & tons of fancy work, which was horribly uninteresting. I saw a number of the 'swellest' young men of New York."

James Hooker Hammersly was a New York swell. He and Julia were wealthy and priveleged; Julia was just to young to see anything but the boys.

Another view of that 1864 Philadelphia Fair.

After the Civil War fairs continued to be a successful method for women to fund causes. The Library Company of Philadelphia has many photographs of the Great Central Fair in 1864. Click on the green highlighted categories and see a picture:

Julia Newberry's Diary was published in 1933.

The Sheltering Arms Nursery is still helping people in its current incarnation as Brooklyn Community Services. Let's hope they are so well-funded by the city's caring citizens that they don't have to sell needlework to raise money for social services.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Pi: Southern Style


Four block quilt, probably Southern US, 1875-1920

Tomorrow 3-14 is the day to celebrate π. Pi is a mathematical constant: the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter.

Around and across.



Full-size medallion quilt from the Arizona Quilt Project & the Quilt Index

The number is 3.1415 etc. so we're celebrating circumference and diameter with some circular quilt patterns.

Not just any circular quilt patterns. A certain style of Southern quilt.


Ann Jeanette Parker, Liberty County, Georgia
North Carolina Project & the Quilt Index


I'm including quilts I know to have been made in the South and those I am guessing were made there based on style characteristics.

One style characteristic is the use of solid color fabrics
 (sometimes rather thin fabrics)

Sold at Skinner Auctions
Sometimes solid colors that fade




The solid colors were particularly favored for backgrounds, sashing and border
in this style.
Birmingham Museum of Art 80-2009-01
Another characteristic is a reliance on chrome orange in the palette.

Cover of Ladies' Circle Patchwork Quilt magazine in the 1980s

And then there is sashing. The blocks are usually set on the square,
rather than diagonally.

Made by Etta Cox in Tampa, Florida
North Carolina Project & the Quilt Index

The family name is the Banana Quilt, made by Willie Mann
in North Carolina in 1907 they thought.

They are often sashed with a rather wide sash.

Often the sash is a triple strip.

And sometimes there are 9-patch checkerboards in the cornerstones.

The patterns are often complex while the fabric quality is second-rate.

Eliza West Hall, Alabama.
Eliza set her blocks on the diagonal but we
know it's a Southern quilt.



This auction quilt was found in Maine, but I don't think it originated there.

Here's the back.
Looks Southern to me.

Margaret Ann Hall, mid 20th c
The style continued into the 20th century, as in
this one from the Tennessee project. It's sometimes
hard to date them if they are all solid fabrics.

Willie Crabtree of Tennessee made this one about 1960.
She knew how to sash it.


Don't forget to have a piece of pie tomorrow.
I'm thinking Southern Pecan