Saturday, October 31, 2015

B-2 Blue Flag Month Two

Original Blocks in SVBAQ by Esther
History and Details of the Original Block
Row Two, Column Two, Sew Along Block 2

"Labeled 'Blue Flags,' an old fashioned nickname for Iris.  
Esther created her Irises from glazed purple chintz, probably of English origin.
The brownish- purple buds were originally a vibrant mauve, a strong clue to dating cotton fabrics pre-1853."    Neva Hart

The inked flower name is near the stylized base of the left flower.

Esther's block - Showing the Echo Quilting

Another photo of the original quilt showing the echo pattern in Esther's hand quilting.  Same block - different lighting darkens the appearance of the fabric colors.

There is a light age spot on the tip of one leaf on the right - not a stitching feature.

Reproduction Block - Dawn's 9" Block
Dawn's Blue Flag Block

I am making my quilt in 9" blocks.  I chose 19th century reproduction fabrics.  My quilt will be all hand sewn.

I used a dark purple print instead of a glazed cotton.  The lower purple leaves are a brown purple to reproduce the look of an unstable purple dye.  I used three green prints - one in the leaves and base, two prints on the stems.

I chose to ink the names on each block before stitching.  I used a font the looked rather Spencerian and printed each flower/block name for tracing.  Tips on inking are HERE.

Spencerian writing was popular in the 19th century.   It is a graceful script I can't freehand.

Block Strategies & Assembly
Back Basting Stem Detail With Sewing Needle Tip
I use back basting for all of my appliqué.  I am particularly pleased with the accuracy I can get using it for the small stems in my 9" blocks.

I first baste the first layers - the pieces behind others:  leaves, petals and short stems and applique those down.  Next, I baste the second layer of appliqué - the pieces on top of the first layer - long stems, more petals and leaves.  After the second layer is appliquéd down I baste the third layer - stems, calyx etc.
In this example I used a bias cut stripe.
One side of the stem is finished, the second side is basted, ready for needle turn appliqué.

I also stitched mine just like Esther - one stem on top of the yellow center, and one under.
Back of Block With Calyx Pieces Up Next

In this photo you can see how close I am to the original drawn pattern lines.  With back basting I can needle turn as accurately as the traced pattern line - even on very, very narrow stems.

All person choice!  No one way is the right way.  If you are looking for options, be sure to visit the Applique Tutorials Tab HERE.

The last step to finish was basting the calyx pieces after the buds and stems.

I hope you enjoy the Blue Flag block as much as I did.
Did you finish a Pineapple block or two? Three?
Have you posted photos to Facebook yet?
Just getting started?  Great, join in at any time.
We would love to her from you!

Dawn & Doreen


  1. Your 9" block turned out stunning Dawn!
    The fabrics you selected are wonderful.
    I also love your inking and the script you chose... it's beautiful..

  2. It's a beautiful block. LOL I was all mentally prepared for the bazillion leaves in that tiger lily I have to think what fabrics I want for this and need to run to Staples to enlarge the pattern. It's interesting about the mauve to brown buds...

    1. Unstable early purple dyes turn kind of brown. You could do the iris in any colors and they would be very pretty! Looking forward to seeing what everyone selects for colors.

  3. Thanks soooo much for your post! The block is amazing and I especially love the history behind the pictures! You two are awesome for taking on this project!

    1. Esther left us quite a gift with her quilt's story! Thank you again for the VQM preserving the quilt and providing the pattern. Quilt history is wonderful.

  4. A beautiful block, so delicate! Thank you for showing the (new to me) back basting method.

    1. After trying back basting for appliqué I've become an addict! In some of the blocks I am substituting embroidery for the littlest bits. Thank you for leaving a comment!

  5. Simply beautiful! I love your color choices. I did not back baste my pineapples and I now wish I had so you have inspired me to try it with this block. I am enjoying this so much. Thank you for all your hard work in making it happen!

    1. I love trying appliqué techniques - it's part of the fun in appliqué. Thanks for participating in the fun!

  6. Wonderful stitching Dawn - am in awe of your work on a 9 inch block. I love this technique too :) Must get stitching on my block now!

    1. Happy stitching Hilda, I'm looking forward to seeing your block in our mid month link up.