Some Hand Piecing

I have been sick for the past few days and I haven’t felt up to working on the trapunto on my big whole cloth quilt.  I felt like I needed to be doing some quilting today so I decided to do some hand piecing.

A few days ago I got this stack of partially finished fan blocks.

fan pieces 001

There is a lot of fabric from “feed sacks” in these.  Feed sacks are an often misunderstood item.  The earliest were mostly plain unbleached cotton, with the printing directly on the bags, that printing was very difficult to remove. Feed sacks then began to be sold in colors and  around 1925 colorful prints began to appear. Manufacturers began to paste on paper labels making it far easier to remove them. Flour, sugar, beans, rice, cornmeal and even the feed and fertilizer for the family farm were packaged in these “feed sacks”  We often think of feed sacks as depression era goods, but they were popular before and after the depression.  By the 50’s paper bags were cheaper to produce than cloth sacks, and the use began to decline.

So how can I tell some of these fabrics are feed sacks?  almost every fan segment has at least one piece that shows where the stitching was that held the bag together.

fan pieces 002

Here is a single piece segment before I piece in the missing parts.

fan pieces 008

If I trace it onto a piece pf paper I can make a pattern.

fan pieces 009

I wanted  to add an additional piece to the outside edge I added that to the drawing

fan pieces 010

and then re drew the curves so they were even.  I needed to adjust the sizes of the pieces to account for the seam allowances and then cut them out, and cut out the fabric from these pieces

fan pieces 011

then piece them together.

fan pieced

Not perfect but close.  I will make a few adjustments and try another one.  Once I get it exactly how I want it I will cut a set of templates from plastic.

And then I will need to decide how to set the finished fans.

I am thinking of doing this to make a block.

crazy fan

Set all together they would look like this.  The colors will need to be adjusted but its an Idea.

crazy fan layout

That’s enough for one day. I think it is time for me to have a nap

Happy Quilting


34 thoughts on “Some Hand Piecing

  1. Rita says:

    Glad to see you’re back to some quilting. That some help in your recovery.☺️

  2. Ann Lundie says:

    I think you are amazing Tim, even when ill you are working away at something. Your trapunto quilt is divine, it is so nice to see how it is coming along. Hope you feel better soon.

  3. Anne Kasten says:

    Thanks Tim
    this is a wonderful Post.
    I think this is such a clever way to use the parts you found.
    Hope you are feeling better!

  4. Cool to see the stitching from the original feed sacks – it would be a good idea to keep as many of those visible as possible, based on what I heard at the study center in Lincoln last year. Definitive proof that it’s a feed sack is a good thing.

    • timquilts says:

      seems like those seams are the only way to prove it…and so many times the maker cut them off or cut around them so you don’t see those holes in many of them in my collection…and of course the holes close up if it is ever washed 😦 and I always wash a quilt when I finish it…but I will always have the pictures

  5. Pam Gardner says:

    I will love this quilt! Feel better-sorry you’ve been under the weather.

  6. audrey says:

    Love how these look with the extra bits you’re adding! These are going to look wonderful!

  7. Sharon in Galesburg MI says:

    Thanks for the history lesson on feed sacks. I will be checking my feed sack pieces for the original bag seem line. I love the layout of the block and entire top. I can’t wait to see more. Feel better soon 🙂

  8. Kathleen Campbell says:

    I feel that I learn something with every post you show us. Thank you.

  9. Really neat prints. Some look sort of “modern”. Feel better soon. Glad you survived your hospital stint. Take care

  10. Mary Britton says:

    I know quilting can make you feel better and help with recovery. I hand pieced a Jinny Beyer quilt recovering from chemo and radiation therapy.
    My parents owned a restaurant in the 50s and 60s and continued to get flour for the restaurant in feed sacks into the 60s. My mom made some maternity tops for me in 1964 from them.

  11. jojo says:

    Hi Tim. I’m so glad you are feeling well enough to hand piece a little. Be kind to yourself and don’t overdo.

  12. Connie Combs says:

    Your creative eye never ceases to amaze me! Love the additions to the fan and the layout is beautiful. You are so talented and such an inspiration for us all to think outside of the norm. So glad you are feeling better!

  13. Francie says:

    Hi Tim, Glad to hear you are feeling better. I think your choice of layout for the fans is terrific…it will be another “hit”. Be well…. 😀

  14. Jan jan says:

    Good to know you are back home again and on the road to recovery…love the feed sacks … Something we don’t see very much of here in NZ….this is going to be a interesting quilt …a
    Jan Cotton NZ

    • timquilts says:

      Hi Jan….thanks….I know there are people who collect feed sacks (the full original un cut up ones) but I myself have never found one, but I know they made thousands and thousands…but I do think the cut up bits make interesting quilts 😉

  15. Connie from NC says:

    I’m never too sick to “play” with fabric too. Glad to hear you’re doing better. I do collect unopened feedsacks……… can still find them on ebay, but for a price. I do a program at guilds on feedsacks and show the quilts I’ve made from the ones I do cut up. I opened one feedsack to use and then realized how much more valuable they are still in sack form. Then I started buying partial feedsacks and quarter feedsacks and now I have drawers full of them. Love those feedsacks!

    • timquilts says:

      I haven’t looked for them on eBay….I am afraid that it would become dangerous for me to have another item to collect!!, and it really would be so tempting to cut them up and sue them!….I admire you for being able to resist!!

  16. Siobhan says:

    I have a couple of feedsacks in the original condition that I use when I do programs…just so folks can see what the quilters were using. As of yet I have resisted cutting into them! Hope you feel better soon. My husband has a similar condition

    • timquilts says:

      thanks!….It takes a lot of of me when I have an attack like that….but I feel a lot better today.

      I probably should buy a few original condition feed sacks for show and tell as well….good idea


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