Sunday, December 02, 2012

Claire’s Tumbling Blocks

Of all the quilts in all of the drawers in Claire and Ray’s quilt collection ---which one did I want to see the most? 

I bet it wasn’t hard for you to guess. 

You know me as a very scrappy girl who loves big quilts with a gazillion small pieces ----

I KNOW you would have chosen this one for me --- as did Claire!


Here is Ray getting ready to roll it out on the floor in Claire’s studio.  I loved her studio….it’s in a walk out basement of their home with lots of natural light from the surrounding windows and her view is of a wetlands area with lots of birds and trees and other nature – perfect quilt inspiration.

We helped Ray roll the quilt out:

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Right on top of yesterday’s Lone Star!

Tumbling blocks quilts have always fascinated me.  3 60 degree diamonds sewn into a hexagon….and depending on how you shade them and turn them, you get cubes, stars or in this case, almost a zig zag stripe effect by the fabric placement.

Bottom Left Corner

The scale is so small that it doesn’t photograph so well unless you get right up on it!

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Upper Left Corner

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Lower Left Corner

While it looks like one common fabric is used all the way down each row….there are places where “some” fabric substitution has taken place.  You’ll see it in the row of diamonds that completes the top of the first row of cubes –they go from brown, to one red…and on to grey.  It did the same thing in mirror image on the other end of the quilt…so it was symmetrical from side to side – a design choice!  Go back to the pic right above this one and see the red striped diamond in the first row – that is the mirror image of the striped diamond in this photo.

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Close up detail

The red plaid seems to be the common thread among mainy of the rows – it’s the same plaid throughout the quilt though the red rows are not spaced evenly.  The blue also popped out at me..love that shade of blue!

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Very Close and Very precise!

I didn’t  handle the quilt, so I couldn’t check the seams to see if it was English paper pieced, which would be joined in more of a whip stitch method, or regular hand pieced – straight stitch joined.  It’s just LOVELY and the fabrics in it are beautiful!

I can’t remember the date on this one, but I believe by the fabrics it was 1850s?  Siobhan?  Anyone?

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Right side of quilt

It was just awe inspiring!  And I love that there is no border.  I love quilts that go borderless, though I often feel compelled to HAVE to put borders on my quilts.  Perhaps – I do more borderless ones in the future!

So who’s up for Quilt-Cam time today?  In hopes that our European Contingency can join in – I’m scheduling it for 2pm Eastern time…come find me!  Not sure what I’ll be working on yet – Yes, I’ve still got Moth in the Window blocks to do, but those Jubilee blocks need working on too.  I’m very behind there, and this year is running out!

Oh, speaking of Moth in the Window ---the hard copy issue of the Magazine IS out of print.   Some have been able to find it on Ebay, but did you know you can also get a digital copy sent right to your email?  Click this link HERE!  You will want the November/December 2011 issue!

See you at 2pm!


  1. Hope to join you later.

  2. Hope to join you later.

  3. I too am fascinated by the optical illusion of the tumbling blocks layout -- and that quilt is a 'WOW!' for sure!

    Hope to be with you this afternoon, but it'll be noon here in Mountain Standard Time and I need to get home from church first -- in the snow, forecast to begin (again) around that time...

  4. Clair's quilts are fabulous. Thanks for the show &tell Bonnie. I'm headed back to Easy Street. Strips cut (too many), Flying Geese parts cut and some sewn. Many more to go.

  5. Thanks Bonnie. Digital magazines are brilliant - they save me a small fortune in postage fees! It's also a great way to sample an issue before committing to a subscription. Good to see that the 100 blocks issues are now available that way too!

    Hope to join you this evening (for me it's evening!) for Quilt - Cam.

  6. That is simply awe-inspiring! What a a tribute to Clair that you are sharing her quilts with us. Thank you Bonnie!

  7. So I have 60 degree paper pieces already.... thinking that this might be where they go... after I finish my grandmother's flowergarden and everything else.. after i win the next powerball...when ................... :o) Thanks so much for sharing!

  8. OMGosh....STUNNING!!! This quilt is amazing! Thanks for sharing!

  9. I received an email from paperpieces.com Their large and bulk pack diamond pieces are 50% off right now. Just wanted to share if anyone is interested in starting a tumbling block :)

  10. So beautiful! I love, love, LOVE scrappy quilts. They make my heart sing! I am so thankful you are sharing some of Claire's quilts. I know she is smiling down on us fellow quilters from heaven. Thanks again Bonnie!

  11. Looking forward to Quilt Cam. Hope the Packers are done playing by then, or I'll be multi-tasking!


  12. anyone else feel a bit dizzy as you scrolled down the first several pictures? Those diamonds seemed to move in funny ways as I moved from one picture to the next. Something like those little books we had as kids where you flip the pages to make the action happen!
    Quilts from Claire are an inspiration and an awe inspiring collection. Utterly fabulous!

    1. At first I couldn't see tumbling blocks at all - just zigzags and as you say moving diamonds. Then after looking at the "very close and very precise picture" I went back ... and there were the tumbling blocks! I suppose my eyes needed training to find them! The detailed photos reveal the beautiful stitching too!
      A fabulous collection of quilts - I'd give my eye teeth to own just one! Thank you to Claire for keeping them safe for posterity.

  13. Great post! Did you mean the Nov/Dec 2012 issue? Thanks.

    1. No - it really is 2011 for moth in the window - if you look at the top of the blog and click the "Addicted to scraps" tab you can see which block pattern appears in which magazine - just in case you wanted to order a few more back issues :-)

  14. What an amazing quilt! That was truly a wonderful quilt choice for all of us to see! I loved the way they occasionally had lighter rows of diamonds that had a lower contrast than the darker ones. I am finding myself making borderless quilts more and more often. I like quilts with borders too; but I don't take the point of view that all quilts should automatically have borders.

    I hope to join you later also. I have some HST that need to be sewn for some pillow tops. There are also kitchen chores to be done. such a dilemma!

  15. No one has mentioned the library,for the back issues of Quiltmaker. My library carries them, maybe someone else's does.

  16. Thank you for thinking of us in Europe, I will be looking at you at Quilt-Cam tonight! Catarina in Sweden

  17. Gosh, you get up close, and the dimensionality is incredible even through a camera!

  18. What a great quilt...such tiny pieces! Circa 1850 sounds about right...She had a wonderful eye for quilts!

  19. These quilts are supreme! It's like a Christmas present early looking at each one. Maybe I would like to try a Tumbling Blocks....in a wallhanging size. Bonnie I've wanted an IPAD for so long and Quilt cam got the deed done on Black Friday deal. I'm set and RTG for this afternoon and super happy though not a good driver yet. Daughter is giving me lessons on navigation.

  20. I was hoping this would be one that you'd show. Beautiful! Tumbling Blocks is on my "some day" list, though I'd likely use a different setting, maybe as you mentioned, stars. Thank you for sharing.


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