Software

Thoughts on Constructing a Quilt Block

Recently I had a chance to do some beta-testing on BlockBase+, which is a revised version of Electric Quilt’s original software. I will write about the sofware next month when I host a giveaway for this software, but this post is about the process of making. In our beta-testing, we were asked to make test quilt blocks, check for spelling issues, functionality, etc. so I thought I would try out a new-to-me quilt block.

Every block in BlockBase+ has a name and a number, based as it is on the Barbara Brackman Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns. I thought this looked cute, so I went for it.

I printed out the templates, labeled them as to the color I wanted, then got to work.

This whole thing was a little tricky, trying to get the petals seamed around the blocks and little triangles. But I really really liked the design I had cooked up (coming soon), so I persisted.

You can see the finished quilt block above, but all I could think was, how did this quilter in the early part of the 20th century put this thing together? But some early quilters did, as I found in a search online:

The blurb describing it says: “Antique Vintage Triple Sunflower Quilt Top in 1930’s prints beautifully hand and machine stitched.  This measures about 33 x 47.5 inches and is in very good as found vintage condition with 8 places that need to be resown.” NOTE: It sold for $26 this past September 2020.

I had not seen those antique quilts when I started this block. So on the second round, I decided to try using English Paper Piecing in putting it together. Many sections went together more easily, like the petals: crisp and sharp.

This long stem was less fun.

The back. I think it’s always fun to look at the reverse side of EPP.

Done. This took me about two days of pretty constant piecing, but I did get to watch a few episodes of Ted Lasso on Apple TV (colorful language alert).

Side by side, back and front.

What was the clue I garnered from the antique blocks?

Okey-dokey. This would have made things so much faster and easier. There is also a lot of variety on the stems and leaves, all hand-appliquéd after the four blocks were assembled. And I was able to really enlarge the green-bordered block to see the grain of the background pieces: the grain is not all straight of grain, so while I don’t know if they did a lot of EPP at that time, they might have. Or they might have used odd bits from their scrap bags.
(I don’t know about you, but I wish some fabric designer would do a replica of the lower right petals of the blue sunflower block at the bottom, with those cool alternating blue-white half circles.)

Overall: putting in a seam on the rectangles and the center squares would make it easier to construct. However, I do like the long stem in one piece…pieced-in, rather than appliqued.

Regarding the giveaway for the Walk book: the Husband Random Number Generator picked a winner, and I’ve notified the winner by email. Thank you to all who wrote. I had the best time reading all your springtime descriptions, and felt like I was visiting different areas of the country and world. I laughed at many, and got warm feelings on others. You are all amazing writers and quilters. Thank you for reading.
Happy Quilting!

P.S. Happy Pi Day. Since I’m not making a pie, enjoy these random pie charts from The Internets.

Hotel California Pie Chart

12 thoughts on “Thoughts on Constructing a Quilt Block

  1. Elizabeth it looks like you had a lot of fun (and perhaps a bit of frustration) making this block. It turned out beautifully. What fun though beta testing a program based on the Brackman Encyclopedia. I agree that someone needs to reproduce that blue fabric. It is too cute! 😁

  2. Hi Elizabeth,

    On one of your emails I saw a wonderful skeleton and tried to go to your website where you sell patterns but I couldn’t locate it. Can you help me find this pattern?

    Thanks, Bridget

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

  3. I wouldn’t use EPP, but I think I’d use templates to draw the seam lines and hand-piece the circular seam. Back to my early days of quiltmaking! Hand piecing is quick, accurate, and sturdy enough if you backstitch every few stitches. It’s a pretty pattern.

  4. You are WAY more patient than I am. Two days of piecing? My 96 year old aunt hand appliques lilies in her quilts. She hand quilts everything as a matter of fact. I need to send you a photo. More rounded than these flowers so easier I would think. Your work is beautiful! I would buy some vintage blocks of yours any day! 🙂

  5. What very pretty blocks! I’m sure you have had fun beta testing–they picked the right person for the job!

  6. EQ owes you a commission. 😄 I ended up purchasing block base based on this and am absolutely delighted with it. Thank you for the thorough run through on this product.

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