Saturday, March 10, 2012

Block of the Month 1800's Quilt March



March’s block is an 8 pointed star. Rather than drafting a block with set in seams, our block will be made with half square triangles.  Eight pointed stars are seen in quilts from as early as 1815. The Virginia Quilt Museum has a miniature version of  5 stars and 4 plain blocks made up as a 9 patch.  The total quilt is 4 ½” x 4 ¾” and was made by Lucinda Robinson Rice when she was 5 years old.  I’m sorry I couldn’t find a digital image of the quilt but if you own the book, Virginia Quilt Museum you can see a photo of the little quilt.
If you haven’t seen the wonderful blog quilt historian Barbara Brackman has written you need to take a look at it.  During 2011 she produced a  weekly blog entry that told about what was happening during the Civil War 150 years ago and directions for an 8” block.   Barbara chose blocks that went with the history she was relating rather than picking blocks that were actually made during the 1800’s.  One thing she does point out is that many blocks were made before the 1900’s but didn’t acquire their names until the 1900’s when they became available through newspapers.  Check out her blog before she removes it from the internet by July, 2012. http://civilwarquilts.blogspot.com/  If you scroll down the left side you will see the blog archive.  I  started with the first one.  She really brings the Civil War to life, especially through the eyes of the women.  



Cutting:
From background fabric cut 4  - 2 ¾” squares.
From background fabric cut 4 -  3 1/4” squares.
From first colored fabric cut 4 - 3 1/4” squares.
From second colored fabric cut 4 – 3 ¼” squares.
Matching up the 3 ¼” blocks: Match 2 of each colored blocks to 2 background blocks. (This uses all 4 of the background blocks and 4 of the colored blocks.)  Now match up the remaining blocks color 1 to color 2.  All of these should be right side to right side. The only blocks that won’t be matched up yet is  the 2 ¾” background blocks.
Sewing:
From the 3 ¼” squares we will be making half-square triangles or triangle squares.  These instructions are for making two triangle squares at the same time and then trimming to the correct size.  Feel free to use whatever method works best for you to make a 2 ¼” finished half square triangle or triangle square.
After matching the blocks as listed under the cutting directions, draw a diagonal line down the center of the 4 background 3 ¼” squares. Draw a second line just shy of 1/4” away from the first line on both sides of the original line.  Do the same with the lighter colored 3 ¼” blocks left. 

Sew on each of the side lines, not on the center line. Cut the block in half on the center line.  Iron the seam open. Trim the blocks to 2 ¾”.  I made this block in quadrants and paid attention to the direction I ironed each quadrant to be able to nest as many seams as as possible.
Lay out  as shown.  Once the quadrants have been sewn, sew in rows and then sew the rows together.
The third block is now done.
Make sure all blocks are 9 ½” unfinished.  Trim carefully if any are t0o big but try not to trim off your points.  If too small check your seam allowances to make sure your seam isn’t bigger than a scant ¼”.

I noticed this block in a reproduction quilt being shown in the McLean House at Appomatt0x Court House yesterday when we visited.  I couldn't resist taking a picture of it to use with these directions. 



Sophi seemed to enjoy the time out doors.  She didn't sleep on the way home but she took a nap when we got there and yet was out, sound asleep by 7:10 or so!  
Happy Quilting All! 

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