Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Block of the Month -- 1800's Quilt August

Block of the Month 1800’s Quilt – August
Unfinished Blocks are 9.5”

We will be making two old favorite blocks during August. First up is an Ohio Star.  This block has been found in quilts from the mid to late 1700’s through today.  It was prominently featured in the American Eagle quilt in the National Museum of American History.  Mimi Dietrich featured the quilt and her version of it in her book Quilts from the Smithsonian.
Take a few moments to view the YouTube video by the American History Museum of  the Civil War Sunday School Quilt: 
Does it remind you of anything?  Yes, what quilters do today by making quilts and donating them to the Quilts of Valor and the Virginia Memorial Quilt Project as well as other programs that benefit our military personnel is what the Sunday School class did during the Civil War.   It’s wonderful that we are continuing this great tradition.

I made this block using three colors although I’ve seen it in two colors.  I would not use directional fabric for this one.  I chose dark for the triangle star points, medium around the center square, and light for the corner and center squares.
Background Fabric: Cut five - 3 ½” squares of background fabric
                        Cut one 4 ¼” square and then cut it diagonally twice. 
Dark Fabric for star points  Cut two – 4 1/4” squares of dark fabric.  Cut diagonally twice.
Cut  One – 4 1/4” square of medium fabric
Cut diagonally twice.  
Using the photo for color placement make 4 broken dishes blocks.  To trim it to 3 ½”, place one of the  diagonal lines on your ruler on the diagonal of the block.  The 4 fabrics should meet in the center at the 1 ¾” mark on your ruler. Trim the block to 3 ½”.   If you have the Tucker Trimmer ruler this is a great time to use it.

Lay out the block. Sew in rows and then sew the rows together.  I pressed the seams to the plain blocks.

And another block….

Although I thought this was a Jacob’s Ladder block, my friend, Sharon, found out what it really is. It was featured in the September 2012 issue of American Quilter.  It was called Crosses and Losses in the article.  The antique quilt it was shown in was from the Civil War. The normal Jacob's Ladder block  I found in a quilt that was circa 1860 to 1880.  I have found many of the quilts that have been preserved in museums are appliqué or crazy quilts.  There do not seem to be as many pieced block quilts around.  Although if you want to do a Carpenter’s Wheel, it was definitely a popular quilt block in the 1800s!

Pick two fabrics that contrast with each other.  This does work with directional fabrics but you might want to plan in advance how you want to cut the directional fabric.  Additionally you can switch the light for the dark. However, I have given cutting instructions as I show it above.

Cut 3 –3 1/2” squares dark fabric
Cut 3 – 4 1/4” squares dark and light fabric
On the back, draw a line diagonally down the center of each light fabric.

To make the half square triangles, place a dark and a light 4 ¼” square right sides together.  Stitch ¼” away from both sides of the drawn line.  Cut on the drawn line.  Iron seam to the dark side. Square up the unit to 3 ½”.  Repeat with the other 4 ½” squares. 

Lay out the units as shown above.  Stitch in rows and then stitch the rows together. 

Any questions – send me an email

The next installment of the 1800's Quilt Block of the Month should be around Saturday, Sept. 8th or so.   I keep telling myself it is time to update my blog but my motivation to do so is really low.  Sometime you will come to visit and be really surprised to see an update.  But don't hold your breath.  

Happy Quilting All! 


  1. Love both of these blocks! I am currently working on a Civil War Quilt and needed two more blocks! Now I have them! Thank you!

  2. Two of my favorite blocks! Thanks.


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