Wheel of Fortune!
Long before it was the name of a game show, Wheel of Fortune was the name of a popular quilt block. Barbara Brackman’s Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns illustrates fifteen different variations of Wheel of Fortune. “Fortune” blocks are not to be confused with Wheel, Wheel of Chance, Wheel of Life, Wheel of Luck, Wheel of Mystery, or Wheel of Time blocks.
Some of the blocks are so abstract it is difficult to visualize the wheel, others are plainly wheels. Wheel blocks are attributed to Woman’s World-1928, Marie Webster, Ruth Finley (Old Patchworks Quilts and the Women Who Made Them) and Ruby Short McKim (101 Patchwork Patterns). All three women are Quilter’s Hall of Fame inductees.
Christmas time 2008 I stop Danielle as she passes by a Born Again Quilt Open House. I asked her if she has an interest in quilts. It turns out she not only shares my passion for quilts, she hand-quilts them too. Danielle goes home with a vintage quilt top/batting/back already basted together to quilt.
Fast-forward to International Left-Handers Day 2009. Danielle brings her mother Joyce to meet me and to ogle the orphan tops. Joyce leaves with a beautiful top of blue/yellow eight-pointed star blocks.
Christmas 2010 Joyce is back and brings a friend. This time it’s a stack of Wheel of Fortune blocks that catches her eye. Now not three months later, they shine in a beautiful quilt. The hand-stitching is small and straight.In keeping with the wheel theme the borders are swagged-much more difficult and time consuming than the simple straight edge. The overall cross-hatching will insure this quilt will endure for generations. Joyce’s descendents will know the history of the quilt thanks to her foresight to pen information onto the back of it. I’m in awe that she finished it so quickly until Danielle informs me her mother is now happily retired!
Joyce loves to examine the hand-stitching on quilts. “To me hand-work makes the entire quilt more distinct and is a reflection on the quilter.”
So remember Wheel Watchers-long before Vanna picked up her knitting needles, other needles were busy creating Wheel of Fortune quilts.
Lois is the owner of Born Again Quilts restoration studio. She sells vintage quilts through her virtual store at www.etsy.com/people/BornAgainQuilts?ref=si_pr
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