Appliqued Toy Quilt Blocks

A few years ago I saw a listing on ebay for some very unusual appliqued squares.  Although the squares were listed as quilt blocks, I suspect they were originally a hand stitched child’s book.  The edges were finished, and they had obviously been well-loved.  The motifs were blanket stitched, but because the edges had not been turned under, the fabric had begun to ravel, especially in the letters.  In spite of the condition issue, the lot sold for what I remember to be an astonishing amount of money, probably because the designs are so darn cute.

From the listing pictures I could tell that these blocks were not constructed using separate pieces, but rather from one printed novelty fabric.  I saved the listing photos anyway, because I wanted to draw new patterns and try these in some combination of applique, crayon and embroidery.  I loved the idea of the shadow.

I drew all the patterns, and put them in my huge “To-Do” file where they have been languishing ever since.  Then a couple of weeks ago, I saw this photo included in an ebay listing for almost 5 yards of vintage 36″ wide fabric, and I freaked.

There are 11 repeats of the 10 toys, which is more than enough for me to make a quilt and also a little book similar to the one on ebay.  I think it was so clever of the original maker to turn this fabric into a book.  The fabric itself is some kind of cotton blend; it’s a good weight (not heavy like a drapery fabric) and is tightly woven, but the weave itself is unusual and it has an almost linen-like feel to it.

Here are my first 6 blocks which will be about 8″.  I used the amazing glue technique on the fabric edges, cut them out and blanket stitched them to the background fabric.  I think I will save the tiny alphabet blocks for the book, but I plan to use some of the wooden bead strings in the quilt.  Although I really like the background color in the fabric, I decided to use an off white because I want to set this quilt with scrappy alternate blocks in primary colors.  Oops — I forgot to stitch the little dog’s tail.

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