Saturday, January 21, 2017

Bowties Are Cool

Nellie Sellar's block is a Bow Tie pattern.

I like almost all pieced blocks, but Bow Tie is not a favourite.  That diagonal square for the bow tie knot?  All the other pieces have to be set in around it.  It takes a long time to get it right and mine never quite lay flat when I'm finished.

I went to Carrie Hall's "The Romance of the Patchwork Quilt in America" (1935) to find a Bow Tie.  It wasn't listed in the index so I searched through the black and white plates to see if I could find it.  I did find it in Plate XVI - Hall calls it Necktie.  Her description is of the pattern is not especially helpful.

"This shows that the Colonial women were very considerate of the men-folk of their families."

I'm not quite sure what that statement means.  The photo of the block in the book is 1/2 inch square so I went online to find a better picture.
In 1938 Carrie Hall donated all her quilt blocks to the Spencer Museum of Art in Kansas, and the museum has the whole collection available for online viewing.

There are two Necktie blocks in the Hall collection.  This is the first one.

Now have a look at the second one.

No centre square, just corner triangles!  If it worked for Carrie Hall it works for me.

My block is 9 inches.  I cut squares at 2.75 inches.  The corner triangles are stitch and flip, I cut them at 1.75 inches square, sewed along the diagonal onto a white square, flipped and trimmed.

Turning the bowtie blocks create a range of settings.  If you check the Facebook page this week I will attempt to share a different layout every day.


  1. The second method isn't that difficult. Depends, though, on the size of the blocks. Yours look great!!

    1. Thank you! Much quicker than a square in the middle.

  2. There is also a way to make Bow Tie blocks with just squares that results in a "3-D" knot in the center. One explanation of how to do this is here:

    Not a traditional method but definitely simple!

  3. Yes, bow ties are cool, thanks for the easy methods and link to the tutorial on Twin fibres via Facebook -I whipped up the block this afternoon.


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