Sunday, July 21, 2013

A is for Apple-the first block in the Child's Alphabet Quilt-Along

Mildred's Block
My block

 It's time to start a quilt-along. I hope you will join me.  I have not been able to locate the finishing instructions for the quilt that are mentioned you could send away for in the paper. So I will tell you what I plan to do in the meantime. Maybe by the end of the quilt-along I will be able to find it!  The blocks are 6 inches finished.  I am laying it out in EQ7 and would be happy to share that with anyone who would like it, or do your own thing with the blocks!  I am using Kona white for the blocks and a perle cotton 5 for the embroidery using a stem stitch. For the original blocks embroidered by Liz's grandmother (the ones with the black letters) I am using a running stitch appique so that it matches her original quilt. For mine I am doing needle turn. You could easily do fusible applique. The blocks are very fast to make. With fusible applique they would be super fast to do. For an excellent instructions for any applique technique I would recommend Pat Sloan's book Pat Sloan's Favorite Techniques. You can get it here.
Alphabet Quilt – Block 1 – The Apple

     Little four-year-old Joan skipped home from the shopping expedition with glee.  Aunt Nancy had purchased the materials for her new quilt.  She had watched the clerk measure the five yards of white Peter Pan gingham and had chosen the soft pale green. Of this color she heard her aunt order one and one- half yards.
     As soon as they reached home Nancy hunted up her piece bag and chose a figured print in soft terra cotta tones. She found some medium dark plain green and a scrap of dark green.
She used the figured print for the apple itself and the dark green for the stem with the medium shade for the leaf.  In her book of embroidery cotton she found some fast color brown which she later used to embroider the few ragged points at the blossom end of the apple.
     She had purchased some fast color embroidery cotton in green, the same shade as the green gingham which she planned for the strips of color between the white blocks.
Had she chosen pink, blue, yellow or lavender for the strips of color she would have purchased embroidery cotton in the color to correspond.
     Nancy experimented with various methods of transferring the apple pattern to her block of white.
First she cut her white block making it 6 ½ inches square. This allowed one-quarter inch on all sides for seams so that her finished block was 6 inches square.
     Since the white material was so soft and fine she found she could lay the square over the pattern, as given in today’s pattern. She cut the square out of the paper and held her square of cloth over it. By putting them on the window pane she was able to follow it with a sharp lead pencil making a fine mark on the white block. When the outline was on the goods, she took the newspaper square and pasted it on a piece of light weight cardboard or tag board. This was dried under pressure.
     Then the apple, the stem and the leaf were cut out and used as patterns. She laid the apple on the goods and cut, allowing one-quarter inch on all sides for turning in. She did the same with the leaf. The stem was cut from a piece of bias material and was twice as wide as the pattern given. She basted the edges back on both apple and leaf. The edges of stem were turned back until they met at center of underside. They were basted in place.
      After pressing the pieces they were laid in place on the pencil outlines on the quilt block and appliqued with slanting invisible hemming stitches.

     Nancy tried pinning them in place but she found that she could get the work done more easily if she basted the applique pieces in place then began the fine stitchery. She used white thread for appliqueing  The initial was worked with a fine outline stitch. She used four strands of  cotton. She could have used a chain stitch. In either case she found that she needed to make small stitches and have fairly heavy strands of cotton, otherwise the effect was weak.  

Click HERE to download the pattern.


  1. Deb this is so sweet! How fun to have the story with the block. Off to hunt for some perfect apple red:)

  2. I need to find some red and figure out what color of embroidery thread I want to use for the ABCs. This is adorable. I am thinking this would be a great quilt to make and put away for the someday future grandchildren my youngest has promised me when he finds the right girl.

    1. I was thinking the same thing Wanda! Thanks so much for following along!

  3. This is great! Looking forward to seeing all of the blocks up close!