Great-Grandma Inspired Block

great grandma block

Originally uploaded by Ramble Queen

I really loved the block used in the quilt I just inherited and wanted to try it myself. My first thought was to go hog wild and try to match up the prints and make a faithful reproduction. Honestly, though, I don’t have the budget or time. Quilt shops in my area are not child friendly at all (not that they should be, but it makes it hard for a mom to buy fabric). Instead, I decided to do what my great-grandmother would have done and use the fabric in my stash.

I’ve been collecting batiks for a long time but am usually too afraid to use them. I don’t really know how to match them up or use them effectively, but after looking at the inspiration quilt I realized that it is fine to go nuts with the colors and it will be beautiful in the end. Most of my batiks are the colors in this block so I don’t think there will be a problem with unity.

I started by measuring the blocks in the quilt, but that didn’t go so well. I thought it would be so simple to get out my ruler and measure the components, but I didn’t count on the shrinkage factor. I kept getting weird measurements like 3 1/3 and 1 5/8, which aren’t exactly rotary cutting friendly. I don’t know if the wackiness was all due to shrinkage or if it also had to do with the lack of rotary cutter when my great-grandmother made the quilt. I’m sure she used cardboard templates and scissors since rotary cutters weren’t invented at the time of her death.

In the end, I made the half-square triangles finish at 4″ and the middle squares finish at 2″. The sashing will finish at 1 1/2″.

I don’t think the proportions are exactly right. I think I’ll try again, having the middle squares finish at 1 1/2″. it seems like in the original blocks the HSTs are much bigger, proportionally, than the middle cross.

Also, as I was making this block I decided it was a churn dash. I dismissed that before since the middle cross is so much smaller than the HSTs, but the construction is exactly like a churn dash (or Hole in the Barn Door). I don’t know if that effects the name of the block or not. I’m no quilt historian.

3 Responses to “Great-Grandma Inspired Block

  • Just Jenn
    August 23rd, 2009 22:39

    You could use the colors in your grandmother’s quilt to inspire you… if she used blue in a block, just use a blue batik, if she used a yellow flower color, use a yellow batik…. just a thought. That way it’s kinda true to her color sensibility but still has the Carrie batik flair! However you slice it though it will be a thoughtful, beautiful and honorable quilt. Looking forward to seeing your progress.

  • Carolyn Polson
    August 24th, 2009 02:25

    It looks like what is called Chinese Coin block in Sylvia’s Bridal Quilt

    I like your choice of fabric. I love the vibrancy (is this a word?) and intensity of batiks. Go for it.

    It must be very exciting for you to be using this design from your family – but using fabrics from YOUR era in time.

    I have a wagga that my grandmother made during the Depression here in Australia, she died in 1999 & used it on one of her beds for more than 50 years. I LOVE it – it is the one thing I asked for when she died & one of my greatest treasures.


  • Teresa
    August 24th, 2009 06:11

    I really like that teal and pink together. Nice job on the block.