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Monday, April 14, 2008

The Origin of Quilt Block Names

The Origin of Quilt Block Names#

Have you ever wondered how quilt blocks are named?

As you look through a book with hundreds of quilt blocks, several interesting things pop up. You will probably discover quilt blocks with a different design while having the same name. Likewise, you will find quilt blocks that look the same yet have different names.

How did this happen? And what is the inspiration for naming quilt blocks in the first place?

A look at history and understanding life in the early years of America are particularly useful to answer these questions.

Since early Americans were driven from England to gain religious freedom, they continued to be very religiously minded in the New World.

All day Sunday was spent at church for both religion and social time. The morning and afternoon sermons were divided by an hour-long lunch break where families would share the events of the week while enjoying the peaceful meal.

Many quilts and quilt blocks reflected that religious devotion.

"World Without End," a quilt made during the Revolutionary time period, is a name lifted from the Book of Common Prayer. It was, and still is, a phrase familiar in every church, regardless of creed.

It's also interesting to see the range in complexity of making quilt blocks and quilts. The "Star of Bethlehem," "Jacobs Ladder" and "Job's Tears" represent quilts and blocks and were more studied designs. While the "Star and Cross" and "King David's Crown" were simpler and very popular for bed quilts.

In addition, early Americans were also very politically minded. Even though women couldn't vote, they were acutely aware of the importance of the politics of the day.

While originally the political efforts were directed toward economic freedom and relief from onerous taxes, later the politics shifted toward political freedom as well. After a century of local government, Americans were politically astute, and were dedicated to developing the machinery of a republic that would survive.

And the political conversations extended into the quilt blocks created during that time, enabling quilters to express opinions developed as they listened to the arguments of the day.

Even naming a quilt block stirred controversy. A block named "Whig Rose" and "Democrat Rose" created a debate as to which was the correct name - a debate not settled, maybe even today.

Politics and quilts continue to intertwine with "The Little Giant" being named after Stephen A. Douglas (from the Civil War era), the "Free Trade Block" (which has relevance today), "Fifty-four Forty or Fight" (from the early 1800s fight between the US and Canada over territory in the northwest territory) and "Tippecanoe and Tyler Too" (a campaign slogan during the Harrison presidential election in 1840).

The trades and occupations of the time also offered inspiration for quilt names. "The Anvil," "The Carpenter's Wheel," "The Churn Dash," and "The Water Mill" all came from women's familiarity with old-time callings.

"The Reel" was a block that represented the once universal occupation of women - spinning. The Reel was used to wind thread onto skeins.

Outdoor life provided more inspiration for quilt block names. Take, for example, "Flying Bats." Bats were once very common, and without screens in open windows, bats would be attracted to the light inside houses. Once inside, blinded by the light of the lamps, the bats flapped and banged against walls and the ceiling while women ducked and screamed while small boys made a game of chasing them.

Since the sun, candles and oil lamps were the only source of light, the pioneers relied on the natural light of day for most of their activities. Industrious folk rose early and were able to witness the glory of every sunrise. It wasn't too unusual that "Rising Sun" quilts would be created.

There are two different methods of making this intricate pattern, both reserved for expert quilt makers.

In sharp contrast, quilt blocks representing the setting sun are much simpler. A Block like "Setting Sun," also known as "Indian Summer" took some skill, since it includes triangles on a curve, yet was not as complex as the Rising Sun.

Maybe the contrast represented the difference in the level of energy of a quilter between the early morning rising and the end of the day, having completed a full day's work.

Many designs were specific to their community of origin. And as they migrated away from the community, their form changed. Since there were no printed patterns at the time, duplication of the design depended on copying the pattern by looking at an existing quilt, remembering the design having seen it previously, or understanding a verbal description of the quilt block.

Any of these methods could result in the proportions of the shapes within the block changing, therefore changing the overall look of the quilt; and a new block design with the same name was born, even though the quilter thought she was duplicating the quilt block exactly.

What will be the inspiration for the quilt block you design?

Penny Halgren
http://www.TheQuiltingCoach.com Penny has been a quilter for more than 26 years and enjoys sharing her quilting knowledge with beginner quilters so they can avoid the mistakes she made as she was learning to quilt.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Penny_Halgren

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Easy Quilt Patterns

Easy Quilt Patterns#

Are you looking for some quick quilt patterns? Maybe you are just beginning to quilt. Or perhaps you have a baby shower coming up and you want to give a present that is pretty, but will not take weeks to finish.

Well, you have come to the right place. The following easy quilt patterns look gorgeous and can be finished quickly. In fact, for a baby sized quilt, the quilt top can be completed in less than 24 hours.

1.Log Cabin

The Log Cabin is perhaps the best known of the quick quilt patterns. First, it is colorful. The pattern can use up to 13 different fabrics in a block. Next, it is easy. If you can sew a straight seam (and even if you can't) you can still make a lovely quilt from this block. Plus, it is quick. Using modern strip piecing techniques, you can easily complete the quilt top in less than 24 hours.

2.Whole Cloth

A whole cloth quilt is just one entire piece of fabric the same dimensions as a pieced quilt top. Actually, there are fabrics out there that look like pieced quilt tops. They are gorgeous and excellent practice.

Please do not think that a whole cloth quilt is not "real." As long as the quilt has a top, batting and a backing stitched together, it is a quilt. Whole cloth quilts are wonderful ways to practice. They are definitely worth investigating for the beginning quilter.

3.Four - Patch

You can't get much easier than a Four-patch block alternating with a plain square. These basic patterns allow you finish a quilt quickly. This pattern also lends itself to novelty prints.

4.Denim Rag Quilt

Denim rag quilt patterns are all over the web for good reason -- they are comfy and sturdy. Plus, now you can recycle your old jeans into something useful!

For beginning quilters who are scared of actually quilting the quilt sandwich or attaching the binding, this is a great first project. A denim rag quilt is rugged. It is simple. It is the go-to quilt for picnics and watching fireworks.

5.Rail Fence

A rail fence is one of the easiest quilts to make. It requires only three coordinating fabrics and very minimal cutting. It is also very forgiving if your seam allowances are off.

Can a beginning quilter make a gorgeous quilt? Of course. You just need to choose a pattern that displays the fabric and not your stitching. So, go ahead; choose one of the simple quilt patterns listed. You can't go wrong.

Maybelle Maddison is a true Southern Belle and dedicated quilter. She has made it her mission in life to spread the joy of quilting! Visit her site at http://www.joannfabrics.org for quilting information, pattern reviews and suggestions on how to start and keep quilting!

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Maybelle_Maddison

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Beginner Quilting - Beginners Guide To Make Block Quilt

Beginner Quilting - Beginners Guide To Make Block Quilt#

Quilting - this is something you can have fun with and use it too. Fun, well don't we all like to stay warm in extreme conditions, sit in a warm quilt and watch television.

Add some really true blue colors to that quilt and fabric that makes you feel extra comfy. With heart felt trueness - there's no better feeling than to be able to utilize one's own self created product.

Today machines have overpowered our lives beyond imagination and yet if you were able to have something that you can claim to be handmade wouldn't express be an achievement of sort.

Quilters like us can have that distinction, yeah almost handmade, as we would require a sewing machine. If the craft of quilt making is to be kept alive then the responsibility will have to be shouldered by some of us thus a start to finish education in very essential for that.

Quilts can be either the simple ones or the more elaborative designed ones, the latter being for the more experienced quilters. Starters always have a query as to what's the simplest form of quilt making and it is - a basic block quilt.

But what they forget to inquire "How to make block quilt for starters?" Sorry if you are looking for an as easy answer, there can be a whole think fat book written on this matter and I can talk about it for ages. Right now though no lengthy explanations, here is a primary guidance for those looking to start and finish a hassle free project.

List of tolls and supplies required :

* Customary sewing machine
* Spray starch
* Rotary cuter
* Embroidery needles - general size 12
* Iron
* Needles
* Cutting mat
* Quilt batting
* Fabric in 4 colors or 4 shades.
* Pins- beaded head
* Design for block quilt
* Rotary ruler


Block quilt is nothing but a quilt that is simply designed. In simple terms, one design on a selected block in sewed on after the other in similar fashion till the desired size is accomplished.

A block can be called as the unit for the quilt. Here below are some steps that could make your block quilt making experience much easier.

1) Get the fabric ready: washing the fabric separately is a prerequisite. That is if you want to ensure that there is no color loss or shrinking fabric dilemmas later. Let it dry dey and then proceed to iron the material once you have sprayed starch to it. Make sure that the material is entirely dry and hard sans wrinkle.

2) Cutting of fabric: Take the fabric and put over a place mat in the form of a heap one over the other. Then take a measurement scale and slash 2 inches X 2 inches pieces using a rotary cutter. Create as many pieces of out the fabric depending on the dimension of the quilt that you'd like o make.

3) Assembling a Block: Once you have the pieces stitch them all to make a bid square or a simple block. Carry on sewing to make multiples of identical blocks.

4) Piecing: This process will see you create the wanted dimension of the quilt once all the blocks have been stitched together.

5) Batting: The batting material should be placed above on the piecing. The upper side of your piecing should face the mat while the sewed portion along the batting. Take the lining material above it.

6) Quilting: take the help of a sewing machine to stitch all 3 layers with one another. For first time learners its recommended that stitching take place on and around a primary block while those who have prior knowledge may select extravagant patterns.

7) Binding: All sides of your fabric should be binded.

Discover free beginner quilting tips instructions and 101 beginner guide to quilting at http://www.quilthowto.com, written by experienced crafter, Jennifer Walter.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Jennifer_Walter

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