Tag Archives: Delectable Mountains

More Delectable Mountains

As you might remember, I carried on quite a debate with myself about making a red and white Delectable Mountains quilt. After a mildly disappointing experience with the pink and brown one (and finish photos still to come,) I decided to move on. Next up was the red and white Ohio medallion from the early 1800s. And after that I quilted the happy quilt you saw in “Unstitched.” (I’m sewing the binding down now, so you’ll get a finish photo of it soon, too.)

But I couldn’t shake the idea of making Delectable Mountains again. This time I wanted to use red and white, to enter in my guild’s special exhibit at our upcoming show. And I wanted to try it using the “modern” technique for making blocks, rather than the “traditional” method.

Though I purchased a reproduction red print earlier this year, I decided to update the quilt not just with method but also with fabrics. In my stash were a few pieces of red with similar background color and a more upbeat vibe. One has long been a favorite. It’s a Hawaiian-style print I bought at a guild auction a few years ago. There were several yards, and I’ve used it in various ways over the years. Another was a quilt shop purchase and used in other favorite quilts.

I did have one glitch as I began this project. I made the first set of Delectable Mountains blocks using Kona solid “Snow.” I started making the corner blocks from Kona solid “White,” pieces of which were in my stash from a long-ago project. I thought they were the same color, but they’re not, and that became all too obvious when the blocks were side by side. I rebuilt the corner blocks and tossed all the scraps of “White” in a pile away from my working pile. It was a little discouraging, but I bounced back. 🙂

I’m planning to add one more round of Delectable Mountains blocks, and then use the last bits of the Hawaiian print to cobble together an outer border. Depending on the width I can eke out of the print, it will finish at about 80″ square.

Better?

No one was very thrilled with my Delectable Mountains quilt top, including me. As I said the other day, it was pretty but not very interesting. In particular, others commented on the large amount of double pink, and how the corners in pink seemed large and unbalanced.

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Delectable Mountains design, most popular in the 1840s – 1870s. Color combination of double pink and brown popular during same years. Unquilted top. Approximately 61″ square.

I defended the design as traditional, and not something I was inclined to mess with. However, some DM quilts from the 1800s had stars in the corners. After consideration, that seemed like an appropriate way to break up the pink expanse, brighten the whole, and add some interest.

I built corner blocks using the variable star. The background fabric is the same as used in the center star, and the brown is the same as the one surrounding the center. It is slightly softer in appearance than the brown of the middle border and HST border.

Surgery required removing stitches that held the double pink corners in place. Then I pinned in one seam at a time and re-stitched. It was a pretty easy process as my new star corners matched the size well.

Here is the amended quilt top.

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Delectable Mountains with star corner blocks. Unquilted top. Approximately 61″ square.

I think it’s better. It is brighter, and there is more to look at. But I still don’t think it’s very interesting.

Either way, I’m done with the top now. And I don’t plan to make the design again in red and white.

Mountain Top

Well, my Delectable Mountains quilt top, in  pink and brown, is done.

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Delectable Mountains design, most popular in the 1840s – 1870s. Color combination of double pink and brown popular during same years. Unquilted top. Approximately 61″ square.

My purpose in making it was to learn how to make it, having been inspired by photos of antique quilts in similar designs. I think it is very pretty, and will be more so once quilted and edged with a brown binding.

I do not, though, think it is very interesting. My original plan was to make this version as a lesson, and then make it again in red and white. Now I’m not sure if I want to do that.

Honest opinions? If you had done it, would you have done things differently? As long as you’re not mean (and I trust you won’t be,) you won’t hurt my feelings.

Mountains Coming Into View

My Delectable Mountains quilt is coming along well. I have the “mountains” pieced for the second set. Next is trimming those half-blocks and filling outside of them with the double pink setting fabric. Then I can trim the center to size and attach the DM borders with corner blocks.

What is “double pink”? From the Quilt Index Wiki page:

Double pinks, sometimes called ‘cinnamon’ pinks, feature tiny prints in a dark, cinnamon-like pink, on a light rosy pink ground. Both of these hues have warmer undertone than bubblegum pink, which emerged as a quilt fabric, often as a solid rather than a print, in the twentieth century. Double pinks were most popular in the 1860s, ‘70s, and ‘80s, though double pinks are common in quilts through the 1920s. At the height of their popularity in the mid-nineteenth century, double pinks were often paired with madder or chocolate browns in quilts.

In the image below, the dark pink triangles on the outside edge are double pink. The center of the center block also is considered a double pink, even with its more complex pattern.

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Half blocks set in place but not sewn on yet. They need their double pink setting fabric first, as well as corner blocks.

The color combination, as it says above, was most popular in the mid-1800s. Most of the images of Delectable Mountains medallion quilts in the International Quilt Study Center & Museum index are from before 1850. So the colors are slightly anachronistic, but I think they still suit.

Delectable Mountains, Old School

If you love medallion quilts and you love triangles, you just about have to love Delectable Mountains medallion quilts.

screen-shot-2017-01-29-at-3-55-30-pmA couple of weeks ago I was paging through medallion quilts at the International Quilt Study Center & Museum. You can search the collections using a number of different variables, including keywords, primary pattern, quiltmaker, origin, and more. At the time I used the keyword “medallion” and found 181 examples. Within that set there are a number of glorious DM medallions.

You can also use “Delectable Mountains” or “Delectable Mountains variation” to look specifically at these. Some are medallions and some are block or row quilts. I’d love to show you images here. However the legal permissions information is confusing and I choose not to risk it. You can find them this way:

I was inspired by the simplicity and high contrast of the design, and decided to make it as a red and white quilt for my guild’s June show.

There are two basic ways to create a Delectable Mountains block. One is the way I made my DM quilt last year. It uses large half-square triangles that are sliced into segments. Once the segments are rearranged, they created a jagged block.

Zigzag

Still Climbing Mountains. 57″ x 64″. August 2016. Made from stash. Photo by Jim Ruebush.

I thought I would use this block style to create a medallion. I thought it would be “fast” and “easy,” as the block quilt above was. However, the block is not square (in mine it finishes at 8″ x 9.5″.) The non-square block creates some math issues for the outer borders, making it neither fast nor easy.

Yesterday while I cleaned extensively in my studio, I rethought my plan. The other option for a DM block is very old-school, with multiple small half-square triangles to make the points. Here is one link that shows how. (I haven’t reviewed it for accuracy or readability.) And here is a picture to give you an idea of the method:

I also checked a few of my books, to see if any had a good pattern I could pull from. One does, but it’s a badly written book with a badly written pattern. In the end I decided to do what I usually do: make it up as I go along.

Because it’s an uncertain process, I chose to make it first in pinks and browns, rather than red and white. If it all goes well, I might make it again. 🙂

This project falls squarely in the set I’d call a challenge and an opportunity. Realizing that my first plan wasn’t workable as considered created a barrier. Choosing to go old-school with construction provides the opportunity.

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Before realizing I want a bigger block…

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A center block using a few old favorites, and new brown fabric. The block is an odd size, finishing at about 11.5″.

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Now you can see some mountains. The next border will have more of them.

So far this actually has been easy. The center block is a variable star. It is set on point with brown. Then the brown is bordered by a row of brown half-square triangles, creating the mountains. Finally, the whole center (everything made so far) was put on point again. See my post about putting blocks on point.

Next comes a border of brown mountains with double pink background. This is the one with a little trouble on the math side. But I’m confident I’ll find a way to make it work.