Over the past couple of years I’ve managed to acquire a pretty good collection of turn-of-the-century quilt pieces, almost all of them from old tops and blocks. Collecting fabrics this old is tricky, because many times the tops or blocks have ended up in environments that did not protect them from dust (and sometimes lots worse), so the fibers are weakened and tear easily. Also, I have found several chrome and many madder prints that have deteriorated due to the dyes used to make them.
I have been looking for a simple triangle pattern for awhile, but haven’t been able to settle on one. I love the Thousand Pyramids pattern, but not enough of my pieces will work with an equilateral triangle. Ocean Waves is beautiful, but I’ve already made one of those. Then, a few days ago, I found a post by Jan on What a Load a Scrap, where she talked about an antique triangle quilt brought into her local quilt shop. I was immediately taken with this quilt (including the zig-zag quilting pattern), and a special thank you goes to Jan for allowing me to post photos here.
There are so many things I love about this quilt — the amazing amount of prints, the Thousand Pyramid/Flying Geese effect created by the placement of the triangles, and the appearance of vertical rows produced by the subtle use of lights and darks. I was completely sold, and immediately started cutting my pieces. Unfortunately, I don’t have nearly enough madder browns to duplicate the look of this quilt, but I do have a nice assortment of darker fabrics and tons of shirting pieces. Some of my triangles are cut from squares, so the grain is not going to be perfect for this pattern, but that’s something I’ve gotten used to over the years. It’s just not always possible to place a template perfectly when you are dealing with old fabric pieces, and I hate wasting any little bits.
Right now I’m concentrating on pressing, drawing and cutting, but here are a few units I sewed together just to get a feel how it’s going to look. My vertical rows have lots of contrast and are more obvious than I would like, so I want to mix it up a little and add some middle tones to both the light and dark columns. Because this top is constructed in long rows and it’s going to be big, I’m trying to decide if I want to keep sewing these small two-piece units and lay them all out to make sure there is a good distribution of color and print. This process is not very appealing since I do not have a design wall. The other idea would be just to go for it and start sewing rows without worrying so much about placement. What would you do?