Posts Written On January 2010

Anne Orr Quilt Patterns — Lockport Batting Co.

Lockport Batting Company published several booklets and leaflets of Anne Orr quilt designs. I have two of the booklets and a few leaflets. Following up on the Anne Orr inspired quilt designs that I recently posted, I thought I would show you  the original patterns from this 1944 publication.  It’s amazing to me that Anne designed so many beautiful patterns for tatting, crochet, lace making, knitting, cross stitch and quilts, even though she was not a needleworker.

These old booklets have yellowed with age and have a few stains.  I’ve tried to clean them up, and hope they are still legible enough to use.


Antique Album Quilt Top — Remade

The top is finally done, and I am so happy with it. The reproduction striped sashing reminds me of the original sashing (which was rotten), and the antique fabrics from my stash fit in well with the original prints. Here, once again, is the original top.

And here is the revised top, which is quite a bit smaller since I had to reduce the size of the blocks.

The weirdest thing happened when I was cleaning up these photos — I noticed that even though I fixed the incorrect block in the upper right corner of the original top, I made the same mistake on one of the half blocks in the top row of the revised quilt. I accidentally turned the interior, partial 9-patch upside down. I can’t tell you how many times I looked at that block when I was putting the top together and I never noticed it. Apparently, the same thing happened to the original quilter and it was just meant to be, so I am not changing it since it cracked me up when I saw it.


Friendship Knot Quilt Block – WIP

This is probably getting monotonous, but I still am not ready to show photos of the Album quilt top, although I am getting close. I’m also continuing to work in the evenings on the Christmas quilt and the second row is nearly complete — pictures coming soon.

This is a quilt design copied from a pattern in the April, 1984 issue of Quilter’s Newsletter. There was a whole series called “Scrap Quilts,” many of which I bookmarked for future projects. This pattern appealed to me so much that I managed to let go of my obsession to use just vintage prints. There was no way I would be able to find appropriate fabrics for the backgrounds, or enough of the same print for the corner diamonds. Consequently, the only vintage prints in these blocks are the D pieces which are from some really big vintage Double Wedding Ring arcs.

My block is reduced a bit from the original 15″ block to accommodate the size of my DWR pieces — it’s still a pretty big block. Hand piecing works best for this pattern because of all the curves and set-in pieces, and the diagramed example works very well for stitching the three units together. The sashing color in the magazine photo is so cute, but I tried a few orangey & gold colors and thought they looked terrible with my blocks — I’ll have to keep looking.

UPDATE:  Page 2 of the Friendship Knot pattern can be found on this post.


Workbasket Floral Embroidery Patterns

Because I am still working on the antique quilt tops (bed and doll) and am not quite ready to show photographs, I thought I would post some more vintage embroidery patterns. These pretty floral designs were published in The Workbasket magazine in 1956-57. I think they are so cute with their colored highlights. My envelope contained only 23 designs, so I wonder if I am missing at least one pattern. Here are a few of the flowers — an Acrobat document with all 23 flowers is available here.  Any of these designs are pretty on their own, but they would also make an amazing quilt if used together.


Vintage Anne Orr Style Quilt Patterns

Although Anne Orr certainly designed other styles of quilts, these charted type designs always remind me of her.  These are patterns from a 1969-70 McCall’s Needlework & Crafts magazine and no designer is credited.  I have a feeling I’ve seen these reprinted somewhere else, but maybe it was just a similar pattern.

I’ve never attempted one of these quilts, but they are very appealing.  The patterns are simple squares and triangles which can be easily drafted on graph paper. Actually, you could adapt any simple cross-stitch design using this technique. I think any of these patterns would make an especially cute quilt for a child.

OTHER ANNE ORR POSTS:  For Anne Orr Patterns published by Lockport Batting, click here, and for a vintage Anne Orr Mosaic Rose quilt kit, click here.


Doll Quilt Blocks with Antique Fabric #3

The second row is finished on the little quilt. I removed one block from the first row and added it to the second because the quilt seemed too wide to me — now it will be around 19″ x 23″ or so.

The sashing fabric for the Album quilt arrived a few days ago and I’m very happy with it. I couldn’t find anything that looked like the original fabric, but I think this floral stripe is going to look nice.   The tentative plan is to make the sashing two stripes wide.   I’ve made quite a few more blocks for the Album quilt — some with my own fabrics.  I probably won’t post any more photos until I start sewing them together.


Doll Quilt Blocks with Antique Fabric #2

This morning I finished the first row of the doll quilt. It would have been nice to have a little stripe for the sashing (I like the print in the original quilt), but I didn’t have a piece large enough. I also wish I had enough fabric to make the sashing 1/4″ wider, but I don’t. Even at it’s current width, I may run out of the sashing fabric, but If I do, I’ll make the outside border from a different print. You may notice I made the outer border of my block pattern a little smaller than the pictured quilt — that’s because my scraps are so tiny I wouldn’t have been able to cut the four matching rectangle pieces.

This pattern is a lot of fun because the blocks look very different depending upon the color and contrast of the fabrics in each piece. I try not to spend too much time obsessing over the fabric selections for each block — I even decided to start sewing them together now instead of waiting to arrange them when all of the blocks are done. You can drive yourself crazy over-thinking this kind of thing on a scrap quilt (or at least I can), so for me it just works best to relax and keep going (even if you think you’ve made a pretty weird-looking block, and I’m not saying which one that might be).


Doll Quilt Blocks with Antique Fabric

The quilt that I am copying is from the book, Classic Crib Quilts. Because my scraps from the Album quilt are so small with just a few of each print, I knew I would need a scrappy quilt pattern with fairly small pieces. When I saw this little quilt, I knew right away that it was the one.

At first I thought I would hand piece the blocks, but there were so many seams to sew through that I quickly gave that up and stitched the next two on the machine — it was much easier. The fabrics are a mix of scraps from the Album quilt and another group of antique blocks I’ve had for a long time. Selecting the prints and then scrounging around trying to find enough of the required sized pieces is a lot of fun — another puzzle-type project.

The blocks will finish just slightly over 3″ and the vintage fabric in the background is going to be the sashing. I haven’t decided yet how many blocks to make.  My favorite is the pink block — I love that XoXo print.


Antique Album Quilt Blocks – Revised #3

Today was my day off and I was able to make several more of these blocks. My routine is to take several blocks apart in the evening while I’m watching television, then let the pieces soak overnight in a mild soapy solution. The next morning I rinse several times and roll them in a towel. When I have some sewing time I starch, press, patch the little pieces, draw and cut my templates, and finally sew the block together.

This original block was pieced incorrectly with the center 9-patch colors reversed. I thought about keeping it that way, but I just knew it would bother me, so I changed it. The colors in this photo are just not quite right — it’s actually much prettier than this.








Antique Album Quilt Blocks – Revised #2

The best part about working on these revised blocks is figuring out which little scraps to use for each piece. This is a photo of the 3 striped blocks disassembled (2 whole and 1 half) and I just realized that I missed unpicking a couple of seams).


The half block had to be sacrificed to piece the other two — this stripe was tricky because of the large repeat. One of the original blocks in this print was probably the worst job of piecing on the top — you can see it in the the photo of the whole top in the first post.



There is only one block each of these three prints, which is sad because they are such nice patterns. These blocks were easy to stitch, having only a couple of pieced pieces.




Because several of the fabrics in the top were rotten, I need to make some additional blocks using my own stash of antique scraps. This print has a little yellow in it and, although there was no yellow in the original top, there were some prints with black. I think it looks all right with the rest of the blocks.


There was just a little odd-shaped scrap of this print, so I didn’t have space to draw the templates correctly. Channeling the original quilter — “I don’t care about no stinking grain” – I made my own wonky block.



Antique Sawtooth Star Quilt Top

This is the other $5.00 antique quilt top I purchased on ebay. It is machine sewn and the construction is significantly better than the Album quilt top — the points are good, it’s square and lies flat. I haven’t examined all of the fabrics, but they appear to be in good condition. It is clean, and the fabrics are not faded or discolored. It has never been washed and still has a crisp feel to it.

Although this is a simple pattern, I think it’s very clever how she put a four-patch in the middle of each star, set the blocks on point, and then added a wide sashing with the four-patch repeated in the setting squares. Neither of the tops has a border, which I think was pretty common in these old pieced quilts.

The double pink in the sashing is very effective and I also like that there are just a few other pinks in the blocks. She used lots of different fabrics, and I particularly like all the different shirting designs. I am wondering if it is around the same age as the Album top — maybe Ann Champion can tell me. I thought it might have been made by the same quilter (the seller only knew that they belonged to the same person), but I couldn’t find any of the Album fabrics in this top.

Even though I bought these tops with the intention of taking them apart, I am not planning to dismantle this one — I like it just the way it is.







Antique Album Quilt Blocks — Revised

First, I should let everyone know that I talked with Karen Alexander, the quilt historian who commented about this quilt top and suggested I should not take the top apart because it was a treasure.  Karen’s interest is researching quilts with signatures, and she mistakenly believed that my quilt had signatures on the album blocks.  She didn’t appear to have a problem with me taking the quilt apart once she realized this.

I can see how a collector of antique fabric might be interested in this top (especially the centennial print), but the construction and stitching of the top are so crude, I can’t imagine what anyone would do with it, except perhaps document the fabric.  Also, once I examined the top carefully, four of the prints were weak and tore easily (including all of the sashing).  In any event, I made the decision to take it apart and remake it and I hope I’m not offending anyone.  I’m not really a quilt collector — just a quilter who likes to work with old fabric. At least I’m not making a teddy bear 🙂

I’ve sewn 4 blocks so far (2 whole and 2 half), and was surprised at how many pieced pieces there were — lots more than I imagined.  I always think it’s interesting to see this in old quilts — I do it myself when I’m running short of a particular scrap, but some of the pieces she added are so small — just a tiny corner on some.  Her original blocks are around 10 1/2″ and mine are about 8″.  Her finished square pieces are about 2″, but the rectangles are almost 1/2″ narrower.  Honestly, I don’t know how she managed to put these blocks together and I’m not surprised that the top was so lumpy.

After I remove the stitching, I toss the discolored muslin and sort out the printed pieces to see how I might improve the piecing. Next, I make any changes in the extra seaming (making the pattern smaller provided a little more flexibility in positioning the templates and eliminated some of the extra seams). Then I soak the and rinse each piece to remove dirt, press, draw around the template and cut. I’m having a lot of fun working with these blocks and trying to figure out the best way to piece them — I love the problem solving and puzzle aspect of it. Even the tiniest leftover scraps are being saved for a doll quilt.

This block was fairly simple because it’s one of the few that didn’t have seams in the pieces.


This one was had several seams where the stripes didn’t match up, so I tried to fix those seams before cutting the pieces out.


There were two different prints in this original block, but one of them was rotten. It was tricky getting even a half block out of the remainder — lots of extra seams were required.


This last block is a bit odd because she cut all of the pieces on a slight bias. I wanted to use them anyway — I think it brings at least a bit of the original wonkiness to the revised quilt top.



Antique Album Quilt Top

Inspired by the quilt tops from Ann Champion’s cupboard, I decided to collect some antique fabric to make doll quilts. A few weeks ago, I found this top and one other offered together on ebay with a “buy it now” option for $9.95! I was pretty excited because, even though the photos were terrible (the quilt tops were folded), I could see the fabrics looked wonderful.

This pattern is often called Album or Friendship, and the oldest date I’ve found for it is 1896, but it could be older.  The quilter turned her blocks on point and added the fancy striped sashing, which was an interesting idea except that she wasn’t too particular about cutting the strips (or she just didn’t have enough fabric to be fussy cutting these pieces).


Overall, the quilt has a really nice look. I love the brown fabrics, and sometimes the quilter even had big enough pieces in her scrap bag to make a whole block with no extra seams.


This block doesn’t have extra seams, either, but it’s a totally different pattern — Washington Sidewalk. This was probably just a mistake — I believe the “humility block” is a myth.


Often she had to piece the individual pieces,


or substitute a different fabric, or both.


Right in the center of the quilt is my favorite fabric which appears to be a commemorative print made for the Centennial — isn’t it great?



The quilt top does not lie flat, so for this and many other reasons I am going to take it apart.  Fortunately it is hand pieced, which makes the deconstruction easier.  I really like the album pattern, though, so I think that’s going to be the pattern for my first quilt with antique fabric, although it probably won’t be a doll quilt since some of these prints are a bit too large for that.