Barbara has a number of medallion quilts. This one is now one of her favourites and she has this to say about it:
"This quilt was acquired from a general antiques dealer nearly 30 years ago, with no provenance or further information available. For quite a number of years I wasn’t sure I liked it, I found the damask-weave red fabric totally overpowering and the fabrics were not particularly interesting (or so I thought at the time) - but a bargain is a bargain! There is no wadding but the two layers of top and coarse (well-washed flour sack?) backing are stitched together in a large scale diagonal grid. Completely hand stitched. For the past 15 years I have been saying that this would be a good piece to recreate, and so it has proved – I like the new interpretation rather more than the original!"
One lovely classic design is Irish Chain. Both Barbara and Ann have them in their collections and both are red and white. Ann's is in better condition than Barbara's so that is the one we have taken the pattern from.
The quilt measures about 77 x 70 inches square and may have been cut down from a larger one.
The pattern also includes quilting suggestions taken from Ann's summer coverlet with no wadding and Barbara's which has some wadding and a 'strippy' quilted design.
A favourite strippy quilt from Barbara's collection has to be this diamond one - ideal for those of you who fancy a little hand-piecing challenge - about which Barbara says :
"The quilt is hand pieced and quilted with a soft blue chambray back brought over to the front as a false binding. At first sight the colour and value placement of the diamond units appears to be random, but the maker had a fine sense of balance and took care to distribute the brighter coloured patches within the strips. The quilting is done in simple straight lines arranged into a chevron pattern which complements the piecing without being distracting in any way. No provenance, no information, a likely date of 1880s could be attributed from the fabrics included."
Getting away from predominantly red quilts for a moment we have this blue and white Goose in the Pond quilt from Barbara's collection.
The finished quilt measures 58 x 70 inches.
Barbara also has another quilt in the same design but this time in black and white and with the light and dark reversed in the blocks.
Poinsettias is the name of this beautiful quilt from Barbara's collection. This is what Barbara has to say about it - "The fabrics are now extremely fragile and breaking up, but it is still one of my favourite quilts. Completely hand stitched – piecing, appliqué and quilting, thin cotton wadding – its likely date is somewhere in the 1850s. The quilting is neat, fine and simple."
Caesar's Crown is a quilt from Ann Jermey's collection.
The block is best hand-pieced using the templates provided to cut out the pieces.
Ann says the colours would originally have been quite vibrant red, green and cheddar yellow but the green has faded to a rather mucky brown.
The quilt measures 70 x 82 inches and the pattern is available from Craftsy.
A simple quilt from the 1940s, Blue Windmills is from Ann Jermey's quilt collection.
The blue windmill sails are all slightly different fabrics. Can you spot the deliberate (or otherwise?) mistake? You can’t help speculating about the reaction when the original maker of the quilt spotted it – presumably after the quilting was done, or perhaps once the top was all stitched together and it was just a bit too much unpicking to be worth the effort!
The quilt measures 60 x 85 inches and could be made from a variety of quilts - as the original- or from a more controlled pallette.
The pattern is available from Payhip.
Another pattern for handpiecing is Triple Sunflower from Barbara's collection. Barbara has this to say about it - "Another special find from International Quilt Festival in Houston. The quilting is particularly fine and detailed with Feathered Wreaths and Tulips and triple diagonal lines. Considerably faded now, this would have been very striking in its original red, green and white colour scheme. The green has receded to a shadowy pale buff colour, and the yellow flower centres are also less vivid than before. Interestingly, the flowers are not made up from diamonds but pentagons which leave an intentional gap at the centre, covered by the yellow circle. Completely hand stitched, thin cotton wadding, some strong pencil type markings are still visible in places. Possible date 1850s – 1860s, no other information available."
You don't have to make the full size quilt (the original measures 72 x 84 inches) - this Sunflower block will make lovely cushions or table runner. The pattern is available from both Craftsy and Payhip.
Red and white quilts were hugely popular and have recently seen a rise in their popularity once more. This little quilt looks to be cut down from a larger quilt – possibly the least worn part of a double bed quilt re-fashioned into a cot or lap quilt. The pattern given will make the small quilt (30 inches square). You can always keep going with the design to make yourself a bed-sized quilt.
If you have some left-over 2 and 1/2 inch strips to use up you could do worse than remake this lovely little quilt, from Ann Jermey's collection, as you can see from Ann's version on the right.
The pattern is available from Payhip - we have called it 'Red Bricks'.