Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Block 21- The umbrella

One of my favorites for sure!

Mildreds block

My block

Block 21- Umbrella

When the club members met to make the twenty-first block in the alphabet quilt they found that “U” stood for an umbrella. “Of course, how stupid of us not to have thought of that.” One woman who was a poor speller said she had decided that the “U” block would represent an onion. She was laughed out of court and told to consult her dictionary. “Onion begins with “O” silly, “said they.
“How are we going to get those drops of rain, Nancy?”. “Of course you could use a whole square of polka dots and appliqué the umbrella onto that, but since we have kept all the others plain white gingham I thought we would embroider the dots of rain. We can use satin stitch making tiny white rounds of dots, or we can use French knots. If we use those, I suppose the rain is really hail, however.”
Had the club been making this umbrella fifteen years ago they would have chosen black for the top but in these days of gay color the umbrella may be any shade at all. One member wanted to chose red but since harsh, strong colors have been omitted entirely in the patterns it was deemed wise to choose some other color for the top. Otherwise the re umbrella would stand out in the finished quilt like a sore thumb.
Most of the members chose a violet or lavender color. Nancy’s choice was soft rose. That was because she knew about the block that would be next to the umbrella one. She did not want to repeat colors. One member chose soft blue and another beautiful green.
The 6 ½ inch square of white gingham was cut out, so   was the square in the paper. The cloth was held closely over the paper pattern and  both were pressed against the window pane. With a sharp pointed lead pencil the pattern was traced onto the cloth. A mere point indicated the spots of rain.
The paper pattern was pasted onto a lightweight cardboard or tag board and dried under pressure.
While it dried the letter “U” was embroidered in fast-colored embroidery cotton. Nancy used green to match all her other letters. Then, too, she had chosen green gingham for her connecting strips in the finished quilt.
After the pattern was dry the umbrella top was cut out and then the handle. The stick was cut in one piece so that it extended from the curved handle to the tip. Even though it did not show when the umbrella top was appliquéd Nancy found it was easier to do than if she cut two pieces.
The stick was cut from a bias piece and was made just twice as wide as the finished stick. The edges were turned under until they met at the center and were then basted in place.
The top was cut with an allowance of a quarter-inch on all sides. This was turned under, basted in place and then the piece was pressed.
Nancy found that small slits at the edge made it easier to turn the curve at the handle and the curves in the umbrella top.

The pieces were pinned in place and then basted and later appliquéd with fine, slanting hemming stitch. Then the dots were embroidered and another block was ready. 

Oops I almost forgot the pattern:  click HERE for the pattern.

Only three more blocks are left after this! Stay tuned for more!

Happy Stitching,


  1. The poor woman who was laughed out of court because she was a poor speller! That is too funny! I just love reading these little stories!

    1. Me too Karen. I'll be sad when they are over!

  2. I feel for the onion lady...spelling is not my best thing either. LOL