Several years ago, we were living in Virginia and a woman from my church gave me a box FULL of 30’s reproduction prints. It was all fat quarters so there were lots of different prints. Her mother was a quilter and had passed away and since she didn’t sew, she wanted the fabrics to go to a good home.
I’ve been trying to figure out what I want to do with this treasure for some time. I really like the slightly-off pastel colors that are so distinctive from that time period. I thought it would be fun to make a quilt from a pattern that was popular in the 1930’s and I’ve always loved the “Glorified Nine-patch” or the “Improved Nine- patch” so I decided to use these fabrics to make a quilt like that.
I wasn’t totally sure that the Improved Nine-patch block was from the 1930’s but I came across an article in the Aug 2005 American Patchwork & Quilting magazine that said that the first possible printing of the pattern was in a 1931 booklet. Apparently, the Improved Nine- patch blocks from that era were quite small. I thought it would be best if I made mine bigger just to make it easier! I came across a pattern that I liked in the June 2011 issue of American Patchwork & Quilting magazine called “Embrace Your Curves”. It was designed by Becky Cogan. It’s a Glorified Nine-Patch quilt with nice, big 9″ blocks.
First, you sew the blocks together into Nine- patch blocks. As you can see, they’re not even rows.
Then, using a template or pattern, you cut the block into the stretched out version.
Then add the background pieces to the sides. (This is the tedious part with all the curves.) Now, the original patterns for the Glorified Nine patch had a football or an eyeball-shaped piece on the sides. The same idea as the Double wedding ring. For some reason, I thought this pattern would be easier. I guess I saw the straight seams in the middle and it looked easier but now that I’ve completed a dozen or so, I can see that I’ve actually added more seams to be sewn. Hmmm. The pattern in the magazine uses different background fabrics so possibly, she just wanted to add another dimension to this quilt and she wasn’t going for easier. Also, making a quilt like this the old fashioned way gives you a scalloped edge and the way I’m doing it, I’ll just have straight sides. I guess I could add a border.
Here are some of the blocks laid out so you can see how the quilt will look. It’s fun to work with these fabrics and they seem so Summer-y to me. They make me think of one of my very favorite books of all time, “The Persian Pickle Club” by Sandra Dallas.
This book is about a group of quilters who call themselves the Persian Pickle Club. It’s set in central Kansas during the 1930’s amidst the backdrop of the Dust bowl and Depression. It’s about the friendship of women, quilting and getting by in hard times and it even has a murder mystery to figure out. I’ve read this book over and over and I love it every time.
When I look at these green fabrics, I remember the line from the book when they’re all cutting pieces of their fabrics to give to a newcomer who is just learning to quilt. “Forest Ann handed her a sliver printed with windmills in what we called ‘that green.’ It was the color of the enamel trim on my stove and Mrs. Judd’s double boiler, and it was in all the new material nowadays.”
I’ll post pictures when I get this one done!