Wednesday, October 5, 2016

"The Cottage Behind the Hill"

This block is called "The Cottage Behind the Hill."


Years ago I saw a quilt using this block in the book, Home Sweet Home: The House in American Folk Art, by Deborah Harding and Laura Fisher.
I had never appliqued but I thought the blocks positively charming.  I think part of the blocks' appeal was the change in background.  I could imagine morning light, afternoon sun, autumn skies, and winter snow.  And for goodness sake, some of the houses looked like they might slip right down their hills.  I also liked (and still like) the changes in colors of the other elements of the block:  tree/bush, grass/ground, roof, windows.  And notice there isn't a lick of green grass.  In fact, most of the elements are not realistic colors.  Would I ever want to make a quilt like this?  Well, maybe.  So I photographed just one block thinking I could enlarge it and make a pattern if I chose.

Forward to several months ago.  I was leafing through Barbara Brackman's book, Encyclopedia of Applique...
...when I came across two blocks, one called "The Cottage Behind the Hill" and the other unnamed but also with a cottage behind a hill. 
They are small drawings, perhaps less than 2" square.  They reminded me of the the quilt I saw years ago, its name completely forgotten.  The information tells me that "The Cottage Behind the Hill" is an Aunt Martha pattern published in Prize-Winning Quilts.

So my memory's not perfect.  Forward to two weeks ago.  I was browsing through Nancy Mahoney's book, Applique Quilt Revival: Updated Patterns from the '30s...
...when I saw a quilt made of little houses.  I thought I'd found the pattern for "The Cottage Behind the Hill."  I noticed, though, that the earlier quilt blocks were round and these were square but the rest of the differences in details escaped me. 

Without seeing both blocks together, I thought they were the same pattern.  While this is a cute block it doesn't have the quirky charm that "The Cottage Behind the Hill" has.

I don't know how to obtain the pattern for "The Cottage Behind the Hill" if I should ever want to make a quilt from it.  Maybe it will happen that the pattern will make itself available at about the same time I'm thinking about it again and have time and the inclination to make it.

--Nancy.
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12 comments:

  1. What sweet little cottage blocks. I don't applique, but if the pattern is not to be found, can you enlarge the image and create your own?

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    1. Oh, yes, Janet, I could make a pattern. That's why I have that one large block. I don't know the size of the original block but I guess that gives me the freedom to make it any size I want.

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  2. I saw the applique blocks and immediately thought of the work of Clarice Clift. I wonder if she was influenced by American Folk Art?

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    1. Hi, Allison. I immediately searched for Clarice Cliff and can see why the little house block reminded you of her. Looking at the other images of her are my guess is that the creator of the applique block was influenced by her, rather than the other way around. Her style seems well-developed and unified, whereas the Aunt Martha patterns seem really varied, almost as though many artists worked for her.

      Clarice Cliff is an artist I've never heard of before. I'll have to see if I can find a book about her.

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  3. I certainly hope you are able to quench your thirst for this block!

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    1. LOL. Thanks, Kevin. It's on my "probably sometime in the future" list so there's no hurry.

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  4. Houses are such a lovely motif for quilting. I like how your house behind the hill is encircled too. Something about the circle makes it more interesting. Have fun with that search.

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    1. I don't believe I've ever made a house in fabric, Jocelyn. I like them but have never made any. I haven't decided exactly what appeals to me so much in that little quilt but I like it a lot.

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  5. Those are both great patterns, and I know you can make one, because I could and I'm not nearly as talented, but wouldn't it be fun to just have the original? I do like the block - all of them in fact.

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    1. Hi, Susan --

      Yes, it would be fun to have the original. I suppose finding a pattern is the easy way out, but I don't think it would be too hard to make a one from the photograph, either. One of these days....

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  6. Good heavens, I have just been drafting a block that looks almost exactly like BB's 58.2 there! I really need to get that book. It will save me time!

    And what a charming quilt that first one is. No wonder you saved it. I think you already have everything you need to make it. :D

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    1. Hi, Monica --

      BB's 58.2 is in the book Applique Quilt Revival but it may not be the size you want.

      BB's book has page after page of ideas by category but they are small, perhaps 2", drawings.

      I'm looking forward to seeing your drawing. It's true I have everything I need for the elements of the quilt at the beginning of this post. I guess perhaps I was hoping for easy -- finding the pattern in a book....

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