Saturday, October 17, 2009

Burgoyne Surrounded

There was a tweet earlier this morning from the American History Museum about today being the anniversary of General John Burgoyne's surrender at Saratoga in 1777. The museum was tying it to a pistol or gun they had in their collection--and I think they do a wonderful job of highlighting their collections this way--but it made me think of something entirely different: a quilt pattern called Burgoyne Surrounded.

There's a wonderful history behind most traditional quilting blocks and Burgoyne Surrounded is obviously a commemoration of his surrender at Saratoga. It's a very geometric pattern, with a sort of thin, single Irish Chain pattern running through the main blocks. It's gorgeous when done in just two colors, but I've seen some very attractive ones with more color as well. I'm particularly fond of this pattern reversed--using a dark background and having the white or muslin color be the chains and blocks.

Now, when I'm in Minnesota for more than a week or so (and sometimes even then) my mother and I have often put together a quick quilt top. I love choosing the fabrics and sewing and piecing the blocks, but I have no patience (nor any skill) for the actual quilting. That's either my mother's job or the machine quilter's, depending on size, interest, etc. (As a general rule, my mother doesn't hand quilt bed-sized quilts...only the smaller throws and wall hangings. And if she's not in love with the pattern I've chosen, she'll be sending that off to the machine quilter, too. And hey, if you're going to spend hundreds of hours on something, you should like it!!)

I'm really liking two color quilts lately, the contrast allows you to really see the great patterns. Our first two color was a very basic Ohio Star. I've said for years that I wanted a nice two color quilt, but it took us forever to just get it made. Every time we'd set out to do a two color piece, we'd find some gorgeous fabric and be distracted, in the end opting for multi-colored or richly patterned quilt.

(The pre-quilted Ohio Start top, complete with stray threads)

In the past we've made lots of star patterned quilts, but I think Burgoyne Surrounded might be a good winter project. What do you think, mom? You up for a good Burgoyne Surrounded piecing marathon? Let's go two colors, too....

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