Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Judy asked what pattern source I'm using for my album blocks. I never use patterns, I seem to be most inspired by photos of antique quilts, and out comes the graph paper so I can calculate my own size and cutting requirements. I actually love this process and look forward to getting it all nailed down and ready to start cutting. I never have to wonder where I can find a pattern or be at a standstill while I wait to find what I want.

I guess this attitude came from the fact that Keryn and I started doing patchwork in the seventies, and there was nothing to buy in Australia, precious little patchwork fabric, a few magazines and no patterns at all. So we just learnt to draft our own, and make the templates for handpiecing from scratch. You young-uns have it so easy!!

My paisley album is round at Keryns, but I thought I had another block to illustrate this post, so I went hunting. I seem to have been enamored of the album block and one of it's variations for a while. I found these two orphan blocks; the grey one is just like Bonnies and was made by Keryn many years ago and donated to me.
These blocks (there are six of them)were made from the scrap drawer as an ongoing project which has been forgotten for a while. But I adore the scrap look and might resurrect them now. This is a smaller variation and I went through a stage of obsession with this pattern. I was working and the whole family had to be out the door by 7.30 in the morning, at the very latest. I began getting up at 5, just so I could have an hour or so of piecing time every morning. Without that sewing time I would have been very grumpy, because sometimes I was far too tired to machine sew at night and often fell asleep over my handpiecing.

I made this set of blocks, a variation with less peices, from a photo of a tattered ebay quilt
this set to use up pink and blues...
and this set from another ebay quilt.
My early morning sewing sessions were great for feeding the pieces through the machine and building the blocks, but I felt too rushed when it came to setting them, so I'd just start another set. And they're still here, all those years later. But as I keep telling people, they don't eat much.

Now, if I could get organised I might post some cutting requirements, I'll see what I can do. And by the way, back in the seventies this block was more often referred to as Chimney Sweep and sometimes Courthouse Steps.

I've got a nagging feeling that there's another blue set somewhere, I might have to start thinking about finishing these up. Thanks for the motivation Judy.


Karen April 01, 2008  

What an interesting story about your album blocks. And I like that "they don't eat much". I, too, have some blocks tucked away waiting for the inspiration to get on with the project and finish.

Thanks for the compliments you left on my blog about my little ongoing quilt show. Hope you will come back to visit. I definitely will be back to see your projects.

meggie April 01, 2008  

You have some very interesting quilt blocks there. My old bit & pieces are not as cohesive, & they may never find homes!

loulee April 02, 2008  

Wow! What a tale. Those blocks really will tell a story once they become a quilt.
I have a few blocks very similar to these made up, and a few more cut and ready to sew, they are languishing in the bottom of a box I think. I know them as Katies Choice. It's surprising how many names a block can accquire over the decades.

MARCIE April 03, 2008  

Wonderful collection of blocks! I have been attracted to this block for a long time.

YankeeQuilter April 03, 2008  

I learned by using graph paper too. I still like sketch blocks out that way...keeps the mind young!

The blocks look wonderful. I have some tucked into a box somewhere that I love but haven't had the time/inspiration to put together yet.

sewprimitive karen April 04, 2008  

I can't get over how creative the two of you are. Is the rest of your family as creative?

julieQ April 07, 2008  

Really pretty sets of blocks you have there...and a blue set too, lurking in the wings? Lovely! I have my own pad of graph paper too...

Judy April 21, 2008  

OH my goodness, I didn't mean to send you on such a long journey! I had tried to find a name that I could look up and they seemed to have so many names that the EQ block programs got stumped! Then all of a sudden they were everywhere!

I love them all, the small and the big! Thanks for showing the variety too in color waves and styles!

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