Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Whimsy, Wacky or Whatever?

What do I do when I want to post about all my quilting endeavors but the quilting endeavors are scant? I show you an antique quilt because those are what this blog is really all about anyway. You know the saying, "nothing new under the sun," right? Well that is particularly true when one is a fan of the quilts and quilt art of a prior era.

When I think of nineteenth century quilts I don’t usually think of polka dots but Barbara Brackman certainly has noticed the dots if you read her posts here and here. This is a crib quilt I really treasure because a) it’s a crib quilt (can’t resist small), b) it’s pink and brown (the perennial favorite), and c) it is so darn cute with all those dots. As I often do with scrappy antique quilts, I wonder about how those fabric choices were made. Clearly, in most of the blocks the fabrics look planned, but on others they are mixed. Did the quilter only have enough of that funky aqua fabric for just two triangles in the whole quilt? There’s another block that has two brown dot pieces and two black and white stripe pieces. Was that all that was left? Do you think she laid out the blocks before stitching them together or did she pick them up randomly as she went along with the stitching?

For those of you who make scrappy quilts, do you spend time trying to lay out your blocks to make them look like they weren’t planned? I do and don’t think I miss the irony in that exercise. If you are a fan of that scrappy look I encourage you to study the full quilt picture above. It is a great exercise in crafting authentic reproductions of 19th century scrap quilts.
See below for the latest shameless plug about my progress on my Lemoyne Star quilt. Nine more blocks stitched and all while I was one the road. Three cheers for my little hand piecing kit (see here for more on that). I am well on my way to my next 9 star blocks.


  1. "Oooh"
    That's what I said - out loud - to my computer when I opened up your post - your little crib quilt is so cute, gorgeous, and I LOVE it.
    Ticks all the boxes.
    Your little stars are looking darn nice too!

  2. Wow that looks very very good, and the stars are wonderfull!!

    great job

    kind regards
    janine Alers from the Netherlands

  3. I was surprised to see such large dots on the triangle pieces. You're right. What's old is new etc Your stars are coming along beautifully.

  4. I just love your stars Taryn! The Le Moyne Stars really is a classic block you never get tirred off. I'm also a big lover of dots (and stripes) and often find it annoying that the fabric producers of repros dont include these in their repro collections ... because if you study antique quilts, you find them EVERYWHERE.

  5. I love scrappy quilts and that's pretty much all I make. I buy FQs and FEs instead of yardage unless I'm making a backing or binding. And yes, I do lay things out so no two of the same fabric touching.

  6. I love scrappy, but mine is usually planned. I may have to loosen up. I love the fabric in the border and your LeMoynes are looking great, especially the pink and dark brown one in the center.

  7. I lament my scant progress, as well. And as a scrappy quilter, I try to not concern myself with planning what goes where. For the most part, I just pick up the next fabric in the pile and sew, and if two yellows end up next to one another, so be it. Most of the time...

  8. Love the scrappy crib quilt. I love to make scrappy quilts and while I might try to make the 4-patch (for example) match, I don't necessarily have the whole quilt matching. Usually it is truly scrappy looking. I'm seriously thinking about getting a lemoyne star kit started for hand piecing while traveling or watching TV. I truly love hand piecing and I bought Jo Morton's "Timeless" book with all her instructions for doing it. Is that what you are following? When I hand piece, I also hand quilt it when it is finished. It just doesn't seem right to machine quilt a hand pieced quilt.

  9. Thank you for sharing the antique quilt with the polka dot fabric. I think almost all quilters like polka dots. I hadn't thought about whether antique quilts have polka dot fabric or not. Interesting to know that that style was used. I don't recall seeing any in repro fabric choices.

  10. You are right, this is a wonderful antique quilt...thanks for sharing! Love how the prints were mixed, and yes, I plan some of mine that way, too!

  11. I love the crib quilt!! The spots and dots are so classic!!
    For me it depends what quilt I'm making. Generally I do not lay everything out ahead of time, but that's mostly because I dont have the room:) I would venture to say most quilts of old weren't laid out either for that reason.

  12. PS, Your Lemoyne stars are wonderful!! And so pretty!!! Woo-Hoo!!

  13. just love those lemoyne stars, beautiful.
    ok, love this little quilt
    wow look at those fun dots!!!!
    I love collecting reproduction fabrics with dots now
    wish they would reprint that line of Judie Rothermels a few years ago.
    thought of you yesterday I spent the day in a quilt museum in lancaster!

  14. Love the crib quilt and the Lemoyne stars!
    It is hard for me to make anything that is not scrappy. I pick out fabrics for each block, no matter what I am making. Then when all the blocks are done, I lay them out, arrange and rearrange until I like where each block is placed in the quilt. It is just part of my process when making a quilt. Yes, it takes time but it is something I actually enjoy doing. I don't believe most past quilt makers did this, which is fine. We love their quilts no matter how they were put together!

  15. At first I couldn't tell if this was an old quilt or new. The polka dots give it so much "pluck."

    I also love to wonder about the fabric choices that were made. The "mistakes" or quirky pieces are my favorite. They give the quilt its bouncy personality.

    I, too, have tried to design these quirks into my quilts on the design wall, but it doesn't work for me.

    Now that I'm working with more scraps and small pieces of fabric on hand, I can more easily make "mistakes," like by truly running out of something. Those honest mistakes seem to work!

    Love your stars too! That block is on my list to do one of these days.

  16. What a treasure! I like how unconcerned the maker seems to be about the direction of the stripes in her triangle border. :0) You don't have to make any excuses about showing your little stars - I love each one.

  17. Just beautiful and for the record I always lay out my blocks to make them look scrappy. Funny!

  18. Ahhh, the ever-tormenting question of quirky scrap quilts: Was it CHOICE or CHANCE?? Delightful small quilt.

    So ... whereʻs the chance mistake in your LeMoyne stars?

  19. What a cute crib quilt! Don't you love wondering what and why?! Your Lemoyne stars are looking wonderful. Great fabrics. It's hard for me to make something that's not planned out to the Nth degree!


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