So how did this thing get started anyway?
Basically here’s how Nisha and Kim found their jam. Kim used to forecast the weather long ago for Fox in Boston (sooooo many hair styles ago.)
Thus her love affair with Brimfield, a town in central Massachusetts right on the Connecticut border, began. It hosts an antiques fair three times a year: May, July, and September. It has fields and fields and fields of estate sale type stuff. If you’ve ever watched Antiques Road Show or Flea Market Flip, then you know what we’re talking about. It is a collector of *anything* vintage’s dream. Fast forward 19 years and Kim now has a l-o-n-g-i-n-g to return to those fields.
By this time, Kim and Nisha are good friends. Tied to the DC metropolitan area for work, they are both members of the DC Modern Quilt Guild and attend the same types of sewing retreats. It isn’t long before they plan a road trip to the May 2017 Brimfield Antiques Show to sniff out some vintage quilty goodness.
As any good Brimfielder knows, you come prepared. That means you have the following: cash (or a friend with access to cash because you don’t have your ATM card, ahem), rolling cart, hat, sunscreen, water, waterproof shoes (preferably tall – we’ve beaten women to the loot because they had to take the long way around a deep puddle), assortment of bags from plastic to larger bags, rain slicker, and the Brimfield Flea Finder ap. Check off every Monday-Friday item from that list!
Brimfield staggers the opening of their fields over the course of multiple days. It starts on a Tuesday and goes through that Sunday. Some of the fields have specific start times, but several simply open at “sunrise”. Most of the residents in and along Route 20 and the side streets turn their ample yards into parking lots that week charging ~$8 for the day.
LET THE WALKING BEGIN!
We highly urge you to count your steps while walking the fields – they will add up! At first the charming names of the fields like “New England Motel” make you go “isn’t that quaint”, but by hour 5, with new blisters and port-o-potty induced fatigue, one might be inclined to say “Quaker Acres”??? Why would anyone name a field *that*?” But then your bestie will offer you a sugary treat deep from within one of the many picnic-styled bags in her cart and you’ll snap out of your diva-ness and instantly remember why you’re there.
And then it will hit you. The Smell.
It wafts up from the forgotten about bags of textiles holding the odd assortment of 1930’s feedsacks and orphaned quilt blocks. The smell will lead you there. Musty? yes, but in a good way. This is exactly what happened to us – walking past a dealer with an old blanket laying on the damp ground with a bunch of Hefty bags strewn about. We eyed each other as in “all clear” and at once started rummaging through the bags. And as if the heavens high above felt our collective endorphins releasing, a choir of angels sang as we pulled out THE ORIGINAL BRIMFIELD BLOCK.
It was love at first site. From that day on, our planning began. We knew we had to get this pattern out into the world. We redesigned the block – added a third “house” piece (instead of keeping the original 2 house shapes), changed the proportions and most importantly – we added the “perforation” option to the block. This would mean that quilters could decide whether or not to have separate “roof” or triangle pieces or keep the house shapes as one. What we didn’t know at that time was just how beautifully the blocks would look when pieced together without traditional sashing in between – the two different areas of negative space that would result. With limited wifi, we researched the block and figured it had to be a descendent of the “Strawberry” block (made popular in the late 1920’s published in a newspaper.) So, one diner at a time from Vernon CT down to East Brunswick NJ we plotted our game plan over bowls of matzo ball soup and Reubens. Over the course of the Jersey Turnpike we hatched Brimfield Awakening and the Brimfield Block Quilt.
Isn’t Carrie’s quilting from @Gotchacoveredquilting divine?
To make the Brimfield block quilt you will need to purchase the pattern, acrylic templates, and paper pieces (or these paper pieces. ) Our paper pieces are unique in that they have perforation. This allows you the flexibility to create more pieces for additional fussy cutting 🙂
Please share your Brimfield Block quilt pictures with us! Use the hashtags #BrimfieldBlock or #BrimfieldAwakening. We can’t wait to see what you make. And by the way, we’re not done. Much more Brimfield patterns are to come. We came home with loaded carts after all 🙂