Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The "Missing" Blocks

Last December, I blogged about the Album Quilt with Lyre , c. 1850, by Mary Couchman Small of Martinsburg, Berkeley County West Virginia. There were several posts: Four Exquisite Flower Pots, Four Circular Vine Blocks, Be Still My Heart, 1,000,000 Stitches?, Whatcha-Call-Its or Whirligigs?, The Lyre, Five Symmetrical Blocks, A Bird in the Coxcomb, Scherenschnitte?, and Unusual Princes Feather Block.    

At the time, I realized there were four remaining blocks. I'd intended to blog about them, but got caught up in the holidays and didn't get around to it. Well, better late than never. Here are the missing blocks.

The first block is a heart shaped wreath with berries. It is upside-down and at an angle on the quilt, but it is certainly heart shaped. The second block is a circular vine wreath with flowers, leaves, and buds in each corner. The third is a small basket with oddly shaped leaves and flowers, including stems that end at the basket handle, and a mysterious curved sprig below the basket.

The last block is the real reason why I wanted to do this blog around the holidays. It's a Christmas cactus! Now, I've seen other patterns called Christmas Cactus, but most of those are either Coxcomb or Cactus Basket. The pattern here is undeniably a Christmas Cactus, even though it is an original interpretation of the plant.

Full view of the quilt by Mary Couchman Small
If you missed all the other posts about this quilt, I hope you'll go back and take a look. Also, much of the story about this quilt - and its sister quilt made by Couchman Small's daughter, Harriett - is in a blog called Separated at Birth: My Virtual AQSG Poster Presentation from September, 2010. Interesting story, worth the read. Enjoy!


  1. The blocks are so well done and the quilting outstanding. A beautiful piece.

  2. The third block is thistle blossoms...which have a distinctive shape.
    The quilt is quite interesting thanks for sharing all your quilt collections. It is wonderful to access the quilt world from afar!

  3. Thank you, Elaine. That's one I didn't know, but the pattern does involve very specific shapes. Will have to keep my eye out for others like it.