Archive for January, 2012

My sister and I were transported to 1880’s rural Ontario recently. Well, we drove to Fergus but once we got there, we were immersed in 1880’s culture at the Wellington County Museum & Archives. We were there specifically to see the exhibit of log cabin quilts. Some gorgeous examples in this collection, on display until May 25, 2012 and they were well displayed.

One of my favourites was made in the 1880s by a 12-year-old girl, Agnes Miller, from the vicinity of Clifford, Ontario. I kept saying to my sister – this looks so contemporary! The colour sense and the design really impressed me.

Agnes Miller's log cabin quilt - zig-zag pattern

The border of this quilt is dark red velvet. I can’t imagine creating something like this when I was 12 years old!

We also learned that this museum, a National Historic Site, was built in 1877 as a House of Industry and Refuge, which provided shelter for the “deserving poor,” the aged and the homeless.

My sister and I both adore log cabin quilts, so we came away with renewed appreciation for the talents of our quilting ancestors and lots of design inspiration. We highly recommend this exhibit!

close-up of Agnes's zig zag log cabin blocks

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Here we are in the season of hunkering down, of trying to eke out the limited hours of daylight each day until spring arrives once again. Most of us who live in the northern hemisphere find our own ways to deal with the shorter daylight hours. In my case, I gravitate towards bright colours. OK, those of your who know me will say “ She ALWAYS gravitates towards bright colours!”, which is true, but this proclivity seems more pronounced in the winter months.

For my current project, I dove head-first into my collection of  batiks. Who can resist the energy exuded by these colours and patterns?

I was fascinated by a concept called the “disappearing nine-patch”. There are numerous interpretations of it, and some were just awful (read: dog’s breakfast). So, up at the cottage, without the benefit of a computer as a resource, I made a few sketches with coloured pencils to figure out the best approach.

The process is easy! You start with a standard nine-patch block.

original nine-patch block (4.5" squares)

Instinct directed me to be consistent with the placement of my 2 colourways (always placing the orange blocks in the corners) and using only one contrasting fabric in the centre (dark purple). In a traditional nine-patch, you might gravitate towards more variety, but in this case, the consistency pays off later when you assemble the blocks and a pattern appears.

Once these are sewn together, you simply slice them in half, in both directions, then rearrange them before sewing back together.

nine-patch, sliced

cut blocks, rotated

I expect this will evolve into a lap quilt … tbd.

disappearing nine-patch block

In closing, I have to say that I’m feeling a bit smug, because I have already got a good head start on one of my new year’s resolutions and that is to concentrate on using more of my fabric stash before acquiring more!

Wish me luck!

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