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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Ella Maria Deacon – It’s Time to Get Ready!


I have several quilts in my collection that I treasure and each one speaks to me in different ways. My Beyond The Cherry Trees quilt was a bit of a mystery when it came to it's provenance but I was so enamoured with the quilt I nearly hand quilted it a second time so I could see the quilting designs well enough to share them with everyone. Most people thought I was a little crazy but I thought it honored the maker to show her amazing talent in making the quilt. The 1857 Album Quilt took us on an amazing journey into the life of Laura Ackerman with the friendship quilt made for her by family and friends. The Dear Daughter quilt gave us a glimpse into another period in time with the friendship quilt made for Maxon and Sarah Dunham. What wonderful stories these quilts have to tell!

Are you familiar with this quilt?  Like me, you may have seen it on Barbara Brackman's blog.  Barbara's blogs are a treasure trove of information on antique quilts and quilting. I can't thank her enough for her support of some of my recent projects. It was at her suggestion I pondered the possibility of making this amazing quilt. As I looked closely at the blocks it grabbed hold of my heart! Imagine how much fun it will be making these blocks and all that can be learned recreating this masterpiece.

The quilt is attributed to Ella Maria Deacon. It's in the collection of the Art Institute of Chicago which is only a few short hours from my home in Grand Rapids, MI. I hope to find time to make a trip to Chicago to spend some time with the quilt but it may be a few months before I can fit that into my schedule. 

I'm still in the midst of sharing the Cheddarback quilt but I've missed working on a quilt with everyone. I'm not sure I'll be able to keep up with making the blocks but............. 


Beginning on September 15th

I'd like to make the Ella Maria Deacon quilt with all of you!

It's a big project but oh so wonderful. The blocks in this quilt are amazing - the fabrics are amazing - the sashing and setting triangles are pretty amazing too. The finished size of the quilt is about 106" square.

There's a Facebook group  you can join to share fabric choices, your blocks and help each other as we work together.  As I said, this is a BIG project with 85 blocks (some are repeats) so I've decided to present 4 blocks per month for 21 months. Some of you may want to make 1 block a week and some of you may just collect the patterns.

Important note: Because of the size of this project and all that's involved, I'm going to charge a small fee for each set of four blocks. Each set will be $2.50 for the entire month it's presented (ie. Sept 15 - Oct. 15) and after that time you can purchase the set for $5 which is the same as my retired sets for the free sew along quilt projects.  This was a very difficult decision for me and don't worry, I will still continue to offer my free sew alongs but for this quilt I decided to do things differently.  Your cost is less than $ .62 per block.  I hope you understand. 

I'll present the blocks "bingo style" with a mix of patchwork and applique, simple and more complex. There are 51 blocks I classified as applique and 34 pieced blocks. If you'd like to take a closer look at the quilt I encourage you to visit the blog of  Valerie Langue who owns  The Quilt MerchantShe blogged about her visit to the Art Institute of Chicago when the quilt was on exhibit in 2018.  She took some nice photographs of the quilt with close up pictures of some of the blocks.

I found one book where the quilt is pictured. It's Textiles from the Art Institute of Chicago which was published in 1992. It's still available in all different price ranges and I had to have a copy. The close up photograph and all it reveals about the fabrics in the quilt was worth the purchase.

I'm always asked "what are you using for your background fabric". I'm struggling a little with this one. I tried to photograph the Kona color card but trust me, the colors are not accurate. I thought I was going to use Bone but now I'm debating Oyster or Natural. Val is sending me samples of Putty and a Marcus Fabrics Centennial Solid so I'll post in the Facebook group as soon as I decide.

I'm posting the fabric requirements today. Your background fabric is probably the main decision at this point. There are lots of fabrics in the quilt and you probably have things in your stash. There are several red, green, yellow, double pinks and blues used in the quilt. I'm going to keep my eyes open for the perfect sashing stripe and a green for my setting triangles. I hope everyone will share with the group if they find the "perfect" fabric for sashing and setting. 


Ella Maria Deacon Quilt - Fabric Requirements



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Cheddarback Block of the Month – Month 7


It's the Labor Day holiday weekend here in the United States. It signals the end of summer which is something I can hardly believe. I feel like summer started late, was cold for a couple of months, then we had about 6 warm weeks and boom..................it's almost over.  I'm going to try not to think about the summertime blues I feel creeping in and focus on this month's blocks. If you're spending the weekend at home I hope you'll be able to work on them. We're jumping to the top of the middle row this month ..................

Block 31

This is a pretty star block featuring a pretty black print. The pink flannel plaid looks well worn and there are seams showing in some of the tan background fabric so I think this was truly a scrap basket block from worn clothing.

Block 32

I think this is the sweetest little block. I'd love to have yards and yards of the pink print! I think the blue floral that was fussy cut for the flowers in the basket was likely much brighter when the block was made. There's a seam going through the fussy cut piece so maybe this was a summer blouse of dress. I can't wait to see what fabrics everyone finds for the fussy cutting in their basket!


Block 33

You're going to have plenty of practice making half square triangles! This is one bodacious tree with it's pretty black print and textured background fabric. I love it and would be glad I only had to make one of these.

It might look like you're going to be short two blocks this month but that's because it's an alphabet month. This month's set of small blocks included the letters H and D.

There are more letters coming up later in the quilt.  They're all used within the small blocks. Each letter is a little different in style and three of them have a border around the block. I decided to go with just one style but you can do anything you want in your quilt. You might not want alphabet letters at all and can substitute other 5" blocks in their place. For those of you wanting to include the letters..........

I'm serving up some alphabet soup with the Cheddarback Alphabet. This is an optional pattern you can purchase. 



Each letter is a 3" foundation paper pieced block surrounded by a border. If you look at the quilt you can see where the five letter blocks are located compare the different in styles. I selected the style of the letter "P" for all of the Cheddarback Alphabet blocks. It looks like the letters from The Ladies Art Company who started offering quilt patterns in 1899. The time period seemed perfect for this quilt. The pattern is $5.00 for foundation paper piecing patterns for the entire alphabet in the 3" size needed for the quilt. You can purchase it on the regular Cheddarback page in the store - HERE 

I think that's it for today - have fun and post your pictures in the Facebook Group !



Cheddarback - Month 7 Patterns - CLICK HERE



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