Thursday, September 15, 2016

It Comes From Alabama

Lena Wallace’s block is Alabama, Barbara Brackman 2024, and was published in the Hearth and Home magazine in the 1930s.  Before I started my reproduction of Lena’s quilt I had to decide what size blocks to make.  The original blocks vary between 10.5 and 11 inches and I settled on 10 inches for my blocks.  To make the Alabama block I cut the strips 1 5/8 inches wide.

Now that I’ve made Lena’s quilt I want to use it as a springboard for another quilt.  I thought about what I like in 1930s quilts. 

  • I like the 1930s feedsack prints with white backgrounds - the focus is on the bright colours and tiny prints.
  • I love sampler quilts, especially with multi-sized blocks all jumbled up and no sashings.
  • I like the feedsack prints without white, just lots of contracting colours and prints and patterns (like a Dear Jane without the amazing commitment to all 169 different blocks).
  • My favourite block size is six inches, not too big and not too small.

Hmmm.  Looks like I need to start two quilts; one with multi-size blocks and white background and the other with six inch blocks in a variety of prints.

So…. (drumroll please)…

Here is the quilt-a-long.  I will suggest some different blocks based on Lena’s friends’ blocks and you can choose to make your own blocks or different blocks or no blocks at all.  You can make one block or a few blocks.  I expect this quilt will occupy the blog for not quite twelve months so by the finish we should all have a pile of blocks to assemble to please ourselves.

Alabama Block

Here is the Alabama block, finished size 9 inches.  Cut your strips 1.5 inches wide.  The centre is a nine patch and the block gets built around that.  If you would like more instructions try the Quilters’ Cache - an excellent resource for patterns. 

What about the six inch block?  I am not going to cut 1 3/16 inch strips for anyone.  So I searched around for something similar and found Pennsylvania, BB2023.

Pennsylvania Block

Just right, 1.5 inch strips, cut the centre piece 2.5 inches square.  This pattern was printed in a Nancy Page syndicated newspaper column in the 1930s era so it fits right in.

I do hope you feel inspired to make some 1930s blocks.  If you have any suggestions or ideas or questions just add them to the comments or on Facebook.


  1. Love the QAL first block! Do you know approximately how many blocks there will be by end of 12 months? So nice of you to share.

    1. Good question Mona. If you make one block for each post you should finish with 25 blocks. I plan to have a block post every two weeks, all going well. There are some duplicates in the quilt so I'll add some of my favourites from other quilts. This first post ended up with two choices and the next one will too - if you make all the variations you will have more than 25.And, there may be blocks you don't like; there should be enough options to replace them with something you do like.

  2. Thanks Sharon, I'm on it and made my own Alabama today 😀

    1. That's good to hear Carole. I've been thinking about sharing photos, I like Facebook but Pinterest is a possibility.

    2. Facebook Facebook..... I don't do Pinterest... how is that for self interest?


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