Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Air Castle in the Sky


Air Castle

I am finishing a small quilt made entirely of traditional 9 patch blocks.  As my non-traditional computer lists the photos in alphabetical order, Air Castle is the one that heads the list. Air Castle was first offered as a pattern by the Ladies Art Company.  Nancy Cabot printed it in 1934.


Two years after the war of 1812 this interesting pieced block had its origin in Washington.  Geometrically classified, it is a nine patch, but the clever piecing makes it appear quite elaborate.  Rose, yellow, blue and white pieced blocks alternate with plain white.  The completed coverlet, quilted in a Star and Crown design, is of outstanding distinction.


Nancy Cabot    Chicago Tribune

30 July 1934


Air Castles


This Air Castles block is made with the colours suggested by Nancy Page.  Nancy Page must have been familiar with the other name for the pattern, Towers of Camelot. 

P.S. I am always amused by the direction - No Seams Are Allowed.  

“If you make the castles white and have the surrounding hexagon in light blue you can imagine that you see your fairy turrets on your castle, silhouetted against the blue sky.

“I’ll grant you that I am stretching my imagination, and asking you to stretch yours, when I call the points turrets of the castle.  But you can get a glimmer, can’t you, of what I have in mind?”

The members of the Nancy Page Quilt Club said it was clear as crystal to them and that they thought it would be fun to make this quilt.

They clipped the picture and directions from the paper. They sent for the direction leaflet.  On this they found the tracing patterns for the various pieces.  After they had these they traced them onto light-wight cardboard.  Then they cut out the patterns and laid them on the goods. They traced the outline with a sharp pencil and cut out the pieces, allowing one-eighth inch beyond the pencilled line on all sides.

This has to be done since no seams are allowed in the pattern.

In sewing the pieces together, they sewed on the pencilled line.

This design may be worked out in numerous ways.  For instance, the blocks may be set together with alternate squares of background material.  They may be white or it may be the same shade of blue as is used for the octagon.  Or the blocks may be set together end to end and side to side.  This gives an all over design which is quite different in effect from that of the single block.

Or they put the pieced blocks together with sashing.

Since there are so many ways to set these together it is difficult to say just how much material will be used.  The pieces all have straight edges so there is little waste in cutting.  Nancy thinks that nine yards of material will made enough to make a top for a double bed.  The size of this quilt will be 90 inches by 106 inches.  The edges may be bound in blue or in white or the plain white border which can be added may be cut into points.  The center square may be of a different color than the triangles shown in white.

It has many possibilities as you can see.

Nancy Page

The Birmingham News

January 19, 1937

Thursday, January 6, 2022

The Colorado Quilt from the Kansas City Star

 After twelve months of Nancy Cabot patchwork designs with exaggerated superlative descriptions it is a change to get back to the basics of the quilt blocks from the Kansas City Star.



A Northwestern Kansas woman, Mrs. Pearl Bacon of Achilles, has given us this design as a friendly token to the state on Kansas's western boundary line.  It is well adapted to sharp contracts (contrast?) between very dark and light pieces.  The creator of the pattern used unbleached muslin for her light blocks.  Any light 1-tone material and prints would be attractive combinations.

Weekly Kansas City Star January 8, 1941



I made my sample with 16 half square triangles.  You can make a lot of blocks with 16 half square triangles.

Pieced Star   Famous Features

Anna's Choice   Kansas City Star


Yankee Puzzle   Ladies' Art Company

Margaret's Choice   Hearth and Home

Flyfoot   Ruth Finley

Mosaic #17   Ladies' Art Company

Chisholm Trail   Kansas City Star

I'm not a fan of half square triangles but they are extremely useful things.