Although we celebrate March as National Quilting Month, at the Quilt Discovery Experience in Beatrice NE it’s celebrated all year round. Homestead National Monument Park showcases quilts as historical documents representing who we are as a nation. Pioneer women spent months preparing provisions for their trip “out West”. They carefully packed essentials such as food, clothing, dishes and bedding. These women were the cornerstone makers of the wagon trains and quilts were sewn just for the journey.
The hand stitched quilts they carried warmly represented the homes they left behind and their bright hopes for the future. The quilts we sew today are the cousins and grandchildren of the blocks created by our pioneering sister quilters. You’ll find modern day adaptations of our nation’s sewing history in the tutorials I’ve collected for you below. We who value making are still significant members of the Quilt Discovery Experience! Click here to visit Homestead National Park.
Queen Charming Disappearing Nine Patch
The humble, yet wonderful Nine Patch block was often used by pioneer quilters. It’s a simple, quick design, we still value for its scrap busting ability. This gorgeous interpretation of that same block is a free pattern from The Quilting Company. It features oh-so-modern Tula Pink fabrics in a stunning display. You’ll choose fabrics for 10” squares and assemble them following the excellent instructions in the linked PDF. Click here for the Queen Charming Disappearing Nine Patch tutorial.
Carole’s Log Cabin
Log Cabin blocks were typically stitched in lights and darks and were arranged so that a diagonal division formed in the middle. The two colors were said to represent the movement of the sun through the sky with the classic red “home fires burning” square in the middle. Today’s Log Cabin quilts are full of the delight of fabric combinations whether just bought or pulled from your stash. You’ll assemble Carole’s Log Cabin with a nod to tradition and large, beginner-friendly pieces. Designed by Stacey Day, you’ll enjoy the precise cutting instructions and easy-to-follow full color diagrams. Click here for the Carole’s Log Cabin tutorial.
Appearance was a second thought in many pioneer quilts since their most important purpose was to provide warmth. But, the women of the Quilt Discovery Experience were creative and the beauty of a Pinwheel Block is always fulfilling. Today’s Pinwheels are often bright and bold yet still linked to their more subtle, historic roots. Designer Susan Guzman’s charming quilt features Amy Butler fabrics in spinning flashes of patchwork loveliness. You’ll combine three different pattern units to create the complex appearance of this strippy delight. Read through the instructions before you begin and follow along closely as you piece. The patience of your ancestors will help as you travel through these steps! Click here for the Carnival Pinwheels tutorial.
Tribute Star Quilt
Stars of wonder, twinkling stars and the light of stars to follow West were all significant in pioneer life. It’s not surprising that the Eight Point Star block was at the center of many historic quilts. The quilt made by blogger Rebecca from Bryan House Quilts is a beautiful way to showcase the precision of a star block! Created as a tribute to her grandmother, Rebecca used fabrics designed by Denyse Schmidt. You’ll enjoy the story of Rebecca’s quilt as much as you do making it for your own Quilt Discovery Experience! One large star, excellent instruction, and the traditions of pioneer quilters make this a project you will love. Click here for the Tribute Star tutorial.
As they journeyed to a wild new land, a quilt stitched in God’s Eye Blocks was often reassuring. Challenges were many and the comfort of a quilt was enormous. While not easy to cut or piece, the intricacy of a God’s Eye block is still popular today. Just as in days of old, it’s a wonderful way for quilters to show off their skills! Marsha Monroe’s dazzling interpretation of this important block sparkles with bright, garden-style beauty. Choose a bold floral collection to create the folded and cut strips you’ll need for your 10-1/2” blocks. Two-color diagrams make the piecing assembly clear and easy to follow as you watch your bold garden emerge. Click here for the Tulip Star tutorial.