My Trip Into the Past ~ A Reproduction Quilt
I’ve seen this pattern called both a modified nine patch and an elongated nine patch. A busy housewife could quickly make the blocks yet the use of the rectangles around the squares makes it a more interesting quilt than a nine patch made of all squares. In addition there is a lot of choice in terms of fabric that can be used. One could buy a few coordinated fabrics to make the quilt but more likely the quilters of the past used scraps as the pattern lends itself well to the use of many different fabrics.
Although the Smithsonian has a quilt much like this one that was made in the second quarter of the nineteenth century the fabric I chose is more typical of the latter part of the 1800s. As this pattern continued to be used throughout much of the 19th century there are a variety of choices in terms of the reproduction fabrics that could be used.
The lighter colored rectangles were often made from shirting fabric. This type of fabric consisted of a small overall print on a white or near white background. Shades of brown along with coppery reds or oranges were typical of the period from the Civil War Era to America's Centennial celebration. I chose the burgundies and blues that were seen in the last several years before the turn of the century. Basically I made this choice as these colors blended in with the décor of my home.
I purchased much of the reproduction fabric at my local quilt store. Once I had a feel for the period I also bought odds and ends that just seemed right at other stores. As plaids were used in these time periods I was able to find some present day plaids that blended in. This way I was able to give the quilt the scrappy look I wanted.
It wasn't necessary to buy very much of each fabric. A quarter of a yard was enough for the darker pieces and even an eighth of a yard was enough for the light parts of the nine patches. Since the pattern itself is quick and easy half the fun of making this quilt was searching for the fabric.
Once the blocks were made I had a grand time arranging and rearranging the blocks to find the best way to show off each nine patch. It was fascinating to become so immersed in fabric from a long ago era. While making this quilt I felt a wonderful connection with the past.
© 2001 Judy Anne Johnson Breneman (Do not reproduce this article without permission from the author.)
Take a look at the nine patch doll quilts I designed and made, Patterns From History for Doll & Crib Log Cabin Quilts The fabric used in this quilt is typical of the end of the nineteenth century.
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