The old sampler quilts appeal to me. I love the randomness of the different size blocks, the filler blocks and the not quite straight edges. I had collected some shirtings here and there (as one does) and looked for blocks that were in quilts from the late 1800s. I copied some of the blocks in my own collection. To get the random feel I made each block in a size that suited the pattern, and used the ends of strips to make flying geese and half square triangle filler blocks. When I had 12 big blocks I put everything on my design floor.
It wasn't very easy to arrange the multi-sized blocks. In was, in fact, very frustrating. I was trying to do the whole top at once and it just didn't come together.
Finally I choose four blocks that did fit and sewed them together. Then I added a row of flying geese, and that looked okay. I kept adding blocks of blocks that pleased me, and made a few more as necessary. I filled in gaps with leftover strips without worrying about the colours.
I am pleased with the result. I'm getting it finished to put in my patchwork group's quilt show next month and I will be interested to see what the reaction of my fellow quilters will be. Not everyone likes random.
More on shirtings - Barbara Brackman's Material Culture blog has a recent posting on shirting prints. Shirting fabrics were very popular for men's shirts, and become a fad for women's shirts in 1910. There's a link to Moda Fabric's blog with a post on today's equivalent of shirting prints - low volume prints.
I bought this shirt in an op shop last year. It's black on yellow and I thought of shirting prints when I saw it.
The design is ... interesting.
* Wikipedia states that J S Bach's birthday is 31st March. I have been certain for years that his birthday was 21st March. I still enjoyed the CD.