Susannah quilt block

quilt block susannah

Say hello to Susannah, my latest quilt block from issue 15 ‘Art of Quilting’. She looked to be a little complicated from the instructions but as with most things it made sense when the pieces were cut and under the foot!

This was another opportunity to practice those set-in seams. To begin with, the green gingham rectangles and the red floral tapered rectangles were joined in pairs to make the four double patches that occupy the corners. The first double patch was sewn to one side of the orange central square. Then the next double patch is sewn to the first, and again to the central square.

Before sewing I marked the 6mm seam line on the wrong side of the central square to ensure that the set in seams started and finished from the point of seamlines crossing and not the edge of the fabric like the other seams.

All went swimmingly until the last and final seam, which simply didn’t match up. Took me a while to figure but it was easily resolved by unpicking a couple of stitches and restitching to fit. I’d over stepped the corner seam and it had thrown out the position of the last piece!

This seemed like such an easy one from the start, and it is, really, but a lot of care is needed to make it work accurately.

Block Facts:

Name: Susannah
History: This is a variation of a block known as ‘Oh Susannah’, the popular song which was first published in America in 1848.
Level: Set in seams require experience.
No. of pieces: 9

Progress report:

Block 1: The Double Four Patch
Block 2: The Whirlwind
Block 3: The Sailboat
Block 4: The Shoo-fly
Block 5: The Trafalgar
Block 6: The Windmill
Block 7: The Chequer Square
Block 8: The Diamond Square
Block 9: The Cactus Pot
Block 10: The Sawtooth Star
Block 11: To come!
Block 12: The Windmill Sails block
Block 13: The Basket of Flowers block
Block 14: Susannah

Basket of Flowers quilt block

basket of flowers quilt block

Introducing the Basket of Flowers block, from issue 14 ‘Art of Quilting’. And what a little trickster this was! Just when you get the hang of ‘chaining’ and running seams from top to bottom, this little bunch of pieces involved set-in seams, meaning the seams meet at the same point rather than the lines of stitching crossing over.

Though my quarter inch foot is still my best friend when it comes to quilting, in this instance it is also advisable to draw on the seam lines so you can accurately pin point where the seams will meet.

The red flower diamond shape and the orange daisy diamond shape are seamed together, starting and ending at the seam points. This is repeated for the second set.

The small white triangles are then positioned between the diamond pairs, and each side sewn from edge to seam point.

These two sets are then joined along the long edges of the diamonds from seam point to edge.

The white square then is inserted between the two sets, being careful to meet at the seam points.

Then it starts to get a little easier as the big green paisley triangle is sewn along the long edge. No seam points to meet just edge to edge seam.

The little green paisley triangles are then seamed to the white rectangles and seamed to each side.

One last big white triangle to sew across the bottom… a good old press … et voilà!

This one did take a little more time than the others but it was still a pleasure to make and its a lovely one to add to the set.

Block Facts:

Name: ‘Basket of Flowers’ or ‘Lily Basket’ or ‘Flower Basket’
History: This design was ideally suited to the dress and feedsack prints of 1930s America, where it was a particular favourite
Level: Set in seams require experience.
No. of pieces:13

Progress report:

Block 1: The Double Four Patch
Block 2: The Whirlwind
Block 3: The Sailboat
Block 4: The Shoo-fly
Block 5: The Trafalgar
Block 6: The Windmill
Block 7: The Chequer Square
Block 8: The Diamond Square
Block 9: The Cactus Pot
Block 10: The Sawtooth Star
Block 11: To come!
Block 12: The Windmill Sails block
Block 13: The Basket of Flowers block

The Windmill Sails block

Windmill sails quilt block

Quilt block number 12, the Windmill Sails block, from issue 13 ‘Art of Quilting’. I appear to have mislaid issue 12 but there’s no real urgency… I’ve still got 69 others to do!

I totally recognised the order of piecing this time, purposefully not looking at the instructions to test how much I have learned so far. I think in fairness, even though there are a fair few pieces, it was a pretty easy one to work out:

The 2 smaller triangles were sewn to the diagonals of the larger red triangles to make 4 rectangles. The blue gingham then sewn to the side of the red fabric point to make a small block. Then the four blocks sewn together. I thought I was going to have to seek reference on which way to press the seams but even that seemed pretty natural, until I got to the last centre seam where I had to check to find out that it must be pressed open to get it to lay flat.

windmill sails block reverse

I had a bit of a mare with the blue gingham though. The grain of the fabric wasn’t in tune with the checks and I had to decide whether to go for straight grain or straight pattern. I opted for the first even though it is hugely annoying that the pattern isn’t totally straight and I think I did the right thing because when I pressed it at the end it made for a perfect square. Might have been a different story if I’d have gone against the grain. Oh my! I really didn’t think these little things would have me thinking so much!

Block Facts:

Name: ‘Windmill sails’ or ‘Louisiana’
History: Each of the fifty states that make up the USA has its own embematic quilt block. This represents the southern state of Louisiana
Level: Some experience needed to make the centre seams converge neatly.
No. of pieces:16

Progress report:

Block 1: The Double Four Patch
Block 2: The Whirlwind
Block 3: The Sailboat
Block 4: The Shoo-fly
Block 5: The Trafalgar
Block 6: The Windmill
Block 7: The Chequer Square
Block 8: The Diamond Square
Block 9: The Cactus Pot
Block 10: The Sawtooth Star
Block 11: To come!
Block 12: The Windmill Sails block

The Sawtooth Star block

sawtooth star quilt block

Quilt block number 10, the Sawtooth Star block and more importantly, one whole column’s worth of the final quilt! Not that these first 10 do actually sit in the same column but it is still an eight of the way there, all the same! It helps a lot that my lovely neighbour has subscribed me to the ‘Art of Quilting’. There is of course an obligation but it is the nicest kind of pressure!

It’s becoming easier to recognise the order in which these block pieces should be assembled. I just find it a bit tricky knowing the best way to press the seams. It’s not always towards the darker fabric, as I thought. So I am still very much paying attention to the instructions for that advice. Hopefully that will become second nature eventually.

To make this one, two smaller triangles were attached either side to the diagonals of the larger triangle to form a rectangle. Four sets of these were made. Two of these rectangles were sewn east and west side of the large central square. The smaller squares were attached each end of the other two rectangles, which were then sewn north and south of the block.

As with most of the blocks that contain small triangles, there is a necessity to watch those points and keep those seams to exactly 6mm. I was very concsious of how much room there was for error in this one but took it extra slow. Well, for the duration of Little Miss Ooobop’s flute lesson, actually!

Block Facts:

Name: Sawtooth Star block
History: This block gets it’s name from the triangles that are reminiscent of a saw’s cutting edge. It has appeared on very early quilts in the US, dating back to 1860.
Level: Slightly more advanced as accuracy is vital to create the points of the star
No. of pieces:17

Progress report:

Block 1: The Double Four Patch
Block 2: The Whirlwind
Block 3: The Sailboat
Block 4: The Shoo-fly
Block 5: The Trafalgar
Block 6: The Windmill
Block 7: The Chequer Square
Block 8: The Diamond Square
Block 9: The Cactus Pot
Block 10: The Sawtooth Star

The Cactus Pot block

quilt block cactus pot

So here is block 9, The Cactus Pot. Apparently very popular in the 1930’s but, despite it’s Art Deco appearance, it actually dates back to the quilts of the 1800s. If the colour balance is altered it becomes more ‘Basket’ or ‘Cake Stand’!

I really like the fabric choice on this one. And with its white background, to be bordered by white, this little cactus is sure to be a pretty thorn among the ‘roses’!

I didn’t have too much trouble putting it together. I just took my time and repeatedly thanked my quarter inch foot! The small triangles were pieced together first, forming squares. Two sets of these were joined to make 2 rectangles. The first of these rectangles was sewn to the diagonal of the large yellow print triangle. A small white square was sewn to the second of the ‘rectangles’ to make a longer rectangle and this was then joined to the other diagonal of the triangle (and the edge of the first made rectangle)

Next up, the large red print triangle was joined to the yellow large yellow print triangle edge. Then the two small red print triangles were sewn to the short edge of the white rectangles. These were then joined to the sides of the block to create a ‘base’ to the pot. The last piece to be added was the large white triangle, across the bottom of the ‘base’.

Lots of pressing in between, and lots of satisfaction when this one was complete!

Block Facts:

Name: Cactus Pot block
History: The block was first published under this name in America, in the Oklaholma Farmer Stockman magazine in 1930. Also known as the Flower Pot.
Level: Some experience necessary for accurate piecing
No. of pieces:16

Progress report:

Block 1: The Double Four Patch
Block 2: The Whirlwind
Block 3: The Sailboat
Block 4: The Shoo-fly
Block 5: The Trafalgar
Block 6: The Windmill
Block 7: The Chequer Square
Block 8: The Diamond Square
Block 9: The Cactus Pot

The Diamond Square block

Diamond square quilt block

The Diamond Square block is number 8. That makes me a tenth of the way there… woohoo!! I wasn’t joking when I said this was going to take me over a year to make! The ‘pile’ (if you can call it that) of completed blocks is slowly growing. and issue 11 of the Art of Quilting has supplied the first batch of sashing (the white fabric that will join them altogether). I have yet to complete blocks 9 and 10 before I begin that task, when I shall then present them as one – a far more interesting post I’m sure!

I am happy to report that this particular block was a breeze. It is based on 2 sets of triangles around a central square. The central square allows for the use of bigger print and with the contrasting outer levels gives a great illusion of a square in a square in a square. All points matched up this time and I particularly like how it worked on the reverse!

diamond square quilt block reverse

Block Facts:

Name: Diamond Square block
History: This block design appears on quilts dating back to the 1870s. It is also known as ‘Pride of Holland’ or ‘Night and Day’
Level: beginner
No. of pieces: 9

Progress report:

Block 1: The Double Four Patch
Block 2: The Whirlwind
Block 3: The Sailboat
Block 4: The Shoo-fly
Block 5: The Trafalgar
Block 6: The Windmill
Block 7: The Chequer Square
Block 8: The Diamond Square