One problem I had with the previous post was that my Blockbase disk stopped working and I had to get a replacement disk before I could show you the templates or the detailed layout of the block.
I just received the disk, installed Blockbase and immediately looked up this block. Snowball Wreath was there in all its crazy glory.I am so impressed that Laura Wheeler would have the guts to make a block with such crazy templates. Talk about no fear!
They had used colors in the sample that weren’t to my taste, so I recolored the piece to look like the block I made way back when.
I saw the block colored, but I also looked at it for a long time in the drawing format. Can you believe those pieces? I am reminded why we don’t see very many quilts with this pattern. Of course, I haven’t see every quilt in the universe, so they could be out there waiting for the perfect time to show themselves so I have another blog post. 😉
Finally, you can see from the second block I colored that there are different ways to get different looks out of the block. I don’t think the second one looks quite as interesting, but it would definitely work if you wanted to fussy cut some fabric then put it in he middle.
Longtime readers may remember my post about the Snowball Wreath block, a block originally published in the Kansas City Star in the 1930s as a Laura Wheeler design. It is number 1515 in Barbara Brackman’s Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns with the name “Snowball Wreath.”
This came up again when Kelly found a newspaper clipping of the block on eBay and let me know about it. Since the block came up again, I did a Google search to see if any quilts had come up with this pattern. Lo and behold, Barbara Brackman had done a post on the block in 2009. I don’t read her blog regularly, though I should, and missed this post.
She talked about photos she had received of a quilt from Alabama. She recognized the block immediately as the Snowball Wreath. If you go to her blog, you can see that the quilt is actually made from blocks of that pattern!
It doesn’t look like the maker actually pieced the quilt from the pattern. It is hard to tell from a photo, but I think the ‘wreath’ part of the block was appliqued on to muslin.
Brackman gives information on getting the pattern and asks people to write in if they try the block or know of a quilt made up in the pattern.
The 2009 post is followed up with a January 2010 post with results of the query. In the post she talks about Vivian making the block and the changes she made to the pattern to make it pieceable.
I also found a reference to it in the Quilt Index. You can see a lot of the old newspaper patterns in the Quilt Index as well as examples of quilts and blocks. It is a worthy cause to which to donate.
ScrapHappy, who writes the soscrappy blog also tried the Snowball Wreath pattern and posted about it on her blog. she made it in miniature using paper piecing. This appears to be from some kind of BOM or group project from a shop called Sentimental Stitches. I came across a PDF with a pattern in my Google travels.
Flourishing Palms made a version of the block in 2011, though it is slightly different than the original. She calls the fabrics ugly, though I don’t think they are ugly. Again, to each his own. The interesting thing is that she wasn’t aware of my post or Barbara Brackman’s. She just flipped to it in Barbara Brackman’s Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns book. Odd and interesting!
Helen, from the Being, Nothingness and 1000 Quilt Blocks blog, wrote in another blog post, also from 2011, the block is shown with a bunch of others after a discussion of Existentialism! the goal of this blog was to create 1,000 quilt blocks and read 600 pages of Satre in one year. I don’t think she made her deadline, but she is still plugging away on both. It is interesting to read the Satre bits and then look at quilt blocks. The first post of the blog describes the project a bit and, on the Gallery page, she writes “… in my quest to complete all the quilt blocks in Maggi McCormick Gordon’s 1000 Great Quilt Blocks.” I want to do this kind of project some time. The Tula Pink City Sampler could be a warm-up for a larger project. Barbara Brackman’s book or Jinny Beyer’s book? Either would be a retirement project.
I have to say that this block still fascinates me and I might try another version.
Per a conversation on the AQSG list, I am posting a couple of photos of an old Laura Wheeler block called Snowball Wreath.
Notice the crazy shapes the newspaper printed for piecing (lower right). Could anyone actually make a quilt from those kinds of pieces? I would really love to see a 1930s or 1940s (or whenever this pattern was printed) quilt from this pattern.This is my attempt. I appliqued the circles on after piecing them.
I issued an informal challenge on a list and Julie made the one above.
The challenge required people to draft their own templates and I found that to be quite a challenge, because 1) I only had the information on the newspaper clipping image. I don’t have the actual newspaper; 2) the block is not made from a grid that I could figure out; and 3) the circles did not exactly line up.
It was a fun and challenging puzzle, one in which I am still interested.