Saturday, October 27, 2018

The Circa 1880 Nine Patch Quilt

The Circa 1880 Nine Patch Quilt by Pam Buda ~ Photo by Aaron Leimkuehler
I am anxious to share more details about my new Circa 1880 Club.   The Nine Patch quilt above is the main focus of the club.  It has over 500 blocks!  

Did you gasp?

Fear not!

Making the 500 + blocks needed for the quilt is very doable in one year's time.  (Nobody said you have to make it in a year.  I promise there are no Nine Patch police around!)  I have worked out all the kinks and have making these blocks down to a science - I promise!  All my hints and tips will be shared when you're at club meetings at your local participating quilt shop and through a private Facebook group.  

Still thinking it's not possible?  If you're a regular reader of my blog, you know I keep myself pretty busy.  I was on a mission to make this quilt and I had to find time if I was going to get it done.  So, I made a commitment to spend one hour each morning, 5 days a week to making the blocks.  Sometimes I did less.  Sometimes I was able to spend an entire Sunday.  It all worked out.  At first, I wasted a lot of time and knew I had to work smarter, not harder, and over a few weeks, developed a system that enabled me to make a dozen blocks in about an hour.....and YOU can too!!  

This quilt is an heirloom for sure....I call it my Hour A Day Heirloom.  It's done...I really made it.  It's not a UFO!  All from one hour a day!  

To gain a larger variety of scrap happiness in my blocks, I asked six friends to trade blocks with me.  We all agreed to a set of trading rules and stuck to them.  We didn't make strict timelines to trade because we're all busy, so we traded whenever we had about 25 blocks made.  That helped to be able to work at your own pace.  A big reason my Circa 1880 Nine Patch quilt is so wonderful is because of them.  So, it's time you know who they are!

My local (in Illinois) friends are Debbie McClarence, who is my co-worker and right hand.  

Karen Schultz of Elgin - a dear friend and founding Prairie Women's Sewing Circle member who I have known for many years and adore.

Becky Carpenter of Montgomery - another dear friend and founding Prairie Women's Sewing Circle member - friend to Karen as well...and super talented quilter and antique lover like me!

My out of town trading friends are:

Janet Olsen of Logan, UT ~ super talented quilt maker and maker of extraordinary pies!  Janet writes a wonderful blog called Rogue Quilter.  She inspired me with her beautiful work and makes a lot of small quilts I love.

Wendy Reed of Bath, ME - I met Wendy several years ago when I taught at the Maine Quilt Show.  I knew immediately we were kindred spirits.  Wendy knows so much about nineteenth century fabric and makes the most amazing repro quilts.  She also has a blog...The Constant Quilter which you should check out.  Wendy is hosting a monthly sew-along to sew all twelve projects in my Vintage Patchwork book!  How fun is that?  Click the link for her blog to read more.

And....last but certainly not least is Cyndi Black, owner of The Busy Thimble quilt shop in Litchfield, ME.  I met Cyndi at the same time I met Wendy.  I was very lucky to visit The Busy Thimble shop on that trip and immediately fell in love with the shop and Cyndi.  Like Wendy, Cyndi makes amazing repro quilts.  She also writes The Busy Thimble blog which I'm sure you'll enjoy.  

Fussy Cut blocks using Circa 1880 Fussy Cut template.  Photo by Aaron Leimkuehler
One of the best parts about making these blocks is fussy cutting motifs for different parts of the block.  In the photo above, you can find the word Union in the block center and the same block has a little flag in the corner square.  My quilt has lots of fussy cut surprises.  Many of them came from blocks I traded with my friends.  Each month I was amazed at how many fabrics I received that I never saw before.  Their stash has so many new-to-me fabrics and now I have a piece of them in my quilt.   So, so cool!!  

I L*O*V*E fussy cutting fabrics for lots of the quilts I make.  So much so, I have designed a new set of fussy cutting templates that make it so easy peasy to cut just about any size motif you like.  The new templates are also making their debut at market and I will be anxious to share them with you when I get back.  So...stay tuned for more fussy cutting news!

The quilt is set using Marcus Fabrics Aged Muslin which was absolutely perfect in recreating the look of the antique quilt.  It is a very special fabric - not your ordinary muslin in that each and every yard is hand dyed.  No two yards are the same which gives it the perfect aged patina.  It also shows the quilting stitches beautifully.  

Speaking of the beautiful quilt was quilted by oh-so-talented Valerie Langue who owns The Quilt Merchant in Winfield, IL. truly outdid yourself!!  

I also designed 26 new fabrics for the club and a new backing fabric designed especially for the Circa 1880 Nine Patch quilt!  I'll tell you lots more about them soon.  

In the meantime, I'd better get back to packing for fall market.  I have a lot to share while I'm there.  In the meantime, give your sewing machine some love today!   It misses you!


  1. Sweet post. I agree totally, little bits of time really add up.

  2. I agree that Valerie is an outstanding quilters. She did one of my quilts for me. It will be published in Primitive Quilts and Project magazine, Summer 2019.

  3. It was such a privilege to be a part of this process, Pam. And I am anxious to see the entire quilt. Can't wait!
    I have almost all of my blocks made now. Exciting. :)

  4. How do I get involved in this & where do I find the pattern?

  5. Pam ~ So happy I finally got to see this lovely quilt in person. Of course the photos don't show the beauty of this heirloom!! I am so happy to have been chosen to be a part of your exchange group. It was fun to see my blocks in your quilt. Another job well done my friend. I love the fabric on the back!!!

  6. Lovely quilt, Pam. What fun to use such a diversity of fabrics. Like your setting also.

    Have fun at Market.

  7. Gorgeous, reminds me of my grandmother's quilt on her bed. Already old when she inherited it from her grandmother, was filled with bits of old clothes she cut up. Shame it got used as a dog's bed after!

  8. I originally saw a piece of circa 1880 on the net somewhere, but not sure where, perhaps it was bloglovin. I shared the link with my quilting group, as I am greatly attracted to small blocks, and 9 patch was the icing on the cake. This morning one of the group members posted full pic of the quilt, from Pinterest, and said" There Lynn, your heart's desire. you can work on the for the next couple of months and then bring it to show us. It's all about my obsession, and love of small blocks.
    Would love to follow your blog and see what everyone will be up to. Thanks for a beautiful quilt

  9. Great article..I am looking so forward to your blogcomment and
    I love your page on your post.. That is so pretty..

  10. Read your posts and blogs, can't buy the patterns as there is no quilt shop around that carry them. Wish there was something that I could or you could do about this.

  11. Love your quilt. Can I ask what shade of aged muslin did you use? Thanks

  12. Love Circa 1880, that is the year my dear grandmother was born! She was a needlewoman and quilt maker, the one who always won the blue ribbon at the county and state fairs. Are you going to offer Mrs. Miller's Apprentice fabric collection as a fat eighth bundle? A fat quarter is way too much fabric for me.

  13. J'aime beaucoup, je pense que la tentation est présente:-) Bonne journée

  14. Plan on joining this club but would like to know size of blocks. Thanks