Thursday, July 29, 2021

Selina And the Bear Paw Quilt--Quilting in Children's Literature

This is a book of historical fiction about a Mennonite family who left their Pennsylvania home during the US Civil War to emigrate to Canada.

Smucker, Barbara. Selina and the Bear Paw Quilt. Illustrated by Janet Wilson. Crown, 1995. ISBN: 978-0517709047


The book begins with an author's Introduction explaining the historical setting for the book. Pacifist Mennonites in the United States were believed disloyal by both the North and the South because they would not participate in the War. As a result, they were the victims of religious persecution and violence. Many Mennonite families left the US to settle in Canada. This is the story of one of those families.

Selena watches her mother quilt by the light of the oil lamps.

Selina's grandmother makes a Bear Paw quilt from fabric which includes scraps of family clothing scraps. As she works, she tells Selina the stories represented by the fabrics.

 

Selina and her grandmother with the Bear Paw quilt

 

Selina's parents make plans to move to Canada away from the War. They are sad to leave their farm, and even more sad that Grandmother will not be going with them. Grandmother explains, "I am old now, too old to start my life again," and she will be staying behind to live with her brother and his family. 

Selena meets her Canadian Uncle's family

 

As a going-away gift, Grandmother gives Selina the Bear Paw quilt top. When the family reaches Canada, Selina shows it to the branch of her family already living there, and discovers that her quilt and theirs have pieces in common. Plans are made to finish the Bear Paw quilt, and it will be for Selina's bed in the family's new home.

 

Showing the quilt to her new family

 

Janet Wilson's illustrations in the book are warm and lovely, and they are bordered by many different quilt patterns. The endpapers show examples of Bear Paw blocks. The back of the book is a legend for the quilted borders of the pages.

Endpapers

Back cover of book

 

In this picture book, we have a quilt as representative of family connection and of the comfort of the familiar in a new place or situation.


Happy Quilting! 😸


A reminder--you can find my posts on Quilts in Children's Literature by clicking "Children's Literature" in the list of labels on the right-hand pane of this blog.

NOTE: I found my books used from BetterWorldBooks.com. I can highly recommend this site. Not only do they always have free shipping, but they also contribute a book to someone in need for every book you buy. I was not compensated for this recommendation--I just love doing business with them.



Thursday, July 22, 2021

String Carpenter's Star

If you have read my blog (or just looked at the pictures!) you know that I delight in string blocks. This is my latest string project.

String Carpenter's Star (82" x 82")

Carpenter's Star (sometimes called Carpenter's Wheel) is a traditional pattern, and layout charts are available in many places online (the one I used is HERE), but I substituted string blocks for the regular color or print blocks.

I drew it on EQ8, so I could get an idea of what I would need.

EQ8 Plan--I did change the four corners to string blocks rather than the plain ones shown.

I can never get an adequate look at the variety of strings in my blocks with the program, but it did help with my numbers and placement for the blocks.

The blocks finish at 4", the quilt is a combination of full string blocks, HSTs of strings and background, and plain background blocks. (I did use rectangles of background fabric as a kind of border around the center part instead of using a bunch of plain background blocks sewn together.)

String Carpenter's star (center detail)

It took me a bit of time to assemble. I started with the center and built it outwards; this way I could see the pattern coming together as I went--trying to do it row-by-row didn't fit in my brain!

String Carpenter's Star (backing and binding detail)

I found a piece of 108" backing in my stash. With all the seams in the top, I thought a one piece backing would be easier to quilt. Quilting is not my strong suit, so it is stitched in the ditch between blocks; I also stitched just inside the edges of the zigzagging string blocks.

I am happy with the result. I've always wanted to try this pattern; I think it makes a beautiful quilt. In substituting the string blocks, I made it a little different from the norm. This substitution can work in many projects.

 

In this one, I used the Arkansas Crossroads pattern.

String Crossroads

 

This one is Stringy Lanes which uses the Sunny Lanes pattern.

Stringy Lanes


Here is a Bear Paw with string blocks.

Bear Paw

The possibilities are limitless. If you enjoy string blocks, be on the lookout for non-traditional ways that you can use them.

Happy Quilting! 😸











Sunday, July 18, 2021

Experimenting with Layouts

While I can plan string quilts on EQ8, the pictures never show the real variety of string blocks.When I made Multi-Color Stars, I mentioned that I was going to make an experiment to see if I could show the layout to better effect. Here are the results.
 

String Stars 65" x 75" (straight layout)

String Stars 65" x 75" (offset layout)

Other than the layout, these quilts are alike in overall size, size of blocks (4.5" finished), mix of strings, and fabric for the stars. With the straight layout, the string diamonds come together in fours (focus on the shape formed by the diamonds).

Straight

 

With the offset layout, the string pattern includes diamonds and zigzags.


Offset

Because they are string blocks, they are busy and the secondary pattern of strings can be hard to see. Done in two colors, it would likely be more obvious, but I like the variety of scrappy string blocks.

I finished both with the same backing and binding.

Straight

Offset

 

I am pleased with both layouts, and I really have no preference for one over the other. What do you think?


Happy Quilting! 😸









Friday, July 16, 2021

The Name Quilt--Quilting in Children's Literature

"Grandma had a million stories in that quilt." In this book featuring an autograph quilt, Sadie and her Grandma share the stories of their family.


Root, Phyllis. The Name Quilt. Illustrated by Margot Apple. Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2003. ISBN: 9780374354848


Sadie loves visiting her Grandma for the summer. They go fishing, do chores, and drink lemonade. But one of the best things happens every night. As Grandma tucks Sadie into bed, she tells family stories about the people whose names are embroidered on the name quilt.


The Name Quilt

Sadie hears stories prompted by the names and fabrics. Sadie finds out about her aunt Avonelle whose patch is made from a dress she ripped when she rode the hogs. Sadie learns about her mom from a piece of a skirt that she stained with blackberry juice when she was young. There is a patch of Grandma's plain wedding dress--"'We didn't have money for fancy dresses back then,' Grandma said." Sadie loves all the stories the quilt inspires.


One day, however, a storm blows through when the name quilt is on the clothesline.


Both Grandma and Sadie are fine and the house is intact, but the name quilt is gone. Sadie is sad that the stories are gone, but as Grandma says, "'You think I need a quilt to remember for me? I keep all those names and all of those stories right here inside of me.'"

 


 

Sadie and Grandma then recreate the name quilt adding some patches that represent the storm and one in the center that has Sadie's name on it.

Margot Apple's soft and colorful illustrations add to the appeal of this book. They mirror the action and add small touches to the story that enhance the words of the author.

This book highlights the quilt as a symbol of family heritage and the power of story-telling.

Happy quilting! 😸


A reminder--you can find my posts on Quilts in Children's Literature by clicking "Children's Literature" in the list of labels on the right-hand pane of this blog.

NOTE: I found my books used from BetterWorldBooks.com. I can highly recommend this site. Not only do they always have free shipping, but they also contribute a book to someone in need for every book you buy. I was not compensated for this recommendation--I just love doing business with them







Monday, July 5, 2021

Basting


 

Work in Progress


I'm basting a new string quilt. Here's a peek! 😎 


 

Happy Quilting. 😸

Saturday, July 3, 2021

The Patchwork Lady--Quilting in Children's Literature

"Patchwork lady talks in patchwork." This brief note, jotted down by the author, became the creative inspiration for her book. 

 

Whittington, Mary K. The Patchwork Lady. Illustrated by Jane Dyer. Harcourt, 1991.  ISBN: 978-0152595807
 

This book is full of patterns and colors. The Patchwork Lady goes through her day preparing for visitors, and all around her are items that, in the end, show up in a surprise quilt.

The Patchwork Lady's clothing is a bit eclectic (like mine!).

 

The softly colored watercolors by Jane Dyer are perfect with the text--they illustrate some words that children might not know, such as "argyle," "festoons,"and "afghan."  Many of the illustrations are full pages, and the facing page has an accompanying smaller illustration with the text.


Full page

Facing page

In the story, we see the Patchwork Lady finding creative solutions to problems: scarves take the place of dusty tattered streamers, and she fashions a cake from crumbled cupcakes. Her words throughout the book are little bits of sentences that add up in the end to make sense--like the little bits of cloth that make up a quilt. Indeed as the note mentioned above says, "Patchwork lady talks in patchwork."

A quilt in this book represents the idea that the small, everyday things of our life add up to something
original and whole when we step back and look at the overall pattern.

A Quilt of Everyday Things

 

As I sit here writing in a crazy muumuu (pink, purple, and red patchwork print) and red shoes, I identify with the Patchwork Lady a bit! Everyday life may not go smoothly, but we have the ability to turn some of our problems around to create solutions . . .  and sometimes, those solutions are more beautiful than we expected.


Happy Quilting. 😸


A reminder--you can find my posts on Quilts in Children's Literature by clicking "Children's Literature" in the list of labels on the right-hand pane of this blog.

NOTE: I found my books used from BetterWorldBooks.com. I can highly recommend this site. Not only do they always have free shipping, but they also contribute a book to someone in need for every book you buy. I was not compensated for this recommendation--I just love doing business with them.

 





 

Saturday, June 26, 2021

An Adventure with Ruby: Quilting in Children's Literature

 Ruby is a children's picture book by Alison Lester, a writer and illustrator from Australia.


Lester, Alison. Ruby. Houghton, Mifflin, 1987. ISBN: 978-0395464779


Ruby's mother made her a patchwork quilt when Ruby was a baby. She loves it so much that she names it "Besty" because it is her best friend. In this book, Ruby's quilt helps her have the courage to face her fear--namely, the serpent she believes lives under her bed.

 

Ruby, Besty, and the serpent

 

 

Ruby and Besty fly away one night to an island where she saves the cubs of King Vidor and Queen Zinnia from an evil serpent.

Ruby and Besty saving the cubs

In return for this act of courage, Ruby received the Blue Bird of Bravery which was sewn onto Besty by Sir Uncle Elmo.

Blue Bird of Bravery award

 

Ruby and Besty return home, and when Ruby wakes the next morning, the Blue Bird "seemed to wink at her in the morning sun."

Notice the patchwork "serpent" under the bed.

 

Ruby's and Besty's adventure in the night lends courage to the girl, and she is able to confront that scary "serpent."

Ruby dons the "serpent" and is ready to face the day. 🐍


 

In this book, the quilt represents friendship and courage--specifically the courage that results from having a true friend by your side. The illustrations are in soft, dreamy colors, and it would make a great book to read at bedtime.

 

You can find more information about Alison Lester on her website

 

If you would like to hear the author read the book, a video is available HERE.


A reminder--you can find my posts on Quilts in Children's Literature by clicking "Children's Literature" in the list of labels on the right-hand pane of this blog.


NOTE: I found my books used from BetterWorldBooks.com. I can highly recommend this site. Not only do they always have free shipping, but they also contribute a book to someone in need for every book you buy. I was not compensated for this recommendation--I just love doing business with them





 






Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Summer Sunshine

Sunshine, daisies, butter mellow,

Turn this very blue quilt YELLOW!


Summer Sunshine (AKA Winter Blues designed by Bonnie Hunter)--84" x 94"



Winter Blues designed by Bonnie Hunter

 Click the photo above to buy the pattern from Bonnie's store.



When I first saw this pattern, I somehow KNEW that I had to make it in yellows. Yellow isn't my favorite color (that would be red), but it seemed just right for this.


Yellow, yellow, yellow!

My version is less scrappy than Bonnie's--I used a white-on-white swiss dot, a white-on-yellow polka dot, and a pale yellow sunshine print for the alternate blocks, and I went scrappy for the 16-patches. The border is made of scrappy string blocks (my favorite!).


My friend, Leah, did the quilting for me (Thanks so much, Leah!).

Leah took this photo that shows the quilting pattern.


Summer Sunshine (border and binding detail)


Summer Sunshine (detail)

 

I chose a sunny yellow gingham for the back and a narrow yellow stripe for the binding of this very bright quilt.


As is usual for Bonnie Hunter's writing, this was a clear and strightforward pattern that went together smoothly. It was nice to work on this cheerful quilt during the dark winter days (and the rainy spring ones!).


Happy Quilting! 😎









Sunday, June 13, 2021

Pioneer History: Quilting in Children's Literature

 This book's title, The Quilt-Block History of Pioneer Days: With Projects Kids Can Make, says it all!


Cobb, Mary. The Quilt-Block History of Pioneer Days: With Projects Kids Can Make. Illustrated by Jan Davey Ellis. Millbrook, 1995. ISBN: 9781562944858

This 64-page chapter book is recommended for Grades 2-4 reading level. It has simple reference aids: Table of Contents, "For Further Reading" list, and an Index.

Each chapter has a focus and a project for kids. For example, Chapter Two is about the pioneers saying goodbye to their friends and family before moving west. The reading and accompanying illustration cover album quilt blocks: autograph blocks signed by those who stayed behind as a remembrance for the relocating family. The chapter project is a signed Quilt Block bookmark for a friend.



All of the projects are papercraft though some of them could be done in fabric as well.


Other chapters include stories of different aspects of pioneer life and the quilt blocks that the lifestyle inspired.

Chapter 4: "Building the Cabin"


Chapter 8: "Special Occasions"


Chapter 9: "Weather"


In the final chapter, the author writes," When I look at a map of our country, I like to think it resembles a gigantic patchwork quilt sewn together by the brave pioneers" (58). The structure of the book reinforces that idea.

The illustrations are fairly simple and bright, and they fit well with the text. The illustrated page of quilt blocks that accompanies each chapter is clear, accurate, and well-labeled, as you can see in the images I have included above.

This book covers the history of the American pioneer, as well as the ideas/stories/events behind common quilt blocks. The projects use common everyday materials, so they are accessible for most readers, and they add fun to the learning experience.


Happy Quilting! 😸

 

A reminder--you can find my posts on Quilts in Children's Literature by clicking "Children's Literature" in the list of labels on the right-hand pane of this blog.


NOTE: I found my books used from BetterWorldBooks.com. I can highly recommend this site. Not only do they always have free shipping, but they also contribute a book to someone in need for every book you buy. I was not compensated for this recommendation--I just love doing business with them.








Saturday, June 5, 2021

ABC and 123--Quilting in Children's Literature

Two staples of children's picture books are alphabet and counting books. They can include illustrations from any subject--including quilting!


Cline-Ransome, Lesa. Quilt Alphabet. Illustrated by James E. Ransome. Holiday House, 2001.  ISBN: 978-0823417650


Cline-Ransome, Lesa. Quilt Counting. Illustrated by James E. Ransome. SeaStar, 2002. ISBN: 978-1587171772


Lesa Cline-Ransome and her husband, James E. Ransome created this pair of books that use quilts to teach basic alphabet and number concepts. Cline-Ransome has written many books including the Coretta Scott King Honor Award winner, Finding Langston. James E. Ransome is a prolific illustrator and winner of numerous awards including the Coretta Scott King Award for The Creation by James Weldon Johnson. 

 

Quilt Alphabet is a book of poetic riddles. Each page has (or in some cases, full spreads have) a letter, a poem, and an illustration.


Quilt Alphabet: P & Q spread

Readers can use the clues to deduce the word that starts with the indicated letter. The answers to each letter can be found on the last page.


Quilt Alphabet: Answers to clues

The lovely endpapers continue the quilt theme.


Quilt Alphabet: Endpapers


The second book, Quilt Counting, uses numbers to tell the story of the creation of a quilt. It begins in a farmhouse with three generations of a family who create a quilt featuring themes of the farm. The pages count upward from 1-10, then downward back to "one quilt." The upward counting uses illustrations of the necessary tools for making a quilt.

 

Quilt Counting: #8 spread

Quilt Counting: #9 & #10 spread

 

 The downward counting features farm themes captured in the quilt.


Quilt Counting: #4 spread

Quilt Counting: #1 spread (notice the sunflower in the quilt)

Quilt Counting also has a short "Note About Quilts" at the end that shares a bit of history of the quilting tradition.


Both of these are engaging books with beautiful illustrations. In future blog posts, we will see more from James E. Ransome; he has illustrated several children's book that share the theme of quilts.


Happy Quilting! 😸


A reminder--you can find my posts on Quilts in Children's Literature by clicking "Children's Literature" in the list of labels on the right-hand pane of this blog.


NOTE: I found my books used from BetterWorldBooks.com. I can highly recommend this site. Not only do they always have free shipping, but they also contribute a book to someone in need for every book you buy. I was not compensated for this recommendation--I just love doing business with them