Our Block of the Month for November is the Pine Tree Block. The history of different quilt blocks and patterns is something we love to explore, but this month we’re going to talk about a personal history. When it comes to quilting, that’s the real heart and soul of it: patterns and techniques and knowledge passed from one quilter to another, friend to friend, mother to daughter, grandmother to grandchild, and on and on. We pass these blocks on to you, dear Readers, as they were passed to us. Today, Marsha shares the Pine Tree Block, and memories of her Grandma Hawkins.
Marsha and her Grandma
I have been so blessed with all the different quilters that have passed through my life over the years. But the one individual that started my love affair with quilts was my Grandma Hawkins. I have numerous quilts that she hand-pieced and quilted, and for me they are such a treasure! When she passed away, I became the recipient of many of her patterns that she used when she made her quilts. It was so much fun to look through the different patterns, and see the templates were cut from cereal boxes.
From Hand to Machine
When I began my quilting journey, I, too, pieced my blocks by hand. But just like so many things we do, I needed to add speed into the mix, so I began using my machine to piece. However, having access to my Grandma’s patterns has added a new dimension to my quilting. I’ve thought I could just trace the pattern and add 1/4″ to the pattern and then sew it on my machine, but in some instances there was distortion that made the block not lay flat. Being the perfectionist that I am (some call it anal retentive), I decided that having a wonky block just wouldn’t do. So…..I decided to use Grandma’s templates and sew on the line, just as if I was sewing them by hand. The difference is I’m using my electric needle.
Mixing It Up
That is what I have done with part of the Pine Tree Block. The “needles” are machine pieced half square triangles and the rest of the block is made using templates and sewing on the line. It’s up to you if you use your “electric needle” or hand piece the pieces.
I do hope you’ll give this technique a try. Who knows? Maybe one of these days you’ll find some old templates that you want to try, and you’ll have the skills to do so.
Please let me know what you think of this way of piecing. Until then…….