Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Block Holders Vintage and New

I shared with Hilda, (Every Stitch) I had a few block holders.  She suggested I share mine here.

The first one, I purchased from Hoopla (Here)
It is a super little travel set I highly recommend.

I used it when I was making Froncie's Calico Garden quilt many years ago.  I was traveling and it is a perfect take along.

It is small, at 7" square - perfect for a purse.

Many years ago my sit and sew group discussed larger block rolls. We thought someone taught a class in Houston around 1980?  Email me if you know I will update this post.

We challenged ourselves to go home and make a block roll and bring it the following month.

This is mine with obnoxious  the old ribbon ties on it.  When I got it out for this blog post, even Velma thought the ribbons were cat toys a bit much.

So I changed the ribbons out, and now I like it better.
The core (tube) is PVC pipe cut to length.  I cut mine to fit in my carry on roller bag - perfect for travel.  I chose a 2" diameter so it doesn't roll the blocks inside too tightly.

I covered the end of the tube with matching fabric.
You could use a mailing or blue print tube with a cap at the end.  Having access to the end of the tube provides additional storage.

I glued my fabric to the tube.  The raw edges were covered up by the quilted mat.

This photo shows the finished covered end.
Since I made it years ago I don't have WIP photos.

Flannel Cat Nap Block Holder

The inside of the holder is neutral flannel.
It is like making a small whole cloth quilt.
Measure block size, in my example 22"
   Add the circumference of the tube, in my example 7.5"
My finished and bound rectangle was 29.5"  I included the ribbon in the binding process, about 5" from the ends.
For quilting designs - I used stencils I already had and practiced some FMQ - remember, this project is about 12 years old. (?) 

When the tube ends are finished to your liking, and your 'mat' is finished, roll the mat around the tube/pipe.

Hand stitch the short edge of the binding to the inside flannel.

Variations from our group:  Pony tail holders for closures, shoulder strap, storage pockets along tube length and 'pages' inside the roll.
It was a fun project with lots of options to customize.

This is a vintage block holder I purchased.  I believe it was made as a teaching aid.

There are over 40 muslin pages.
Each page has at least one block basted to the page.
Hand inked on each page is 'their' name for each block.  In some cases multiple names are noted.

Most of the blocks are hand sewn and the newest fabric is circa 1890.  Most of the blocks are machine stitched to the muslin page.

Was the maker a quilt teacher?  Who and where did they teach?
A collector organizing research?  A quilter?
It is a nice stroll through some quilt history.  The maker added no dates, just block names.

Each page has a selvage edge folded over at the top - through that double layer a pair of brass rivets were added.

A pair of loose leaf bundle rings hold the pages together like a flip book.

A lot of effort - I think the block holder was designed to be durable and easy to add pages.

Do you have block holders?
     For storage?
     For  documenting spare/test blocks?
     For travel?

Have a great week!

Other Block Holders
Book:  Baltimore Elegance Elly Sienkiewicz
Embroidered and Hand Quilted HERE
Three Ring Binders w Page Savers HERE
Hilda's Project HERE
Happy to add more - let me know!


  1. Thanks for sharing the block holders and your treasure from the 1890s. What a find!

  2. Thanks Dawn - what an interesting collection! I especially like your roll (and the new ribbons lol) - and what a good idea to use a mailing tube and the centre can be more storage! All in all it is more secure than my book for travelling.

  3. Very interesting--how lucky were you to find the vintage block holder?!? Thanks for sharing!

  4. I've never seen anything like your block holder, or the vintage one. They each intrigue me. Yours looks very well made.
    What a find that vintage one is.

  5. Had to have a laugh at the ribbon descriptions but love the vintage block holder. Maybe I should sew some of my unused blocks into mine. At least the blocks wouldn't continue to be another UFO.

  6. I like the vintage blocks in the holder. Quite a find. I have a block holder that was given to me but not as nice as the one you made. I don't use it though I thought I would. Would be nice to have a few of them for the various applique projects I work on alternately.

  7. Very handy dandy blockholders! And the vintage one, how wonderful with all those blocks inside, so special, never seen anything like it!

  8. I really should make myself a blockholder too, but all the quilting always comes in between... I really like the one you show here, made as such a handy roll, with storage inside. But the loveliest one is the vintage blockholder, as it has such a special shape, like a little book!

  9. LOL I didn't know there was such a thing / these are wonderful! Beats the old shoeboxes and tupperware containers by a long shot :)

  10. Oh how wonderful! I just throw a washcloth around a paper towel roll, but now I am going to make a "festive/pretty" one! Thanks for sharing. And, I love the vintage one. What a treasure. I have had several student sewing sample books over the years, but never one devoted simply to quilts. I love it.

  11. Very interesting post Dawn. I don’t have a single block holder. I really should make me some instead of just stacking my blocks in plastic containers.

  12. An interesting post! That vintage block holder is fascinating. What fun it must be to flip through and look at all the blocks and fabrics. Your block roll is lovely with its new ribbons :0)

  13. I don't have a block holder but some of my quilting friends do. Since our Bee is alway at my house I do not really need one I guess although it mind be handy while traveling. I love your vintage block holder with the old blocks!

  14. I don't have any block holders, but I'm sure glad to see that pretty kitty! Velma is looking good!

  15. I love the idea of block holders! What a fabulous idea!

  16. Thanks so much for this post. Sometimes I struggle with a process and it never seems to occur to me there are tools to be made to solve the problem.....duh! This is a wake up call.


Thanks for your comments!