Housing Projects, Part 2: A FREE Block Pattern…and More Wonderful Quilts!

It Takes a Village; 32 1/2" x 38 1/2", designed and pieced by Darra, machine quilted by Chris Porter
It Takes a Village; 32 1/2″ x 38 1/2″, designed and pieced by Darra, machine quilted by Chris Porter

If you read Part 1 of my post earlier this week, you know today’s post–Part 2–features instructions for the House block from my quilt, “It Takes a Village,” from Cuddle Me Quick. At the end of the instructions, you’ll find a few more examples of fun, funky, and fabulous house-themed quilts.

For one 4″ x 6″ finished block, you’ll need:

Door: One 2″ x 3 1/4″ piece

House: Two 1 3/4″ x 3 1/4″ pieces; one 1 3/4″ x 4 1/2″ piece

Background: Two 2 1/2″ squares

Roof: One 2 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ piece

From left: door, house, background, and roof pieces
From left: door, house, background, and roof pieces

To make the block:

1. Sew the 2″ x 3 1/4″ door piece between the two 1 3/4″ x 3 1/4″ house pieces; press away from the door piece.House_step 1

2. Sew the 1 3/4″ x 4 1/2″ house piece to the top edge; press toward the newly added piece.

House_step 2

3. Draw a line from corner to corner on the back of each 2 1/2″ background square. Pin one marked square right sides together with the 2 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ roof piece. Sew directly on the sewn line. Trim, leaving a 1/4″ seam allowance. Press open, toward the corner.

House_step 3

4. Pin and sew the remaining marked  square to the unit from step 3. Trim and press.

House_step 4

5. Sew the roof unit to the top edge of the house unit; press toward the house unit.

House_step 5_finished block

In their book, Fresh Perspectives, Carol Gilham Jones and Bobbi Finley reinterpret 18 classic quilts from the collection of the International Quilt Study Center & Museum in Lincoln, NE.

Fresh Perspectives cover One of those quilts just happened to be a circa 1890 -1910 Schoolhouse quilt.

Schoolhouse, circa 1890 - 1910, probably Oklahoma, maker unknown, 78" x 72", International Quilt Study Center, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 1997.007.0314
Schoolhouse, circa 1890 – 1910, probably Oklahoma, maker unknown, 78″ x 72″, International Quilt Study Center, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 1997.007.0314

Look how Bobbi “reinvented” this old favorite:

Happy Houses, 70 1/2" x 70 1/2", pieced by Bobbi Finley, machine quilted by Holly Casey
Happy Houses, 70 1/2″ x 70 1/2″, pieced by Bobbi Finley, machine quilted by Holly Casey

Bobbi says: “For the record, Barbara (Brackman) provided me with the pattern for Happy Houses, which she designed on BlockBase as I recall.  It was a fun quilt to make, and she watched me make it at the Point Bonita (CA) retreat one year.”

Artist Adrienne Yorinks works in a variety of media, but specializes in fabric. Her unique, house-based quilt, Woman to Woman, appears in Episode 1: Quilts 101 – Antique & Contemporary Quilts of the documentary series Why Quilts Matter: History, Art & Politics. Very different from the blue-and-white Schoolhouse quilt I showed from that series in Part 1 of this post!

Woman to Woman, designed and made by Adrienne Yorinks, 2009, 80" x 60", photo by D. James Dee, appears in the documentary Why Quilts Matter
Woman to Woman, designed and made by Adrienne Yorinks, 2009, 80″ x 60″, photo by D. James Dee, appears in the documentary Why Quilts Matter

In speaking about this quilt, Adrienne says, “I was commissioned to do the piece by the UJA (United Jewish Appeal)…(it) was presented to a woman’s shelter in Jerusalem and hangs there permanently. The photographs of the women on the quilt support the UJA and wanted to share a part of themselves with the women in the shelter that they help fund. I created a house image to encompass the photographs, anchoring the work as well as to hopefully bring comfort to the women and children who are living in the shelter.”

Ricky Tims is another versatile quilter who has put a unique spin on the traditional House block. He designed his quilt, Sunset Strip, for the August 2010 issue of The Quilt Life magazine (which includes instructions), and made it using his own hand-dyed fabric.

Sunset Strip, 42" x 36", designed and made by Ricky Tims
Sunset Strip, 42″ x 36″, designed and made by Ricky Tims

Ricky says about this quilt: “I love seeing what happens to one multi-colored fabric when it is cut up and slightly shifted. The technique used in the sky is one of my Convergence variations–Blended Convergence–which is one of the projects in my book, Convergence Quilts. By adding the paper-pieced houses, I was able to have a focal point. I really like making easy quilts that look sort of complicated. This one is a piece of cake!”

I hope you’ve enjoyed this two-part post. It was fun to write, and more than fun to track down so many wonderful quilts.

‘Til next time, happy stitching!

Darra-signatureP.S. For those of you who’d like a full view of Mary Stori’s quilt from my previous post, here goes. Don’t you just love the pieced sashing and cornerstones? (Thank you, Mary!)

Little Red Schoolhouses, made and quilted by Mary Stori, 56 1/2" x 71 1/4"
Little Red Schoolhouses, made and quilted by Mary Stori, 56 1/2″ x 71 1/4″

Housing Projects: Schoolhouse Quilts, Then and Now (Part 1)

While visiting my mother-in-law in Florida last week, I took advantage of the beautiful weather to enjoy a seaside stroll, and happened upon an adorable 8-year-old girl drawing in the sand. I was quite taken with her, and asked if she would allow me to photograph her artwork. She graciously assented.

Artwork in the Sand

Her inspiration?

Beach hut

Later on, when I viewed the photos I had taken that afternoon, something struck me as oddly familiar. Then it hit me: the simple lines of that drawing in the sand (and the inspiration for it) reminded me of the super-easy House block I had used in “It Takes a Village,” one of the quilts from my latest book, Cuddle Me Quick, co-authored with Chris Porter.

It Takes a Village; 32 1/2" x 38 1/2", designed and pieced by Darra Williamson, machine quilted by Christine Porter, from our book, "Cuddle Me Quick"
It Takes a Village; 32 1/2″ x 38 1/2″, designed and pieced by Darra Williamson, machine quilted by Christine Porter, from our book, “Cuddle Me Quick”

Cuddle Me Quick cover

I’ve always loved the Schoolhouse block (and its many variations). Back in the day, I even collaborated with editor Karen Soltys to produce the Schoolhouse volume of The Classic American Quilt Collection series produced by Rodale Press. This 122-page, hardcover book included photos and instructions for 11 wonderful quilts made by quilters from around the country, including well-known teachers and authors Sharyn Craig and Mary Stori.

The Classic American Quilt Collection_Schoolhouse_cover_2

Mary Stori's Little Red Schoolhouses, as it appeared in Rodale's Classic American Quilt Collection: Schoolhouses
Mary Stori’s Little Red Schoolhouses, as it appeared in Rodale’s Classic American Quilt Collection: Schoolhouses

All this got me thinking about the many wonderful Schoolhouse and other house-themed quilts I’ve seen over the years, both vintage and newly made. For example, I’ve always loved the colorful and quirky House quilt detailed on the cover of Laura’s (and Diana McClun’s) book, Quilts, Quilts, and More Quilts!

Quilts Quilts and more Quilts cover

Here’s a view of the entire quilt. Can’t you just picture it over a sofa or buffet?

Rowhouse, 75" x 38", designed and pieced by Diana McClun and Laura Nownes, hand quilted by Anna Venti
Rowhouse, 75″ x 38″, designed and pieced by Diana McClun and Laura Nownes, hand quilted by Anna Venti

In the traditional vein, it’s hard to top this lovely blue-and-white beauty that appears in Episode 2: Quilts Bring History Alive of the landmark documentary series Why Quilts Matter: History, Art & Politics.

Schoolhouse or House in a Garden Maze, 1890 - 1892, maker unknown, photo by Sharon Risedorph, photo courtesy Rod Kiracofe, appears in the documentary Why Quilts Matter
Schoolhouse or House in a Garden Maze, 1890 – 1892, maker unknown, photo by Sharon Risedorph, photo courtesy Rod Kiracofe, appears in the documentary Why Quilts Matter

Quilt history has always fascinated me, and I typically begin my search for good, solid info with quilt historian, Barbara Brackman. Her classic book, Clues in the Calico, has been my Number 1 “go-to” resource since it landed on my shelf in the late 1980s, and once again it proved to be just the ticket. (NOTE: Although the hardcopy version of Clues in the Calico has been out of print for some time, you can find it via Barbara’s wonderful blog, Material Culture. Click on the link and scroll down the page until the book appears in the left-hand column. You’ll find a link there for the eBook version as well.)

clues in the calico_2

From Barbara’s book, I learned that the pieced block we call Schoolhouse appeared rather late in the nineteenth century (c. 1880 – 1890), and was known by a variety of names (including Old Kentucky Home, Old Folks at Home, and Lincoln’s Log Cabin) until Ruth Finley gave it the familiar moniker, Little Red Schoolhouse, in 1929. Barbara featured the block in her “Quilt Block of the Week” series last November. Click here to view her post, which includes directions for making this 8″ finished block.

Little Red Schoolhouse block, made by Becky Brown, appears in Barbara Brackman's Quilt Block of the Week series, 11/20/12
Little Red Schoolhouse block, made by Becky Brown, appears in Barbara Brackman’s Quilt Block of the Week series, 11/20/12

I asked Barbara if she had photos of any special Schoolhouse quilts that she might share. She came up with this great interpretation, made in 1987 by her sewing group, Seamsters’ Union Local #500. Read more about it on her blog by clicking  here.

The Douglas County Bank Quilt, made by The Seamsters' Union Local #500, Lawrence, KS, 1987, collection of the International Quilt Study Center & Museum
The Douglas County Bank Quilt, made by The Seamsters’ Union Local #500, Lawrence, KS, 1987, collection of the International Quilt Study Center & Museum

Don’t forget to check back for Part 2 of this post on Friday, January 18. It will include instructions for making the 4″ x 6″ finished House block that appears in my quilt “It Takes a Village” (shown above), along with photos of some other wonderful house-themed quilts, old and new.

‘Til then, happy stitching!Darra-signature