“It’s a nutcracker. To crack your nuts.”

My daughter has recently returned home to live to save on costs while she attends graduate school.  Her old room had become my quilt room and I now must turn it back over, thus necessitating a reduction in the quilt collection since there isn’t another space large enough to house everything safely.  Today I was supposed to be working on that task but you could say I got caught up in a conversation.  Or rather, caught up with conversation prints.  I found this stack of 79 pinwheel blocks with some of the most delightful prints so I spent my work time photographing them.


This is my favorite because it immediately reminded me of a scene from Downton Abbey.  If you’re a fan, you’ll remember when Isobel gave the Dowager Countess a Christmas gift.  When the Dowager asked, “What is it?”  Isobel replied, “It’s a nutcracker.  I thought you’d like it.  To crack your nuts.”  As if she needed a nutcracker for that.  I’m thinking these prints are from a little bit earlier than the Downton era.  But not much.

Horses were very popular in the prints.  I’m impressed by the detail in the guy on the left.  The other one is paler but very cool.

This is just the bottom of the horse’s foot.

More horsey motifs.  I like when fabrics are pieced to make it big enough for the template.

How about these revolvers?  Having just listened to the soundtrack of Hamilton I wondered if they were, perhaps, dueling pistols?

A screw?

A lot of the blocks had these shovels.  The fabric in these blocks is great but the sewing is, to put it nicely, “folky.”  Notice the miss on aligning the points in this one?

Another very detailed motif.  You can even see the soulful looks in the dogs’ eyes.

I have a contemporary reproduction with these tops on it.  I guess the guns are too politically incorrect these days to reproduce.

I don’t think these blocks were ever assembled.  There is a good reason for that.  You saw the misalignment in the earlier block.  Someone seems to have tried to draw in the stitching line but the blocks vary in size by more than an inch so a top from them would be very lumpy.  Most are machine pieced but some were done by hand.  The blue is bright and cheerful, there is a variety of dots and stripes of different sizes, and just enough red to add some pizzazz.  It’s a great set of blocks.  I’m deciding whether to list what I’m downsizing on Ebay or Etsy.  Any advice?

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  1. Sell them on your blog, and make your daughter sleep on the couch!!! Just when you think it's safe to go back in your studio, the shark returns!!! Kids, gotta love them.

  2. Sell them on your blog, and make your daughter sleep on the couch!!! Just when you think it's safe to go back in your studio, the shark returns!!! Kids, gotta love them.

  3. Great conversationals! Since my husband shoots competitive skeet, I find the gun prints interesting. They come from a different time. I would try showing your items on your blog first – you are reaching a good audience!! Textiles on ebay have lost ground in recent years. Just my 2 cents.

  4. Sat hose a wonderful examples of conversation prints. They're so fun to look at and think about why those items where choosen to represented on fabric. What would we choose today…a cell phone, a computer, a Big Mac?

  5. Looks like maybe you should just list them here!
    What great conversation prints–thanks for sharing them with us.
    Hope you can find some sewing space. I know what it is like to be without a dedicated sewing space and it is challenging. I'd rather have room for a child to be with us, but how nice when you can have both. : )

  6. Taryn, what absolutely wonderful little blocks!!

    My advice would be eBay,mbut thatnis because I am most familiar with it. But I'm like Melody, I would love a chance to buy your downsizing!!

    blessings and hugs!

  7. I recognised the quote straight away:)
    Thanks for sharing these delightful conversational prints – love them all! Sad about the quilty reduction but nice to have a daughter home. Wish you were closer – I'd pop over to give you a hand 🙂

  8. I would buy them if you are going to sell them, I love the idea of all those conversation prints. and I am sorry you are losing your sewing space, I hope you have another place to go to enjoy your creativity ongoing while your daughter lives at home. it is nice to see them when they have grown their wings and been out in the world for a bit. Enjoy!

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