Sunday, December 18, 2011

Re-inspired: 1930's reproduction blocks

Last year at "Quilt Camp" (annual January quilting retreat sponsored by my favorite quilt shop, Something to Crow About), I participated in the block challenge:  12" finished block made from 1930's reproduction fabrics.  I have a love of the 1930's reproduction look, and a few scraps of appropriate fabric in my stash, so I thought I'd give it a try.

I entered 3 blocks in the challenge:
A basic pinwheel, with border supplemented from a neighbor's stash.  I love the green cat/alphabet print.

I had always wanted to try making a Snail's Trail block.  Again, with the cat/alphabet fabric, and leftover ladybug-embellished yellow gingham.  I discovered that a single Snail's Trail is not so fun to make, because you can't chain piece any part of it.  Good information to note for the next time I make this block.

I guess I don't know my block history, since I thought Card Trick was a rather modern-looking block.  I was told that it is actually very appropriate to the time period of the 1930's.  I think this block is the cutest of the 3 that I made.

So... I entered my blocks into the challenge pool.  The rules for quilt camp are that you get one entry for each completed block, and all the blocks are awarded to a single winner, drawn at random on the final day.  Although I have participated in making blocks for several years (often playing with patterns and techniques I have long wanted to try--isn't that the point?), I must admit that I haven't wanted to actually win the blocks until this year.  I just love 1930's prints--the more the merrier.

I won twenty-one 12" blocks!  With the responsibility to make them into a finished quilt top by next year's Quilt Camp date (coming up in January, in case you forgot like I did).  I did some dreaming and playing with the blocks last spring, then put them away.  Having remembered my January deadline, I got the blocks out again to assess where I am, and give them some more of my time and energy.

Blocks, in no particular order...
My favorite 1930's setting is to have clean white backgrounds.
Busy fabrics compete with each other here
A matching pinwheel to the one I entered.  I confess, though, that this wasn't a block that was entered.  I cut apart a completed block, made with only the blue and red fabrics, because the colors seemed so out of place among all the blocks I received.  I hope the original seamstress doesn't mind.
The rest of the blue and red block.  I'm hoping to add some other colors and make another Card Trick block with these fabrics.  That will give me two blocks from an original one!
I ended up cutting down the black-peach pinwheel to insert this border.  There was a bit too much of the black--it stood out against the other blocks.  But I now have similar pinwheel blocks.
I'm thinking of cutting apart and restyling this block.  It has so much white area (and it's a white-on-white print) that it doesn't fit as much with the other blocks.  I have ideas...
This block wants to be set on-point.  Which presents a challenge: does the entire quilt get set on-point as a result?  How do I mix straight-set and on-point blocks?  If I put only this block on-point, can I "fill in" the corners in order to make it fit?  What about that lavender block above--can I make that work with this idea?
A block I already chopped apart.  I don't remember what the original block looked like--maybe I took its pieced borders and used them with the black-peach pinwheel.  Sorry I don't remember what I did, only that I kept the miniature blocks to reuse somehow.
Applique butterflies!  What a treat.
This Rail Fence is too small, so I need to add another rail.
Again, I think there were size issues with the border of the block. I'm re-sewing
Another butterfly.  So cute!
Well, 21 blocks are a lot.  Many thanks to the wonderful women who sewed them last year.  How will I put them together?  Stay tuned...

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