I needed more novelty blocks for my sampler quilt to give it more visual appeal. I actually didn’t want to do any applique blocks in the series because I feel that technique needs to be taught in several lessons. So that will make a future diary series for our group at a later time. This is a pieced block of stylized flowers that was made in the 19th century and has stayed popular through the 1930’s. It is still a pattern that is well loved even today. Many like to make this pattern as a red and green quilt that can be used for Christmas.
In Barbara Brackman’s book,”America’s Printed Fabrics 1770-1890,” she features a pattern call Cactus Rose. She also shows the original block in turkey red and green fabrics from the 1840-1860 time period. Carolina Lilly is very similar to this pieced flower. You can see this quilt on the back cover of her book pictured on this blog with a great book review of “America’s Printed Fabrics 1770-1890.”
In Brackman’s Civil War Quilts, there is some history on the Carolina Lilly block. There is a nice picture of that block from that period farther down the page.
The National Museum of Natural History has a wonderful picture of a quilt from 1840-1860 of a Carolina Lilly quilt. If you click on the picture you will get a full page picture. You can see the turkey red fabric now has white holes in it. The black dyes then contained metals that oxidized and ate through the cotton. I have chosen some turkey red fabrics that have been reproduced from that period for my quilt block
Pinterest also has a wonderful picture of a 1870’s quilt.
I did find the Carolina Lilly pattern that could be down loaded for free in a PDF file. Make sure you use the 12 inch finished block. I also used the 13 inch pattern for my half squares then squared them up as I went along. I found that I needed the extra because they were hard to set in with y seams. You have a choice of the two pattern sizes.
Pattern for Carolina Lilly
PDF for 12 inch finished block.
You can still use your rotary cutter by laying the pattern pieces under the plastic ruler. I also scissored cut some of mine because I was using small scraps.
You start with laying out your lilly and sewing together the petals. Check closely your 1/4 inch seam allowance as you sew. Even with careful checking the biases will hard to make each flower the size you want them to be. I used the 12 in pattern for these pieces in this pictures.
The next step is the most challenging of this pattern. You have to set in the background pieces. That is done with a Y seam. In my last diary there was a great video showing how to sew hexagons with Y seams. I used this same technique with these.
Setting in those background pieces took the longest time to do. After that everything went together at a normal sewing speed. I did find that later I had to replace a couple of them with a larger piece to square up right. Those did go in easier then the first ones. The next step was to sew the two large background half squares.
Now that is done, it is time to applique the stems to the center background block. I pin them down as I folded the edges under. Actually that was fun after doing those Y seams and was a nice break. I was able to press them with an iron so the edges stayed under while sewing. I used a tiny little blanket stitch on my sewing machine and green thread that matched. I have speed setting on my machine so I slowed it down at first until I had a feel for it. I am very pleased as to how it turned out. You can’t see the stitching. It certainly made me feel better after those crappy Y seams.
The two other lilies was sewed to the center block to complete row two. I used my rotary cutter to square up the bottom of the first row and the top of the second row before I sewed them together. They went together nicely on the first try. The basket half square also went on with out to much trouble. The basket weave print is also a reproduction of a fabric from the mid 19th century.
The block squared up to 10 1/2 inches at this point. I think the pattern wanted it to be smaller. That really isn’t a problem because the last few pieces can be squared down.
I laid the next pieces out and thought about how I would make this fit into a 12 1/2 inch unfinished block. The basket fabric is very busy so looking at it I knew no one would notice the bottom point cut off when I sewed the two bottom pieces to the basket.
The bottom half square was sewed on cutting the bottom of the point off the basket. It looks nice and no one will ever know that was not the way the pattern went. It squared up to the size I wanted.
I am real pleased with it. The colors actually looks better then in the pictures. I was doing this at night and the pictures doesn’t show how well all the shirting and various red and greens work together. I am keeping with the scrappy theme of the quilt.
I will only have 2 more blocks to do for the next diary. I will be searching for something interesting to add to this quilt to finish it off. Then I will show you how I sometimes quilt my quilts.