Four years ago, my college-professor daughter gave me a book for Christmas…Modern Blocks, compiled by Susanne Woods. How she always has that keen sense of knowing what books I would like, is well, just amazing.
I couldn’t wait to start analyzing all 99 blocks in the book. I knew I was going to thumb through it a lot, so I went downtown to the printshop to get it coil-bound. When the girl gave me my book back, I said, “You put the cover on upside down.” She didn’t believe me at first, but then when she saw her mistake, her short “Oh, I’m sorry”, was a little hard for me. Now, I’m a big girl and I didn’t want to start crying in the store, but she still wanted to charge me for it. After quite a discussion, she didn’t make me pay for it. But I can’t help but think about it every time I open the book.
Back to Sampler Quilt history…
Medallion quilts had always been the popular choice of quilt-making prior to making blocks. When blocks began to appear, somewhere around the mid-1800’s, well, so did sampler quilts. Please keep in mind that there was a quilt movement going on, somewhat like our traditional quilts vs. modern quilts today. Only, back then it was between the European piecing method vs. the American piecing method.
So anyway, sampler quilts consist of all non-repeating or different blocks. A sampler quilt could be made with any number of blocks and any size. They could be placed diagonally or across and down. The blocks could be pieced together or appliqued. The convenience of making one block at a time placed quilt-making into very manageable time frames. What quilter wouldn’t have liked that?
By the 1870’s blocks were an American icon and sharing designs became a way of life. They were used for teaching and many sampler quilts were a girl’s first quilt. Also, most likely a lot of thought went into a sampler quilt and some could even be considered a “show-off” quilt, like a Baltimore Album quilt. Sadly, the popularity of sampler quilts dropped at the turn of the twentieth century, but I really think that will be changing soon.
Back to my Modern Sampler Quilt…
I chose my blocks along with four solid fabrics for my modern sampler quilt. I had a hard time choosing just 16 blocks, but I loved the way it turned out.
Unfortunately, my modern sampler is still a quilt top. I really hope it’s not sitting on a vintage quilt-booth table someday at a quilt show.
Until next time…enjoy your day…ttyl!