Thursday, November 14, 2013

V's Antique Blocks

Some years ago my sister's roommate V, knowing I quilt, showed me a bunch of unfinished quilt tops that her Grandmother had made.   After she passed away the family found them in a cardboard tube hamper labeled "Dirty Close".  V's sister had rejected the tops as "too ugly".  I was smitten by the complete wonkiness and make-do and selected 5 tops.  Sadly, they are all still tops except for one.  I loved the Goose in the Pond blocks but hated the sashing/setting fabric, so I took them apart.

I believe these are all made from cut up clothing or leftover scraps.  The double pinks, navy, and black combo makes me think these are pretty old, maybe from the late 1800's. Some of the triangles are pieced to make up the width.

 They are all hand pieced and definitely not precise. This is the best one.  It is *almost* square :)

 Some have the bars turned the wrong way.

 The stitching is fairly neat but it looks like kitchen twine was used, it is so thick.

There is no way this block will ever lie flat, but I like it anyway!

 Definitely the craziest of the bunch. Look at all the "make do" in that one. There are eight Goose in the Pond blocks--and they are big, variably about 16-18" square (I use the word square lightly!)

In the original top--which unfortunately I don't have a photo of--this ninth block made a 3x3 layout.  It was obvious at first glance that it didn't belong with the others.

Flipping it over proved the suspicion correct--this was machine pieced and of much better construction, though the fabrics are still pretty old.  It might make a great looking pillow, though.
This was the original sashing fabric, along with some really stained and dirty blue chambray that I ended up throwing away.  I'm wondering if the Goose in the Pond blocks belonged to the the generation before V's grandma and she made this one to expand the layout. My idea is to applique the blocks to a plain background.  I saw an antique quilt at a show once that had blocks in the double pinks, blue and black that had an alternate plain block that was olive green.  It was very eye-catching.  I would probably have to tie the quilt rather than quilt it, as nothing will be flat. First these blocks will need to have a bath!


Lee said...


Vivian said...

How lucky to be the owner of these interesting blocks. They really are quite charming. It would be fascinating to have a quilt evaluator give you some dates and comments about them. I'm no fabric-dating expert, but some of the fabrics look rather old. I'll enjoy seeing how the laundering and restyling go.

Janet O. said...

I am really curious to see them all together when you have the top done--tomorrow, right? *LOL*
I love vintage blocks and tops, but you really do end up with some interesting things that aren't square and don't lie flat. Been there, done that!

Nancy aydlett said...

You could also put them in picture frames and hang them on the wall.

Patrica said...

Wow, those are something. If only they could talk what a story they could tell. I would love to see then between glass so that the front and back were exposed and the hand stitching and twine could be seen. Your quilter friends could speculate endlessly about them.

Shay said...

Those fabrics are fantastic. I wonder if a little experiment is in order? Can you deconstruct one of the blocks to see if you can sew it back together into a useable (flat ) block?

Your other idea is terrific too- these blocks would be a real talking piece sewn into a quilt.

Quilter Kathy said...

Such cool blocks! They really do look old... and the fabrics are so fun to look at.

Tanya said...

You have a treasure!