Thursday, July 9, 2015

A Collection of Antique Blocks

A few posts back, I (Kara) wrote a post about the UFOs of the past and shared my collection of quilt tops. Those UFOs or PUPs (Poor Unfinished Projects) have fewer steps on the road to completion than what I am sharing with you now. Through the years, I have garnered quite a collection of antique blocks. Some of the blocks I have were purchased with a purpose in mind, and some I purchased just because they spoke to me.

It started about 28 years ago when I saw these blocks in an antique store in Michigan, and they jumped into my hands all by themselves.

I hadn't even made a quilt yet, but I loved their vintage look and feel. There are 44 total in the Double T pattern.  Almost all of them are hand pieced and are in fairly good condition.

Double T pattern

This next set I purchased on Ebay because I wanted to have a go at repurposing some blocks with embroidery.  The feed sack fabrics used in these blocks were so charming, and there was a wide variety of patterns.  The blank center called out for embroidery.

I do have a few of the blocks that someone had started to put together, and it appears as if they may have lost interest in the project. (I can relate.) These are also hand pieced.

I was kind of on a roll with this idea of repurposing old blocks with embroidery, so when I saw these next blocks and their solid centers, I bought them.


One of the blocks has an embroidered signature, "Olive Groover, March 1934," which leads me to believe that maybe it was destined to be a signature or autograph quilt. On a whim, I checked, and there were a lot of Olive Groovers throughout the country at that time.

This block was a popular signature block
My next purchase was a lot of star blocks made of feed sacks and other fabrics. There was one large star with a piece missing and six smaller stars.

One of the smaller stars has a chunk missing from one of the ends, so I will borrow some fabric from it to replace the missing piece in the large star.

In this lot, there were also quite a few half done stars. Those may be a good "I'm in the car for 10 hours, what should I do" project.

My most recent purchase was these three mini Dresden plate blocks that I found in a Salisbury, MD antique store for only $3.00.  It would have been a crime not to buy them.

So what to do with all these blocks? Someone long ago had a purpose and plan in mind for them and for various reasons were unable to finish them. The antique quilt top UFOs that I have just need to be quilted, whereas these blocks have quite a few possibilities when considering an end result for them.

I turned a few of the Double T blocks into scissor keepers for my friends at Jan Vaine's Tea and Stitches Retreat.

I mentioned that I was going to try embroidery on the white center feed sack blocks, and that is what I have started for those.

My vision is to make nine embroidered blocks and turn it into a wall hanging for a child's room.  I have four drawn and two nearly completed.  I've tried to keep the embroidery simple so I actually get the project done this decade.

While taking pictures for this post I had an idea for the star blocks.  I loved the simplicity of the blocks on the white background of my bed quilt, so I think that I will appliqué them all on a white background and then quilt it.

As for the other blocks that I have, those will have to wait for their inspiration to come. I am open to ideas, if anyone would like to share them.


  1. Quizás podrías utilizartus minibloques plato Dresde como flores en una guirnalda primaveral agregando un poco de bordado sobre un fondo claro para que resalten. Seguro que tendrás alguna bonita idea para ello. Me encanta tu idea de no dejar que se pierdan esas historias que cuentan las labores. en mi país es algo olvidado. Laura

  2. A wreath of dresden plate flowers is a wonderful idea! Appliquéing the pieced blocks and embellishing with embroidery is a perfect combination of skills to create a beautiful new story from these old blocks. Thank you for sharing your idea with us, Laura!