Bill Volckening's Modern Roots

Bill Volckening's Modern Roots

Posted by Debbie Rodgers on May 4th 2016

I am the lucky editor who worked with quilt collector, photographer, and historian  Bill Volckening to write the patterns for the quilts he chose to feature in  Modern Roots—Today's Quilts from Yesterday's Inspiration. I began with Bill’s snapshots to determine the basic construction. Once we received the quilts, I measured everything and traced specific motifs in these wonderful vintage quilts.

The first pattern I wrote was for Airplanes.

I found it amusing to note all the various finished sizes of the blocks. Most of the blocks are tall rectangles, but the center row includes wide rectangles as well. You just have to wonder, What was the quiltmaker’s plan? Did a group make the blocks? Or was it just one quilter who made all the blocks over a span of time? I like how they all come together, no matter the size, and the definite plan with regard to the background and arrangement of the blocks.

The Tennessee Pieced quilt top was another one that made me wonder about its history. Why did the quiltmaker stop making full blocks on the right side? And why didn’t the quilt ever get finished?

That quilt top is meticulously pieced. I especially love the bit of quirkiness in the top center block, with the arc pieces reversed. For the pattern, I simplified the arcs and cornerstone stars a bit, making them paper-pieced.

You will find a lot of background information about the quilts in the book. Along with the patterns to make the quilts, each quilt includes a bonus pattern for a smaller project—more ways to bring that vintage charm to life in your own way!

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