I tell people all the time that I have the best job in the world. I know, we all hear different versions of this. Different people have different types of work, and many claim to love it. But I mean it. Really mean it. (Not that others don’t, mind, but I don’t think all of them do.) When I am at my appraisal table, I meet gazillions of people, get to see their quilts, and I hear so many stories. The scenery is ever-changing, and always interesting.
I see a lot of similar quilts, it’s true. When a specific pattern is especially popular, I will see a bunch of of quilts out of it over several shows. Then the next pattern becomes more popular. Sometimes, though, there are “trends” even among vintage and antique quilts. I might see an inordinate number of crazy quilts one weekend, or what feels like nothing but Grandmother’s Flower Garden quilts another. Now, it is true that there are a lot of both of those style quilts around, so seeing a lot of either isn’t a huge surprise. But out of twenty (just to give a number), I might see fifteen of one style on a given weekend. I have no idea why this is, but it’s kind of funny.
Sometimes, though, I get to see more unusual pieces. That is always fun. It thrills me to see a quilt that shows a particular maker’s personality, or his or her decision to do things a little differently. This holds true whether the quilt in question is new or old.
This past weekend, a lady brought me a quilt for which she said she’d never been able to find a pattern name. I recognized the pattern as “My Graduation Class Ring,” immediately, since I’ve seen it before, but there was something just a little unusual about it. (By the way, “My Graduation Class Ring” was published in the Kansas City Star on April 3, 1935, just in case you wondered.) Take a look at the photos below (posted with permission) and see if you can tell what is so different about this one:
Here is a photo of one done traditionally:
I’ll bet you can see it now, right? True, the green arcs in the first one vary, but that’s not it. That isn’t terribly unusual in a quilt as scrappy as this one. It’s the addition of the blue alternate blocks that really makes all the difference.
This was no novice piecer, I don’t think. Rather than applique her circles onto a plain ground, she stitched them into a pieced ground. Cool stuff, huh?
Below is a photo of the original quilt pattern as published (I took this off of eBay since I couldn’t find the pattern in my own collection). You can also see a diagram of it at #4267 in the Brackman encyclopedia (at left). You can see that the pattern is sort of a Double-Wedding-Ring-meets-Dresden-Plate idea, right? At least to my eyes it is, with the funny curvy bits a la French Star. I really love the pattern but will probably not be making it any time soon.
You probably already know that I am not much for following patterns. I did that for years and year and got bored with it, and now I just play along until I think of another way to do things. How about you? Do you mess around with patterns to create your own version of things?