Monday, May 19, 2014

The Austen Family Album Quilt is Alive and Well

Never fear gentle readers, despite the lack of recent posts, work on the Austen Family Album Quilt continues apace!

The block called Village Square was included for Jane's brother James who became a pastor and spent his career in two villages. The block is similar to the one completed previously for James and Jane's father, also a churchman. This block does not have the central cross, however, and ideas were given for completing the square in the center. I opted for the more involved pattern and used two fabrics with the stripes hoping to remind the viewer of rows of plants that might be planted in the Village Square. I chose a plaid fabric for the corner squares also thinking of small plots of flowers, planted in a regular pattern.

The block for last week was chosen to commemorate the life of Napoleon Bonaparte. His rise to power, and the conflicts engendered affected the life of the Austen family in many ways. Read the blog post at: for more information.

The block is named Empire Star. I thought it was a good opportunity to introduce some purple shades. As
you can see, in addition to triangles, this block contains 4 trapezoids. There were times when the geometry threatened to overwhelm my bitty brain. I was happy with the finished block. I followed the pattern and did not change the positions of the dark, light and medium values. I think it's a really interesting block to make and to look at.

I was thinking recently that this project appeals to me because every block is different and allows for a variety of fabric choices.  I think I would go mad trying to make an entire quilt with the Empire Star. Actually I think that I have not made many actual quilts in the past because there is no charm for me in making a batch of blocks over and over, especially if the prints and colors remain the same throughout. Here, however, the one fabric of plain taupe remains consistent and the fabrics are all Japanese homespun type cottons. Other than that I have freedom and a weekly challenge of a new block.

This week's block, which was published in yesterday's blog post from Barbara Brackman is named for an Austen  family member I can relate to somewhat; Jane's Aunt Phila was a bit more of a free spirit, something I am accused of being from time to time.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Just Under the Wire!

I am writing this post to let everyone know that even though I had an overnight guest this week and also a medical test that took out another day I am not behind in the Austin Family Album blocks I started several weeks ago. I started out this week being behind, but have now caught up and am ready for tomorrow's new block.

I did run into a problem with this Cross Within a Cross block. I admit that the number of triangles in the block intimidated me just a bit, and when I put the first part together there was something obviously wrong. The funny thing is that I was able to look for other reasons for the "wrongness" besides the obvious one that I had made a mistake. Here's the center section with the mistake:

As you can see, the two points, upper left and lower right are missing. The pieces for this block have measurements in eighths and I messed up on those. So I "unsewed" recut and resewed and came up with the correct dimensions as you can see below.

And, here is the finished block. I had a lot of difficulty finding the fabrics I wanted for this one. I'm still not all that pleased with the values of the different fabric colors. But it's finished.

This block is the one that was scheduled for this week.  All squares! It was a breeze and I went into the box and pulled out indigos for it.

This square is called Thrifty and is to remember Jane's mother, Cassandra Leigh Austen.

If you would like to get the full story on this collection of blocks and the stories about the different family members check out Barbara Brackman's blog at:

Have you ever joined in on a project like this one? Would you do it again?