Ella Maria Deacon Quilt – Month 1



Are you ready to get those needle flying? I know I am! My fingers have been itching to get started but I'm still picking out fabrics. Taking on a quilt with 85 blocks is a big deal so I commend you for joining in on this project. It'll be fantastic when finished! I've been studying the quilt and thought I had a great plan for presenting the blocks but started to have second thoughts.

The original plan was to divide the pieced and applique blocks up so we were making some of each every month. It's not an even split with 34 pieced blocks and 51 applique blocks so I divided them up by degree of difficulty. I planned to mix the more simple with more complex so at least I'd have a sense of accomplishment every month and not become overwhelmed but.................What if someone got bored with the project only part of the way through. What if I didn't get all of my blocks made, what would I want to do?  I decided to ask the Facebook group

For the longest time our poll showed a nearly neck and neck tie between doing the blocks "Bingo Style" with the easy and difficult mix or in "Diagonal Rows" following the quilt. That was no help!!! I needed to start writing instructions!!! As of today, the bingo style is in the lead with a 55 to 46 margin over diagonal rows.  Well quilters, I've made an executive decision to combine both of these options! Your comments really brought home solid reasons for both methods so here's the plan -

We'll do 4 blocks each month for 21 months

They will be in diagonal rows from either the top left corner or bottom right corner of the quilt. 

As the rows get longer, I'll select "bingo style" from the rows. You won't know if we're going to be at the top or bottom, left or right or somewhere in between. 

If I spot a favorite block I think I just have to work on it'll show up out of the blue.

Here's how the Art Institute of Chicago describes the quilt -

Friendship Quilt - 1842

Made for Ella Maria Deacon (American, 1811–1894)
United States, New Jersey, Mount Holly

Inscribed with names and verses, the eighty-five unique squares of this quilt bear signs of friendship and community. Made in an era when communication and travel required significant time and effort, the quilt may have served as a farewell gift on the eve of the recipient’s marriage and ensuing move. In one square, an M. C. Coles simply wrote Remember me. In another, Martha Buzby composed a short poem: Oft in tender recollection / Call to mind thine absent friend / Cherish for her that affection / Which I trust will never end. These clever, succinctly rendered compositions add a metaphorical layer of coziness to the quilt and allowed Deacon to keep those dear always near.

Ella Maria Deacon was born Dec 27, 1810 and died on June 30, 1894. I've spent countless hours down the genealogy rabbit hole and can't locate any solid information about Ella. I believe she was a member of Trinity Episcopal Church in Mount Holly, NJ. She died in Burlington, NJ and was buried by Perinchief Funeral Home in Mount Holly but I don't know which cemetery and cemetery searches have proven futile. I haven't been able to find any birth or marriage information either. The one census clue I had from 1870 showed Ella living in the household of William G Deacon but the presumed spouse for William is Sarah Deacon which I also believe is true.  Giving up for the moment............... so.....................

Let's jump right in with our first set of blocks. This month we're going to be in the upper left corner.

Block 1

attributed to: Samuel H Horner 1841

This block can be hand or machine pieced. Because I'm such a fan of applique I'm taking a different approach to it's construction. I'm going to cut a center square of the green fabric and applique the clamshell shaped, background pieces in each corner. I think I'll machine piece the star point and machine piece them to the center square but when it comes to the background pieces around the outside edge, I'll hand piece those to make sure I don't lose my star points.

Block 2

attributed to: Mary Jane Buzby 1841

 This one is going to be fun! I can't wait to pick out the perfect red and soft brown prints. The fabrics used are medium scale prints I wouldn't usually think of putting together but it works! You'll have this one together easily.

Block 3

attributed to: Margaret Bullock / Mount Holly

Don't pout when you

see this but put it

in a corner and oblige.

What a simple and perfectly fun block. It's like a little quilt all on it's own. The right color of green is what will make or break this block. 

Block 4

attributed to: Patience S Buzby

This block is very much like Block 2 but with the fabrics rearranged for a totally different look. I don't think this one will give you any trouble either.


I grabbed a few pieces of fabric before I left for the cottage so I could photograph them to give you an idea of what was used in this months blocks. Once I have my background figured out I'll have to do some speed stitching to catch up. At first I was disappointed there wasn't going to be an applique block in this group but have decided it's probably a good thing. We might have people who will join in late or are in the same boat I am being undecided about their fabric choices. Those of you who are ready - start stitching! 

The block set will be $2.50 from the 15th of this month until I post the next set on the 15th of October. The price will change to the retired block sets regular price of $5.

The link below takes you to the Ella Maria Deacon Quilt listing in the online store. Use the little drop down menu just below the price to select the pattern set and add it to your shopping cart. You'll need to complete the entire checkout process. You'll receive two emails - the first is your order confirmation and the second one via SendOwl will have the link to your patterns. Please save them to your computer and then open for printing. If you want a step by step tutorial you can follow the one I posted not too long ago for the Cheddarback quilt when we started using this pattern delivery system. 

I'm sure I've forgotten something so let me know if you have any questions.


Ella Maria Deacon Quilt - Month 1



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