Saturday, March 30, 2024

Prairie Queen Patchwork



 The quilt block Prairie Queen was posted by Nancy Cabot in 1934.

Every one interested in quilts recognizes the simple but widely used nine patch designs.  "Prairie Queen" was made in 1850 by one of the hardy pioneer women.  What inspired the title can only be conjectured, but the attractiveness of the block compliments the inspiration.

Chicago Tribune March 26, 1934



The pattern looks complicated but it is just a nine patch design, with four half square triangles, four 4-patches and one plain square.  When Ruby McKim published Prairie Queen two months later as part of the States Patchwork Quilt Parade series, the 4-patch blocks took a bit of a twist.




 A Quilt for Nebraska - Prairie Queen

Here is another fascinating patchwork that traveled west with other family treasures of a bye-gone generation.

Prairie Queen is really just another nine-patch, the four corner squares pieced of two triangles with intermediate squares of four patches and a plain center.  The small sketch in the upper right corner is a set suggestion, four-inch light bands horizontally between blocks, four-inch bands vertically with pieced blocks at all intersections giving the mitered effect.

Then the odd shape piece, folded at the center is a sheaf of wheat applique copied from a very old quilt.  Spaced several inches apart at the outer edge of a six-inch border, they would add much to the patchwork center.

Four blocks with five strips wide, by five blocks and six set strips long would be 68 by 84 inches, and six-inch borders would bring this up to 80 by 96.  Five and one-half yards of white and 4 1/2 of gold would make this interesting quilt.

Fort Worth Star Telegram   May 11 1934


Thursday, March 14, 2024

Renewed Interest in Quilts - 1934

The following article was written in March 1934 by the Home Demonstration Agents in Hackensack, New Jersey. It contains instructions on making a quilt in under 500 words, quite a challenge in composition.

Because of the renewed interest expressed by a large number of women in making patchwork quilts, we have been asked for information on the steps involved in making a quilt.  It is best for the first quilt to choose a simple pattern; by the way, we have in the office a copy of “One Hundred and One Patchwork Quilts”, as well as several quilt blocks made up.  These are available for reference to anyone interested.  The keynote of a successful patchwork quilt is accuracy in cutting the pattern and in construction.



A pattern made of pasteboard or metal will go a long way to insuring the accurate cutting of the pieces.  Draw around the pattern on your material accurately allowing ¼ inch for the seam as the pattern itself does not allow for seams.  Next, join your pieces according to the pattern making your block.  To make this block unit join the pieces with three running stitches and one back stitch.  It is possible to make a patchwork quilt by machine; however, as the attraction of this type of quilt is its old-fashioned aspect, it loses a great deal of its charm unless it is actually handmade.  Women who find hand sewing too tedious or do not have the time to construct a quilt by hand would do well to make a different type of quilt.


Sunbeam Block


A commercial filling of thin cotton may be bought quite inexpensively.  Unbleached muslin or any other cotton material may be used for backing.  To quilt it is necessary to follow a regular design.  Some commercial fillings include a design with their material.  Having decided on the design which you wish to follow, draw or stamp it on the right side of the quilt.



Little Beech Tree


Put up your frame and pin the backing of the quilt tightly on your frame placing the pins about 1 ½ inches apart.  Next, lie your cotton on top of the backing smoothly.  To result in its being flat, pin it here and there so that it will not slip.  Stretch your quilting piece on top, pinning it tightly. Quilts thru three thicknesses, the quilt itself, the cotton filling and the back piece following the quilting pattern with small running stitches. 



Double Nine Patch


As you progress with your quilt, roll it under.  When the quilt is finished, remove from frame and bind the edges.   A more attractive quilt results from binding the edges with a bias strip using either a color to match the predominating color in your quilt or a piece of the material which is used for the backing.


The Record    Hackensack, New Jersey    March 14, 1934

Thursday, March 7, 2024

Kansas Troubles


The patchwork block Kansas Troubles was first printed in the Weekly Kansas City Star on March 7, 1934.   Nancy Page shared the block in her newspaper column in February 1936.

"By rights, I suppose this quilt should be made in colors of dust.  Of course, Kansas has the marvelous sunsets and sunrisings, too, so perhaps we can change the color schemes.  But sunsets are not troubles.  They are glorious, especially in Kansas.  If you use gay colors I suggest you change the name of this block to ‘Kansas Glories.’  But whatever you call it, you will be making a traditional and fine old pattern when you make this one.”

“I like it because I think I can use up all sorts of odd, small pieces. I can get plain colors and print for the large triangles, but use all sorts of pieces for the points.”

“Yes, so you can, but you won’t be making the design quite as it was planned.  You see the prints of the large triangle are repeated in the small points and the plain is found again in the neighboring block.”

The members of the Nancy Page quilt club studied the possibilities of this fine old block.  They decided that it could be used as an allover pattern or as a square block to be set into the quilt corner-wise with plain square blocks adjoining.  Some members decided to put the pieced blocks together with sashing.  You can take your choice. 



Nancy Page didn't just write about quilts, she was an expert in almost anythingHere is her advice on Welcoming House Guests.

Don't forget the breakfast in bed, the lamb's wool shoe shiner and telegraph blanks.