I inherited thirty of these blocks from my mother-in-law. I really don't know whether she made them herself, or whether she also inherited them from another quilter at her retirement home. They've been stored in my closet for 25 years, because, to put it in the nicest terms, they were never my taste. But now that I've enjoyed creating settings for my orphan blocks, I thought I'd give these a try. Can I make something I like out of something I'm not crazy about?
The block is apparently called Sunflower, but the multicolored fabric selection has created something that looks more like a pinwheel. The fabrics are 1970's calicos, I think. I find I like both the block and the fabric more than I did years ago: there is more movement in the block than I used to think, and while the fabric patterns look very dated, the colors don't. That bright aqua is very trendy, for example.
I also have quite a bit of respect for the maker. The design was pieced and then hand appliqued to the muslin. Interestingly, she used dark brown thread. It seems like an odd choice, but it works. There are no stitches visible at all on the right side.
The blocks are currently about 13 1/2 inches, but I will trim them to finish at 12 inches. It's good that there is a bit of extra, because the placement of the pieces is not entirely even.
My goal for this project will be to keep the vintage charm, and yet give it a slightly up-dated look. I can emphasize any color I choose: there's lots of red, but the yellow and the aqua pop as accents. I'm thinking about an alternate block design, which will make the quilt larger than the twin size it would be with simple sashes.
I do have some of the original fabric which I can incorporate, but I'm not too sure about that. Too much, probably. There's also lots of muslin intended for borders; that is a definite no!
One question: Should I cut away the muslin from behind the applique? If I'm going to do that, I should do it before squaring the block. What do you think?