Monday, 13 April 2015

Strawberry Basket - Red Sky at Night

"Flat Iron Patchwork," a beautiful and interesting mix of checks and triangles, was published by the Ohio Farmer on 23rd July, 1896. Since then, it's been called Steps to the Alter, Dish of Fruit, and finally in 1930, Strawberry Basket. (you can see it in the 1930s booklet here!) I've been wondering whether that first designer had fruit in mind. And what happened in the early 1900s to inspire women and farming journals to come up with prettier names for their blocks. A sweet block like this begs a sweet name, don't you think?

I've been wrought with emotion, making Strawberry basket this week. I'd always had in mind that I could photograph it as a little picnic, a champagne breakfast, reminding me of mine before my wedding nine years ago. I would write about quilts for brides, even though I don't know if this was made specifically for brides, like a Double Wedding Ring, which wasn't designed till the 1920s, but the name Steps to the Alter suggests it may have been.

Then on Wednesday we received an email from friends in town asking us to pray for their neighbours whose daughter, due to be married on Saturday, was missing. And soon after, we read the awful news that Stephanie Scott, a young teacher in Leeton, NSW, was killed, and the school cleaner had been charged with her murder. Driving into town today, the streets of Canowindra are lined with yellow balloons and streamers in memory of her. When the young guy at the checkout asked if I wanted help carrying my groceries to my car, I nearly cried. The kindness of this lovely town. The hope of a wedding. It just makes it all the more devastating.

Quilts have a long history connected to weddings (and wars, and political agendas, but we'll talk more about those another time). I've read stories of brides making a dozen quilts before her wedding, of families giving quilts to celebrate engagement. Before quilts were merely practical and beautiful, they were rare and expensive, a gift for royal weddings as far back as the 1300s. Henry VIII had as many quilts as he had wives, and loved them for their prestige. (The quilts, not the wives, apparently!) For me, the quilt's long tradition as a wedding gift, accentuates it's uniqueness as functional art. We received paintings for our wedding, and towels and cutlery and kitchenware, for all of which I was grateful, but a quilt so wonderfully dances all over the lines between utilitarian and artistic.

And my heart just breaks for the Scott family who didn't have their wedding this weekend.


You will need:

Red: Three 4.5" squares, Eleven 2.5" squares, One triangle cut from half a 5" square.

White: One 4.5" square, One 4.5" x 2.5" rectangle, Seven 2.5"squares, and one triangle cut from half a 5" square.

1. Using one red and one white 4.5" square, make four 2.5" half square triangles like last week.


2. Sew the red and white 5" HSTriangles together. Press and trim to 4.5".

3. Lay out your block as below.

4. Pair up your little squares next to each other ready to chain piece. Take special note of the pairs with triangles - they don't all sew to the square next to them in the same direction!

5. Next, sew your pairs into squares! You should now have our traditional nine patch.

6. Sew into rows of three. Press and sew the rows into your 12.5" block!

And then say a prayer this week for the families and students affected by this horrible crime.

Jodi. xxx


  1. I read this weekend about Stephanie. Its so sad and so inconceivable. I taught near(ish) there at Coolah in our first year of marriage and would sometimes go in on weekends to do school prep, so I feel so shocked.
    I'll be praying for them with you. X

  2. Such a beautiful block, such sad news for your community. Thoughts and prayers to you all.

  3. Its sad what people do...........Ty for sharing your block it looks very nice........No one every shows the back of there blocks....LOL mine look bad but still trying to get them to lay flat...

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I so love your comments! I read all of them and reply when I can. If you don't hear back, I'm lost under a mound of scraps or outside jumping on the trampoline with the kids. Jodi. xx