Saturday, September 29, 2012

Rail Fence Star

Several quilters commented on Rail Fence Star. I found it in some patterns from Wallace's Farmer. In the early 1900s there were many publications with Farmer in the title.  These were supposed to help bring culture to rural areas. Although they published excerpts from classic literature and fictional stories, they also had a needlecraft column.  There was real purpose was to get advertising to those in rural areas.

They usually included a few quilt patterns every month...mostly traditional blocks. There weren't any directions and it was assumed that the reader already knew how to make a quilt.  The Rail Fence Star I found was just a small drawing on a partial sheet of paper. When I saw it I fell in love immediately.

I have drawn a quarter block and cutting directions for a whole block.  The block measures 24". Mine is based on a two inch square, but if you used a three inch square the block would be 30". When sewing start with the outer corner (green) and work in.  It is very simple to piece with great results.

The past several weeks I have been working on Nancy Cabot blocks. The name was a pseudonym used by the Chicago Tribune for Loretta Lightner Reising (spelling?).  This was common in the 30's. I think like the movie stars the paper wanted their columnist to have simple, easy to remember names. So far I have cataloged 980 blocks.  Some are traditional patterns and some were newly designed, but the most incredible were the applique patterns.  I have not seen quilts made of these patterns and would love to make a sampler of some of the ones I like the best. My hands and shoulder may not be up to it, but I will give it a go. I traced many of these patterns and have included a couple of pages here.

Yippee! My border fabric came for my Rail Fence quilt.  Hope to have the complete top to show soon.


  1. What a great job! does it feel like a treasure hunt everyday you are there?
    This block looks really nice and scrappy., I look forward to seeing your completed quilt.

    Happy sewing

  2. I remember the Wallace's Farmer! Grew up on a farm in MN where all good things came in the mail. I always went to look for the dress patterns first....not having the slightest interest in quilts back in those days. How times change...

  3. You sure have been having fun over there! That rail fence star is fabulous!!

  4. I love the rail fence star. Sounds like you're having fun.

  5. Thanks for the pattern, Bonnie!

  6. I absolutely LOVE that star.... fabulous!

  7. just recently came across your rail fence star and I can't wait to try it.