Last week I talked about what inspired me to start quilting and I asked you to share that with me. This week, I wanted to show you how I’ve drawn inspiration for my designs from antique quilts. I’d like to know what genre of quilting inspires you the most. Your comments will enter you into the ongoing drawing for this new pattern booklet from Annie’s Quilting that includes my lap quilt, Galaxy!
A lot of my designs include traditional blocks used throughout quilting history. One of my favorite things to do while working on designs is to page through books of antique quilts. Especially books from museums. This book, Classic Quilts from the American Museum in Britain, is one of the many I own.
So, here are some of my favorite traditional blocks and how I used them in quilt designs.
The Log Cabin block is my all time favorite. The traditional Log Cabin has a center square with “logs” added on alternating sides. Two sides of the block is light fabrics while the opposite sides are built with darker fabrics. You can see that from the book cover above. There are other variations that I have used as well. Here’s a few of my quilts with that block:
The log cabin block in this quilt, Twinkling Log Cabin, is the Courthouse Steps variation.
In this quilt, Follow the Stars, I use the traditional dark logs on one side and light on the other, but I have replaced the center square with a star block and added black squares at the end off the logs on two sides to make a secondary design.
A really easy block that many do not realize is a traditional block! Did you know that this is an Amish quilt block? Until I did a little research, I had no idea either! It is a traditional block of theirs that can be found in many quilts, both Amish and not, from the 19th century. I have a few patterns that have the snowball block or a variation. Here’s a close up of one of my patterns, Carnival Time:
I also did this variation in my pattern Addie’s Garden:
This is another of my favorite blocks. In the nineteenth century, women would make blocks and would often name them after everyday items they used in their daily lives. Even if it already had a name! Churn dash is one of them. This block is a fun one to play with because it looks good alone or combined with other elements. In Country Dance (left), I used the plain churn block on point. In High Prairie Blooms (right), I added a star unit to the center of the churn dash block.
Yes, I know this is not a block, but actually a quilt style. It’s on my bucket list to actually reproduce one of these someday, so I sort of did that with my 2017 BOM Bloom Where You’re Planted.
The different floral designs in each block is reminiscent of a Baltimore Album quilt. We’ll see if I someday get around to reproducing an actual one!
I have many, many more favorite blocks that are found in antique quilts, but that would make this blog post way too long. Leave a comment below answering the following two questions to be entered into the drawing:
- What is your favorite quilt block?
- What era of quilting inspires you most?
The drawing will be on Monday March 30th. ***We have a winner! Congrats, Sheila Bales!***
Until then, happy quilting!
Judith Baker says
Carpenter’s Wheel is my favorite block; I have made it in all sizes from six inches to six feet. The 1800s are my inspiration. I love the prints and one-block quilts.
I too am inspired by antique quilts. I think that’s why I love your designs. I’m not sure what my favorite block, I love Churn dash and seem to be drawn to star blocks.
Maybe I should read the blog more carefully!
1) Drawn to quilting through family tradition, love of seeing & beauty of antique quilts.
2) Favorite block: Churn Dash & star blocks.
3) Favorite tool: rotary cutter! I started in days of templates. What a game changer!