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Seminole Patchwork

Bluework, Borders, Quilting, Seminole Patchwork, Tips

Halfway There…well almost!

Things are finally coming together.  I’ve finished up two and a half of the projects I took with me last weekend on the Watson quilting retreat.  Who was I kidding? – only myself –  There was no way I could finish 5 projects in one weekend – but I did try.

The top is complete for the baby quilt.  It’s also been quilted and bound.  (Good thing too.)  I was just told that she is having a baby shower November 6.  I didn’t know that one was planned this early.  For once I’m ahead of the game.

Quilt for Riley Diane

It was an ‘on and ‘off’ rainy day on Sunday, so I took advantage of forced time indoors and finished the quilt shams for my son.  The side borders are Seminole Patchwork blocks that are also border his quit.

King Size Pillow Shams

Lastly, I’ve embroidered three bluework blocks and have started on the fourth for my Linda Hunter quilt.  The pieced blocks are all finished.  I’d like to finish this top by the end of November.

Pieced and embroidered blocks

The other two projects, will probably go with me on our winter trip to Texas.  I really need to get started on some Christmas presents.   I’m hoping I have enough time to finish two twin size quilts.  The sticky part will probably be finding someone to quilt them at this late date.  I may have to try and quilt them myself – but I normally don’t like to quilt more than a lap size.  – Am I up for the challenge?

Tip of the Day:  When cutting borders for wall quilts I always cut the side borders with the fabric’s lengthwise grain to prevent wavy borders.  The will also lie flatter against the wall.  On a bed quilts, that doesn’t seem to be a problem.

There is always time to quilt!
Pieced Borders, Quilt Borders, Quilting with Friends, Seminole Patchwork

Round Robin

Each year in January or February we tap into the creativity of some guild members for our program.  On Tuesday, four of us demonstrated techniques we enjoy:  Small Drawstring Bag, Crewel Embroidery, Stamp Carving – and I was pleased to be asked to demonstrate Seminole Patchwork.

I became interested in piecing by the Seminole when my husband and I were on a winter vacation in Florida last year.  The creativity of the Seminole continues to amaze me.

The Indian Removal Policy in the 1800’s  forced the relocation of East Coast Indian Tribes to Oklahoma.  The Seminole took refuge in the Everglades.   Only able to make the trip to the trading post once a year, every bolt of fabric  traded for animal skins and furs was extremely precious.  They were sure to make use of every scrap of fabric on the bolt and Seminole Patchwork was born!

Coming Back from Trading Post

In the 1900’s hand-cranked sewing machines became popular and in the 1920’s designs were completed by strip piecing.  Extremely popular designs were:

  • Blocks or Bars of alternating colors
  • Sawtooth Designs

I can imagine that the machines were one of their most prized possessions.

Traditional dress incorporated these horizontal bands of both simple and intricate patchwork.  The more elaborate and complex designs were symbolic of:

  • Seminole clans
    • Bear, Snake, Panther, Toad, Bird, Deer, Wind, Otter
  • Refection of daily life
    • lightning striking across the sky
    • crosses reflecting Christian teachings
    • fires racing through swamp
    • spools holding colored threads that were used for the patchwork

Not only did they use patchwork in clothing for themselves,

Typical Seminole Clothing

but also used it to make doll clothes.

Seminole Doll with Patchwork Bands

It certainly was a fun experience for me.  I hoping that everyone came away with an appreciation of the craft.  It’s a great way to not only add borders to a quilt but some interest as well.

There is always time to quilt!
Borders, Family, Machine Piecing, Patchwork, Pieced Borders, Quilt Borders, Quilt Labels, Seminole Patchwork

Christmas in North Carolina

We arrived here on Sunday night and decided that not to wait until New Year’s eve to open our presents.


My son was very surprised and pleased with his Adirondack quilt.  I was happy to see it on his bed.  018

A king size quilt just does not show on a queen size bed.

003The original pattern was for a double bed and was square.  I enlarged it to make it a king size rectangle by adding pieced and Seminole patchwork borders along with plain borders.

I named the quilt Adirondack Dreaming and printed the label with one of Tom’s pictures of the Adirondacks.  I found the perfect sentiment to use for the label:

005Adirondack Dreaming

You can kiss your family and friends good-bye and put miles between you, but at the same time you carry them with you in your heart, your mind…because you do not just live in a world but a world lives in you.”

Frederick Buechner, Telling the Truth

It seemed appropriate for someone who enjoyed the Adirondacks so much when he lived in upstate New York.

Making the quilt lie flat, Pieced Borders, Quilt Borders, Seminole Patchwork

Border Piecing

Well it’s finally done! The borders have been added.  I now have a queen-size quilt.  The original pattern was for a double bed.  I decided to combine pieced and solid borders to add a bit of interest.  Once again I used Seminole piecing for one of the borders. 001 Easy to piece but the bias edges can cause a problem.  I solved this by using tear away stabilizer.  Make a sandwich of the top border, Seminole border and stabilizer.  Sew with the stabilizer on the bottom.  No stretching and the stabilizer easily tear’s away.

There is always time to quilt!
Pieced Borders, Seminole Patchwork

Design Element

Needing to make my latest bed quilt larger I’ve added some extra borders and decided to make pieced rather than solid borders. Naturally Seminole Patchwork is one of these  extra borders.

I added a half 4-block at either end of the side strips to make them the correct length. And after attaching the top border I didn’t like the finished look.

Seminole Patchwork (half 4-patch)

So I had to come up with a better idea and I’ve settled on a single block at either end of the strip.

Seminole Patchwork (Single 4-block)

– Thus a design element was born! (At least that what Ive deceided to call it when Pland ‘A’ doesnt work and I have to come up with a Plan ‘B’).

There is always time to quilt!