23 January, 2014

Airplane Quilt

My bestest estate sale find EVER.

I'm pretty sure this pattern is called Lucky Lindy.
Charles Lindbergh had soloed across the Atlantic and everyone was crazy about airplanes.
Many patterns came out, some distinctly airplane, some imitating the movement of flying.

This measures 82"+ x 64" wide.

All hand-sewn. All feedsack fabrics.
This firecracker airplane might be my favorite.

It may have been paper-pieced but whoever stitched it - did it by hand!

The blocks in-between the airplanes are hand-quilted in this flower medallion.
Diagonal stitching on the airplane blocks.

It's 1930's.
The wadding has dissolved and lurks in the seams.

This is the worst damage. This whole block in the middle is thread-bare.

There are only a couple other areas where a seam has come un-done. I'll have to look at my stash to see if this block can be repaired.

Beautifully square. Unbelievable small stitches.

I soaked this for three days in Retro Clean and it whitened up the quilt quite a bit and took most of the age-yellowing   - away.

---without bleaching or fading the colors.


  1. I hadn't appreciated how it has an Irish chain look from a distance, it's absolutely gorgeous, well done!!!

  2. That truly is an amazing find. It looks fabulous after your careful laundering. Those fabrics are wonderful, too. Any more superlatives I can use? :-)

  3. WOW! What a neat find. Also good to know about the Retro Clean.

    You asked about my orchids. I have three of them. The one in my blog post from yesterday has not bloomed since 2010, but the other two have been blooming off and on since 2010.

    I have never repotted them. I have never fertilized them. I water them with about a quarter cup of water, once on Monday and once on Friday. They must have drainage and good sunlight. And they HATE being moved. They also hate the seasonal change at work, and when the office heating turns to office a/c and vice versa. And by hate, I mean, if they are blooming, they will drop all their flowers at that time. Maybe it would have been time anyhow as part of their natural cycle, but....

  4. Thank you for posting this find. I picked up 35 airplane blocks and I have been looking for setting ideas. I wanted to keep it authentic to the era. Is the backing plain white fabric? I'm considering using depression green and maybe scalloped borders. Anyway, it is lovely.

    1. Brenda, you didn't leave a contact #. To answer your questions: The backing is as white as it's gonna get after 100 years. I would bind it in the depression green but do the scalloped border in your chosen background color. I love the idea of a scalloped border but not sure I would have the patience to bind it.

    2. Were you able to get a date with your quilt? I had my blocks looked at by a seasoned pro and she dated them late 20's-30's, but your prints (especially the black floral). Look very similar to mine. Just curious at how old it might be. I have no information for these blocks. Could be fun if they came from oakies escaping the dust bowl since I bought them in CA.
      Thank you for your advice. I very much appreciate it.

    3. This fabric is definitely from the 20's/30's. Feedsacks for the most part.

  5. My 17 yo son earned his pilot license in June and I've recently found your quilt and would like to reproduce this setting and hand quilt it similarly. Would you be willing to share with me the size of the side white borders and can you tell me if they are also at the top and bottom of the quilt? I am hand piecing the blocks and have the first two finished and intend to stitch the top completely by hand. Someone put a lot of time and love into your quilt and I'm thrilled you rescued it and were able to clean it up. Thank you, christine

    1. First off - Congrats to your son on this flying milestone. I live on an airpark where other people also live with their airplanes. You can search my blog to see other airplane photos.

      Let me pull this out. I have seen in old Quilter's Newsletter Magazines other Lucky Lindy/airplane quilt patterns.

      Each block measures 8" x 8" and is 'paper' pieced. The first 'stripe' is the top of the plane with the propeller. A 1.5" block at the corner with a 3-piece strip forming the propeller with another block at the corner. The propeller is a triangle with two white pieces y-seamed around the angles. Propeller measures a little more than an inch up.

      I don't quilt - so pardon my pattern ramblings:

      I think they piece the propeller first then added the wing, then the fusealge, then the tail. the final part of the block is two strips about 1.5" along each side with square blocks forming at the corners.

      The wing is one strip across. The body of the pieced airplane is about 4 3/4" wide by not quite the 8" block size lengthwise.

      The next strip is the fuselage which is an extended triangle flanked by corresponding white pieces. 2" across where it meets the wing with a length of 3 inches.

      Tail strip is 4 pieces. Tail triangle is 3/4" long equilateral. sew white piece to bottom edge of tail, then extend the strip to measure the 4 3/4".

      bear in mind this was a much loved quilt and it has shrunk multiple times every which way.

      The sash along the outer edges is about 1 1/4" wide with a teeny bias binding of 5/16" wrapped around the edge.

      Each airplane block is laid next to a pure white block. The pure white block was quilted with a medallion. The airplanes were done with one inch diagonal quilting lines ending at the block edge. The sash is also done with the diagonal stitching.

      I hope this is helpful. I would love to see this when you get done. It sounds so exciting to make.


I love comments. My heart goes pitter-patter every time there is a new one.