Baltimore Album redux

I must be channeling Kathie. Like her, the red and green quilts have been whispering in my ear lately. I’ve been pouring over my books on red, green and applique quilts and they are so inspiring.

I used to scorn applique both because I had failed in several attempts to master it and the examples I’d seen were not impressive. Beginner applique patterns tend to be rather simple and crude. That all changed when I went to a quilt show presented by the Baltimore Applique Society in 1996 called “Quilts and Cuisine.” I have to admit, at the time it was the cuisine part that drew me to the show. But once I got there and saw both vintage Baltimore Album quilts and new creations from BAS members I forgot all about the food (although the lemon bars were quite tasty). I left determined to learn to applique (well!) and to make one of those quilts. In 2000, I signed up for Mimi Dietrich’s year long Baltimore Album class at Seminole Sampler in Catonsville, MD.

Mimi was a great teacher and we learned all different methods of applique. Those of you who have tried it know that it is not a one-method-fits-all art form. Once I found the method that works for me (it’s a toss-up between back basting and freezer paper underneath) I knew I could tackle any block.

But, once I gained applique confidence, I developed doubts about my colors and block choices. Paper cuts were easy, but I have a roving eye and the one fabric blocks got boring. I did not finish my BAQ for the class and just have blocks that don’t thrill me anymore.

I found I really was liking the two color red/green blocks so I thought I would go with that combination. Unfortunately, I only got as far as this one crossed laurel leaves block. One day I’d like to make a whole quilt of these (as pictured in one of the books above). I have plenty of background but these two red and green fabrics are long gone.

Then the class moved onto the fancier blocks and I decided that THAT was what I really wanted for my quilt. More pieces, more fabrics, more colors. But, my white roses kind of disappeared into the background.

That whole BAQ attempt has been scrapped. I found a new background; something that looks “old” but will really show off all different fabrics and colors.

And I’ve found some exciting new fabrics. The BAS just published a brand new pattern called Lady of Victory that is taken directly from a BAQ owned by Mary Koval. Mary’s latest line of fabrics by Windham is also taken directly from that antique quilt. Having seen it in “real life” I can attest that the colors in the antique quilt really are that vibrant. There are even more fabrics than those I picture below so this single line is a great start to creating a colorfully satisfying BAQ. I plan on combining favorite blocks from many different album quilts.

The spice of life is planning new quilt projects but it’s fun to make progress on other WIP’s. My Ohio Stars are together and I am deciding between adding a border or leaving it off. Here is the top on an old quilt just to get a little idea of what it would look like with a wide, plain quilted border.

And here it is up against the edge of a quilt bound in indigo (right side and bottom) to get an idea of what it looks like without the border. I think I like it this way best. The result I am trying to achieve is something that looks like an old utilitarian cradle quilt.

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  1. I have collected red and green fabrics for my Dear Jane quilt. I must get back to it. But your post is inspiring me to pull out my copy of lavish legacies and look at it again. Just what I need – another big project!

  2. I found your post very interesting. How you went from one fabric blocks to more intricate. And the progression on your fabric choices. I like the fabrics you have recently selected.

  3. It's interesting how we grow and evolve in our quilting journey. I too have come to love applique after years of avoiding it due to a frustrating experience early on in my quiltmaking. I don't think I'm brave enough to take on a BA quilt just yet though! Maybe a four patch red and green might be a good start.

    I like the narrow blue border, at first glance I thought it was an antique you were comparing the first picture to!! Cheers,Rowena

  4. What is it about those red and green quilts that tug at our heart strings so?
    Your blocks are wonderful!
    I have 8 tucked away. The fabrics that are available now are so much better..I can't bring myself to go back and make more of the boring ones I started.
    Keep going..your applique looks beautiful!

    I love the little quilt too. Two color quilts are my other weakness. 😉

  5. Your applique quilt is going to look fantastic! Those fabrics are gorgeous and I hope you enjoy working on the applique as much as I do.

    I definately like the latter option with the blue stars.

  6. Isn't it amazing how much the Baltimore style has "come back". I too have been "pouring over" my books on this topic and recently took a class with Elly Sienkiewicz which was a wonderful inspiration and created so many avenues fo rmy applique that I haven't dared to venture down yet. I have made several posts about this, which you are welcome to stop and and read. Love your blocks and the blue and white stars a delighful! Great work!

  7. Nice color assortment of fabrics for you BA quilt!! The colors are so rich and should look great together! It was fun seeing your orphan blocks…even if you don't continue on those project journeys, I hope you find something to do with yur beautifully made blocks! The cradle quilt is pretty with the dark binding, either with or without a white border…just Yummy!

    In stitches,
    Teresa :o)

  8. Great post! Don't you love the 'A Flowering of Quilts' book? I really like the paper cut blocks – they'd make a spanking small quilt! Love the indigo stars – either finishing option would be smashing. If you opt for the wide plain border, you'd have lots of room for quilting. I think 'no border' would look great with a binding that pops – maybe a cheddar print! Thanks for a great post!

  9. What a great story to read, how you got started in applique. I have a BA that's been in progress for many years. One day but I wish those fabrics were around back then. I do love the Indigo and white quilt, it's gorgeous and I love the idea of a pink binding.

  10. Your applique blocks are beautiful!
    I'm too am a huge fan of Red & Green quilts. I may have to purchase that Lady of Victory pattern. (thanks for sharing the info on it)
    Also enjoyed seeing all of Mary's new fabrics layed out with it here.

    wishing you great success in finishing your Ohio Star quilt. It looks terrific!

  11. Beautiful Ohio stars! (I'm so starstruck!!) If you're after a utilitarian look, I agree your second layout is right on the money, butted up to the binding. The double pink binding idea is interesting…finding the RIGHT pink is always a challenge.
    Red and green quilts are most seductive, aren't they? A design has been burbling away in my sub-concious too, combining Mary Manakee and a multitude of other patterns collected over the years. My dilemma is: stick to 2 fabrics (could be boring)or go for the wider fabric palette (could look like the dogs breakfast)!
    Look forward to seeing your progress.

  12. Isn't it interesting how we are all so similar, I too have been pondering a BA quilt for years and love the red/green quilts.I am not sure why I have not started one, I really need too.


  13. What a great post! I liked seeing all your BA blocks and reading about your BA journey. That line of fabrics looks wonderful – I love the brightness of it.
    Your stars are marvelous pieced together – I like them with the dark blue binding best I think.
    I've been spending a lot of time with my red and green applique quilt lately – snuggled underneath as I quilt it. The beautiful applique quilts from the past are SO inspirational!!

  14. What a fabulous new adventure you are starting. I just finished a red/green applique and now it's in the pile to be hand quilted. It think it will be second because I really want to finish this one. Love the 2 color with the binding, nice choice.

  15. Your applique is beautiful. I too love to applique, I would much rather do that than piece at the machine! I just ordered the Baltimore Elegance book, and can't wait to give it a try!! Happy Appliquing:)

  16. ok we are going to encourage each other thru this BA phase we are both in!!!! LOL
    ah yes that BAS quit reproduction of Mary Koval's quilt is on the top of my list too
    today I am playing with the crossed laurel leaf block…oh I like it a lot with the red in the center…
    great stars, oooohhh so nice.

  17. I like the tiny blue binding look, or I would agree with Ann that pink would be fun too!

    OK, My fall project is not a BAQ, but it is red and green!! There must be something in the air!! LOL I love the pattern you chose.

  18. The blue and white OH stars are great. Here's a thought for the no-border choice–double pink binding. Yes, I mean it. I have a blue and white antique crib quilt and it has pink binding. It is great.

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