Block of the Month 1800’s Quilt – April
Unfinished Blocks are 9.5”
April’s block is Album Cross. This block shows up in many quilts from the 1800s. You can see an example of one made in the 1840s at International Quilt Study Center and Museum.
Those of us who went on the Behind the Scenes tour at the American History Museum were lucky to see how the quilts are stored and get a little background on what must be done to preserve these quilts. Here’s a short You Tube video that talks about how these quilts are being preserved.
First decide on your three colors. I chose dark for the triangles, light for the rectangles and a dark for the center square. You can also reverse this, or use solids as either the rectangles or the center square so it could be signed since many of these blocks were used as signature blocks. We will be making the block bigger and then cutting it down. I starched my 8 ½” square because once cut on the diagonal the edges are on the bias; starching helps keep them from stretching.
Cut 1 - 8 ½” square of fabric (medium print in photo above)
Cut in half diagonally twice to create four triangles
Cut 4 – 2 3/4” X 6 1/2” (light mottled print above)
Cut 1 – 2 3/4” square (darker reddish brown above)
Referring to assembly picture below, piece into three sections.
The triangles are oversized and cross rectangles are longer than needed. You will trim them to size later. Press each three piece section away from the rectangle. (You might want to change the direction this is pressed based on where your darker fabrics are. Mine are pressed to the triangles and to the center square.)
Then sew the three sections together. Pin at seam junctures to make your matching easier. Now that this is done it is time to square it up to be a 9 ½” block.
I chose to mark my center square with a light chalk mark from corner to corner creating a “t” centered in the square.
Next I layed a 9 ½” square up ruler on the block . Any size 9 ½” or bigger will work but it sure was easy with this size!
Don’t follow this picture exactly as I couldn’t figure out why I didn’t have an equal amount of fabric on each side of the block. As I started writing up these directions I figured out I needed to place the 4 ¾” mark on the ruler where the “t” crosses. Unlike this picture you should see about the same amount of fabric showing on both sides and the top and bottom.
If you have it lined it up correctly each corner of a 9 1/2” ruler will be centered in the rectangle. Or on a bigger ruler the “O” and the 9 ½” marks will line up with the center of the rectangle edge. Trim then turn the block to trim the other size. If you have a cutting mat that is a turn table it’s a great time to use it.
I notice when I threw away pictures from my Picasa account I must have thrown away the one of me that usually sits with the "About Me" section. I'll get a new picture there shortly. (Or maybe much later, who knows.) I do know that I got enough space to post this blog without buying additional space, which I have decided to do. Really, $5 is pretty darn cheap when you think about it!
I would love to hear from anyone who is making these blocks. I'm delighted that 15 to 20 ladies are following along at the guild. (Not bad when there are only 45 or so members!) Life is getting a bit busier for me over the next couple of months so I hope to be able to get the blocks planned and directions written several days in advance instead of the night before! (Yep, usually I've made the block several weeks in advance but I tend to write the directions the night before... Bad on ME!)