Posts Written On January 2013

Triangle Quilt — A Few Rows

Today I finally got around to sewing a few rows together on the triangle quilt. I apologize for the quality of the photos — I tried to use the panorama feature on my iPhone, but it doesn’t work that well for something that’s lying on the floor.

My idea for the design wall was a complete bust.  There are about 5,500 little pieces in this quilt, and I quickly realized I was never going to have the patience to arrange them all before I began sewing.  What I finally ended up doing was sewing pairs of triangles together with one dark and one medium/light, trying to select two pieces that I thought looked good together. Once I have a bunch of these sewn in the four main dark colors (brown, black, blue and red), I start sewing 35 pairs together to make a row.  During this step I make an effort to include a selection of all four colors, and also try to mix up the light/medium triangles a little.  Basically, it’s all pretty random and, amazingly, I’m not stressing about placement.

The rows have been tricky to sew together, since many of the triangles are not cut on the correct grain.  The points are not perfect, but it has a sort of primitive look to it that I really like.  My son gave me a DeLonghi Pro 300 Ironing System for Christmas, and it has really helped to tame these triangles.

Most of the brown and madder prints are reproductions given to me by generous friends (thank you Meredith and Mickie).  Half of the yellow prints are also repros, while all the rest of the pieces are antique fabrics from my collection of old blocks and tops (some given to me by my friend, Patty).

Right now the top is 12″ x 85″ — I have a lot left to do.






Heart Quilting Patterns

Since I’m already thinking about Valentines Day, here are some cute heart patterns from vintage Quilter’s Newsletter magazines.

The first pattern is from the February, 1986 issue, and is an adaptation of a design used in the cover quilt.  The pattern is meant to fit a 9 1/2″ to 10 1/2″ block set on the diagonal.


The second pattern is from the February, 1987 issue.  The different elements in the design could be easily changed or swapped.  The directions suggest a 10 1/4″ block, set diagonally.


The last pattern is from the February, 1983 issue, and is a reprint of a vintage Nancy Page design.  I think it’s kind of cool that, although this is a very old pattern, it looks like a modern machine quilting design.



Stitch ‘n Patch Quilts

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted anything on the old blog.  My excuse is that unpicking old tops and blocks, washing and pressing the pieces, and finally drawing and hand cutting 5,500 little triangles for my latest quilt is taking a very long time.  I’m not complaining through — it’s actually a process I enjoy, since it gives me lots of opportunities to admire the designs in the antique fabrics.

Since I have nothing to show for all my work except stacks and stacks of triangles, I thought I would share another old quilt booklet.  Stitch ‘n Patch Quilts is one of my favorites, because most of the patterns are perfect for scrappy quilts.  I also like the way the publisher color printed the templates on top of the text, efficiently combining templates and instructions on one page. This booklet contains the pattern I used to make one of my favorite quilts, the Lantern Quilt.

Stitch ‘n Patch Quilts, 1976



Triangle Quilt Layout

Over the weekend I cut lots more pieces for the triangle quilt, including some medium value fabrics to tone down the contrast.  In the photo, I have mixed the former dark/light group with some of these new dark/medium units (thank you, Gina), and I think the overall look is much better. My quilt isn’t going to look just like the original because my colors are different and my triangles are probably smaller (1 3/4″ x 2 1/2″), but I think it’s going to be nice.

Thank you to everyone who made suggestions on my last post about the quilt and also how to make a design wall.  Although I was leaning toward going all out and just stitching these little 2-piece units in rows as I made them, I know after looking at this photo that I’m not going to be able to handle that.  Even in this randomly placed small group, there are pieces I want to move around. Apparently, I am more of a control freak than I realized, so I’ll be making a trip to the fabric store for some flannel backed vinyl to make into a design wall.

Meredith and Mickie are both sending me some reproduction brown prints from their stashes, and I think more brown is going to make a big difference. Having a blog and meeting other bloggers who love vintage quilts is really a wonderful thing.



Antique Triangle Quilt – My Version

Over the past couple of years I’ve managed to acquire a pretty good collection of turn-of-the-century quilt pieces, almost all of them from old tops and blocks.  Collecting fabrics this old is tricky, because many times the tops or blocks have ended up in environments that did not protect them from dust (and sometimes lots worse), so the fibers are weakened and tear easily.  Also, I have found several chrome and many madder prints that have deteriorated due to the dyes used to make them.

I have been looking for a simple triangle pattern for awhile, but haven’t been able to settle on one.  I love the Thousand Pyramids pattern, but not enough of my pieces will work with an equilateral triangle.  Ocean Waves is beautiful, but I’ve already made one of those.  Then, a few days ago, I found a post by Jan on What a Load a Scrap, where she talked about an antique triangle quilt brought into her local quilt shop.  I was immediately taken with this quilt (including the zig-zag quilting pattern), and a special thank you goes to Jan for allowing me to post photos here.




There are so many things I love about this quilt — the amazing amount of prints, the Thousand Pyramid/Flying Geese effect created by the placement of the triangles, and the appearance of vertical rows produced by the subtle use of lights and darks.  I was completely sold, and immediately started cutting my pieces.  Unfortunately, I don’t have nearly enough madder browns to duplicate the look of this quilt, but I do have a nice assortment of darker fabrics and tons of shirting pieces.  Some of my triangles are cut from squares, so the grain is not going to be perfect for this pattern, but that’s something I’ve gotten used to over the years.  It’s just not always possible to place a template perfectly when you are dealing with old fabric pieces, and I hate wasting any little bits.

Right now I’m concentrating on pressing, drawing and cutting, but here are a few units I sewed together just to get a feel how it’s going to look.  My vertical rows have lots of contrast and are more obvious than I would like, so I want to mix it up a little and add some middle tones to both the light and dark columns.  Because this top is constructed in long rows and it’s going to be big, I’m trying to decide if I want to keep sewing these small two-piece units and lay them all out to make sure there is a good distribution of color and print. This process is not very appealing since I do not have a design wall.  The other idea would be just to go for it and start sewing rows without worrying so much about placement.  What would you do?