My husband’s grandmother, Lillian, was a quilter. Awhile back, we became stewards of several of her wonderful quilts that she pieced and quilted during the Great Depression. One of my favorites is an appliquéd quilt that she called “My Bouquet Quilt”. I never met Lillian. She passed away fifteen years before my husband and I met. I found the pattern for her bouquet quilt in a box a couple of years ago that still bears some of her handwritten notes. Along with the pattern was a small catalog from F.A. Wurzburg & Son. The kit for Lillian’s quilt is listed on page one as Formal Garden No. 3555.
Lillian never signed this work. This morning I became curious about F.A. Wurzburg & Son from Grand Rapids, Michigan and googled it. Much to my surprise, I found Sentimental Stitches, a blog by Gay Bomers, which details the history of F.A. Wurzburg & Son and its eventual sale in 1940 to her father, Garrett Raternik. Mr. Raternik renamed the company Needleart Guild. Ms. Bomers, an award-winning quilter, took over the company in 1996. (What a wonderful legacy!) With this information, along with dates on Lillian’s other quilts, I believe that this quilt was finished in the 1930’s when Lillian did most of her quilting.
I also found a very interesting online article about quilt kits at Vintage Quilts, A History of Quilt Kits – Past and Present by Judi Fibish, a historian and restoration professional. According to Ms. Fibish, quilt kits date back to the 1890’s!
This little bit of history has added so much more depth to Lillian’s quilt and really sets the tone of the times when her collection was created. It is amazing that one could find the time to do all that hand work and be so productive in a era when there were so few conveniences compared today. I only wish that someday I will be able to create something as beautiful and lasting with today’s technology.What I learned this week in Leah Day’s Building Block Quilt Along: Tracing the quilting patterns for Block #2 has been a topic of much discussion by my quilt along friends on Facebook. I understand why! When I placed my pieced block on the straight-line pattern that was taped to my light box my eyes bulged. I worried that I wasn’t going to be able to place my block well enough to trace the pattern accurately because of the opened seam allowances. Then I remembered that if I drew a line 1” from the piecing lines (around the block), I would be able to place my block in the correct position. I started analyzing the pattern and realized that all the lines were pretty easy to copy without tracing by using my quilting ruler. I started by placing X’s in each 2” square, making sure I was drawing exactly from corner to corner. I used my seam lines for most of the other lines. Extending the seam lines gave me reference points to draw all the ½” x 1” rectangles (teeth) surrounding the block. The corners were just extensions of the diagonal lines from the squares. I placed the other 22.5 degree corner angle lines by estimation.
The next block (#2.2) is a series of 1” and 2” circles. I used a compass to draw circles a hair smaller than 1” and 2” on a piece of very heavy cardboard and cut them out. To place the small circles accurately in the squares, I divided each of the squares in four. The scant 2” circles fit nicely in the other squares. I used my quilt ruler to draw lines 1” around the patchwork for placement lines for the half circles. I used the scant 1” circle in each of the corners.
For the wiggly line block (#2.3) I drew a line 1” outside of the seams for a placement line and used my light box to draw the squigglies around the perimeter. I free-handed the over-lapping squigglies on the remaining squares.
Some other tidbits that I gleaned from reading Diane Gaudynski’s Guide to Machine Quilting on marking patterns that Leah may have already covered and I missed are:
- When tracing or drawing a pattern on fabric, do not press hard. Draw lightly. This saves your marking pen tips and keeps your lines more accurate by keeping your fabric from bunching as the line is being drawn.
- When not using fabric pencils or pens, put them in a closed plastic bag. This keeps them from drying out.
Here is block #2.1. I know I probably did too much travel stitching. It’ll be interesting to see how Leah presents quilting #2.2 with all those circles.
The Building Blocks Quilt Along has turned out to be a great experience. It is fun to see what everyone all around the world is doing.
I’m linking up to Leah Day’s Free Motion Quilting Friday Link Up.