Sunday, July 7, 2024

Alabama Quilt Block

This patchwork pattern is called Alabama. The block, made by Lena Wallace, is in the friendship quilt Malaga 1937 which I blogged about back in 2016.  In fact, I wrote a whole ebook about this quilt - the link is just down the page on the right hand side.

Alabama patchwork block


The Alabama pattern was printed as part of the All State Quilt.  The 48 states are in alphabetical order, so Alabama is the first one, top left hand corner.





The All State Quilt was published in Aunt Martha's Workbasket in April 1936. Although it was printed as a sampler, it was never intended to be made up as a sampler. "The quilt illustrated uses each of the state blocks. From the point of view of the maker of beautiful quilts, this is not quite correct, and we do not urge anyone to make such a quilt against her better judgement. As a curiosity, of course, it might be done, setting with narrow strips and squares. But a really pretty quilt will result if you repeat only one block."


The editor did not like sampler quilts.  In my humble opinion, I would rather make forty-eight different blocks once each rather than repeating the same block forty-eight times.


Malaga 1937   Washington State






Thursday, May 16, 2024

Pieced Bouquet and Quilt of 8,066 Hexagons

 The Pieced Bouquet pattern appeared in the New York Daily News on Monday, January 8th, 1934.


A late addition to quiltdom, this design is almost modern in character.  It can be varied by using a different print in each block, giving the quilt the appearance of an old-fashioned garden.  The border is made of strips of green and yellow.

 Daily News    New York, New York    January 8, 1934

Here is the full page of the Daily News. There is a tiny article in the bottom left hand corner.



Waynesburg, Ohio - The tireless fingers of Mrs. Elton Hoobler have just completed a quilt of 8,006 tiny hexagonal blocks, whose millions of stitches required nine months to complete.


This amazing quilt story went viral in 1934.  The longer form of the press release provides a bit more information.


Believing her quilted record unique, Mrs. Hoobler says that the tedious piece of needlework required 800 yards of thread for "piecing" and 1,200 yards for "quilting."  Each of the 8,066 blocks is one inch square.  Two hundred eighteen different colored blocks, no two alike, are represented.


Mrs. Hoobler's  record did not last long. Quilts of many, many tiny pieces continued to outdo the previous champions.  In 'The American Quilt: A History of Cloth and Comfort', if states that the most plausible explanation for these painstaking constructions is that they were done in a spirit of competitiveness.

To view the work of a champion, visit this post on Albert Small's quilts.


Albert Small's first quilt  36,141 hexagons

Thursday, May 2, 2024

Ruby McKim and the Little Ship O' Dreams

 When Ruby McKim published this simple boat pattern in 1934 she called it the Little Ship O' Dreams.  This pattern was another quilt from McKim's States Patchwork Quilt Parade.



In looking about for an interesting quilt for that busy little State of Delaware, we found the “Ship O’ Dreams,” suggestive of her surrounding waters, teeming industry and brave adventures.  This block would be especially fitting for a boy’s quilt.  It is very easy to piece and daintily picturesque when done.

Our color scheme suggests a blue boat silhouetted against a buff sky, with lighter blue for the water.  Alternate plain blocks may be light blue, buff or unbleached.

Borders are almost always such a worthwhile addition to a quilt that we suggest a 6-inch border light blue with darker blue, or of buff with the lighter blue applique “waves.”  A free hand pattern of a wave will be easily made, about 4 inches high by 7 long at the base and spaced fairly close together as sketched. 


McKim Studios    Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Texas    April 20, 1934


The ship pattern was popular in signature quilts.  The block was easy to piece, there was plenty of room for a signature, and the ship represented, perhaps, travel and farewells.  The large orphan block at the top of the post was made by Lillie Silvy but never found its way into a quilt.

These two ships are in the Banner, Oklahoma quilt made in 1937.  As a child, Lou Henslee moved from Alabama to Hood County, Texas in a covered wagon.  She had twelve children, all long lived.  Henrietta Elizabeth Putnam, Lizzie to her friends, only had six children.


When Mrs. Danner published a similar pattern she just called it The Ship Quilt.

Ruby McKim Little Ship O' Dreams

Thursday, April 18, 2024

More Patchwork from 1934

 It's hard to believe that the first four months of 2024 have nearly gone - a third of a year.  

This week's block is Hour Glass.  There are a number of different patterns called Hour Glass, but I have chosen this one from Laura Wheeler.  Laura Wheeler designs were often set out on point, diamonds rather than squares.

Hour Glass, contrary to its name, is a quilt in which time plays little part, for it is done so quickly.  The hour glass is formed of darker or brighter patches, and could, of course, be done in scraps if desired.  As shown, it would make a very lovely quilt in three colors, with the hour glass in three shades of one color.

Pattern 673 comes to you with complete, simple instructions for cutting, sewing and finishing, together with yardage chart, diagram of quilt to help arrange the blocks for single and double bed size, and a diagram of block, which serves as a guide for placing the patches, and suggests contrasting materials.

Cincinnati Enquirer   April 15, 1934


Hour Glass   Laura Wheeler


Thursday, April 4, 2024

Counterpane Quilt

 Today's block from 90 Years Ago is called Counterpane.



Made for the first time in 1760 in the New England states, this quilt has all the charm of a very old block.  It possesses the advantage of piecing so quickly that the modern housewife may easily achieve the correct dressing for her four poster reproduction without great tax on her other interests.

Patterns of this quilt design are 5 cents each, stamps or coin.  Address Nancy Cabot, Chicago Tribune, or call at one of the Tribune Public Service offices.

 Chicago Tribune April 4, 1934



Interestingly, the counterpane patterns is offered two months later in the Oakland Tribune, California. No mention of Nancy Cabot this time around.



Made for the first time in 1760 in the New England states, this quilt has all the charm of a very old block.  It possesses the advantage of piecing so quickly that the modern housewife may easily achieve the correct dressing for her four poster reproduction without great tax on her other interests.

This pattern is from Quilt Book No. 28 which contains six other patterns.  For your copy send 10 cents in stamps or coin to Quilt Bureau, the Oakland Tribune.  Be sure to ask for Book No. 28.

Orders for quilt patterns are forwarded to New York by airmail the day they reach The Tribune Quilt Bureau, and the New York designers try to have the patterns on their way West within 24 hours after they receive them, although a reasonable time should be allowed.

Oakland Tribune, California June 22, 1934