Saturday, September 8, 2012

2. Amethyst: Suffragettes

Becky Brown

Amethyst, a purple stone, reminds us of the purple, green and white color scheme that helped define the image of Britain's Women's Social and Political Union.
The WSPU marching with banners and sashes

WSPU colors became emblematic of the militant group known as the Suffragettes, who broke away from the more conservative Suffragist organizations in 1903.

After 1908 tricolor sashes and rosettes identified
marchers immediately as militant Suffragettes.
The WSPU sponsored gift shops at their headquarters selling banners and "scarves in various shades of purple as well as white muslin summer blouses and [an]almost unending variety of bags, belts....books, games, blotters, playing cards and indeed almost everything that can be produced in purple, white and green."

A selection of suffrage badges, medals and knick-knacks such as playing cards in the green, purple and white palette. There was a good deal of variety in all the shades from pinkish to dark blue violet. There is some recent discussion that the colors green, white and violet were chosen to echo the motto Give Women the Vote. That's a good way to recall the colors GWV---but the Suffragettes did not ask anyone to give them the vote. They demanded the vote.

The WSPU's main mottoes were
Votes for Women
Deeds Not Words

Hand-made embroidered and appliqued banners were important in the British campaigns. This banner has the WSPU motto "Deeds Not Words" among the purple, green and white iris. The hammer and horseshoe stands for Hammersmith.  Read more about banners from the Suffrage Atelier here at the VADS (Visual Arts Data Service) database:

See Lisa Tickner's book on the imagery of the English suffrage campaign, The Spectacle of Women by clicking here for a Google preview:

She notes that broadly speaking the colors symbolized purity (white), hope (green) and dignity (purple).

The Amethyst quilt block, a name published by the Kansas City Star's quilt columnist in February 1931, can remember the WSPU's skillful use of color to communicate their presence and their goals.

Becky is doing two quilts---each granddaughter will get one.

A red amethyst from Georgann

Cutting an 8" Finished Block

B - Rotary Cut 1 square 3-3/8". Use templates for the others.

And for 2020 I'm adding a 12" pattern.

Here's an exploded block to show you one way to piece it together. You could also piece the star and then set in the A pieces. Either way you have Y seams. You can do it!

Dustin's dots and woven stripes

It's  #2975a in BlockBase. Don't forget the "a" when you do a number search.

I have been playing around at and have uploaded a fabric print especially for these blocks. I used images of the parasols that said Votes for Women. Here's a mockup of the Amethyst block from EQ with the magenta colorway. Below is a scaled picture of the print.

I just got the fabric back. It's a little pinker than this photo.
 I did it in both purplish-pink and yellow, thinking 1930s prints.

Click here to see my Material Culture Spoonflower Store. The two different color ways are called VotesForWomenGold and VotesForWomenPurple

Do a search in the Spoonflower store for fabric with a suffrage theme and you'll find some other ideas. Use the tags "votes" or "suffrage".

Here's a link to the purple print:
Here's a link to the gold print:


  1. Downloaded and printed the templates... the size was spot on! Off to play with fabrics... let the fun begin!


  2. Another way to do this block without set-in seams (although they really aren't that hard) would be to quarter the block in EQ, turning into something like Crossed Canoes. Then just color it like Amythest. I love that Becky is doing a quilt for both her granddaughters!

    1. Sorry, the editor in me must correct it to "each granddaughter."

  3. What am I to do I need help here, I don't own Block Base and my printer isn't printing the correct size. The red line on block b is measuring 2 5/8" Any help would be great.

    1. Thanks Barbara for another great post and block! I would love to help however I have the same problem. Yes agree all help will be gratefully accepted! In the meantime, I'm going to go figure my fabric options, Thank you! Ni.

    2. Hi again, if you download and then open your downloaded pdf, will print out but not at right scale, working on that now! Ni.

  4. HI, This is what I did so far, I went to my EQ7 program and found the same block. I set it up for 8" finsihed blocks in the quilt. They called the block Priscilla. So then I printed out their templates and they came to the same size as the one in the PDF file Amethyst. Then I did the rotary cutting instructions and it said cut a 3 3/8" sq. for the center. So I measured the cutting line on the template and it was 3 3/8" same as the PDF. So I am going to try and cut it out and just use the paper to see if it works. Any other help would be great
    Anonymous #1 Barbara-OH

    1. Thanks Barbara, that great to know as on the pdf it stated the seam line should be 3 3/8" and the post the cutting line, and I wasn't too sure which way to go, after I finally working out how to print it! Ni.

  5. You know, the first curves seam I ever stitched was in last year's CW quilt. And today will be the first time I've ever printed a template and cut from it! Thanks for pushing us to do new things!! :)

  6. HI, OK after cutting the paper templates and stapling and tapeing the pieces together from EQ and the PDF (same size print out) the block will come out to 8" finished or 8 1/2" unfinished however you like to measure. Now I can get myself together for the day and pick out what colors to use where on the block.
    So far 2even though this is only block #2 I am really enjoying the process. Thanks Barbara B for this challenge ! :-)

  7. i have tried 3 times to print off the pattern and it consistently comes out too small. I have never had an issue before today with this. Impera Magna, how did you do it?

  8. You know I am a special education teacher by training and I love to see you students trying new things
    Susan, see the last post for printing suggestions. Scale down.

  9. I meant scroll down. But you have to scale up the PDF for printing, or turn off the scaling feature.

  10. Here is what I think is the least from what I've seen with EQ. I pulled up "The Priscilla" block in EQ. When I previewed the "print for rotary cutting" for an 8" finished block, it told me the square should be 3-3/8". But then I noticed that the option to 'round to nearest' was set at 1/8". When I set it to 1/16", the measure of that square was 3-5/16", which is probably more precise for the 8" finished block. But the template printing doesn't give you that option to "round to" because it simply prints it to the actual size it should be (because if you're cutting from a template, it doesn't matter). This is why the template block is printing a little smaller than the actual 3-3/8" called for. I think. :)

  11. With regard to "Give Women the Vote" (Green, White, Violet), when I was researching the Suffrage colors while pondering what colors to use in my project, I ran across this interesting article.

    Suffrage Colors and Alleged Suffrage Jewelry

    I'm really enjoying both the blocks and the history, and looking forward to the rest of the series. Could you recommend books or other resources to read further about the movement, maybe in a sidebar link?

  12. Hi all, can I mention Marti Michell templates? Just to say the centre square seems to matches the B10 template and using D24 can get A and C, For C just use the long pointing part of the kite shape template and cut across between the two matching angles and in A that pointy end is half of A, just outline one side and flip over to get reverse for other half of A. Hope that is easy to follow and helps someone!! Eventually I will start stitching now I have my templates worked out! And everyone else gets dinner! Naomi. (I have no blockbase, yet, or EQ)

  13. The block is a great one! I did not have any problems with the templates and pieced exactly as your diagram and sewed entirely by machine. Those of you with printing problems may want to double check that your "scaling" is turned off or "print actual size" is chosen. If you have "print to fit" then it will not work. There are other comments on the flicker page that talk about how others made the templates work for them. Good luck! Thank you Barbara for today's block!

  14. I have a group of friends that are going to do this block a week with me. I am the person that is going to read the patterns over and offer any tips should any be needed. I found this sentence in the pattern confusing: Check your measurements by measuring the seamline of piece B corner to corner. It should measure 3-3/8". Would it not read better to say: Be should measure 3-3/8" square? My old brain was not working and I was wanting to measure from corner to corner on the diagonal....... I've been checking Block Base, EQ and re-reading for an hour now..... Once the group gets underway better, perhaps we can post some pictures of all the different color choices.
    Nancy in Blue Spring, MO

    1. If you look on the right hand side of this site you will see an icon for the flicker page were you can view all the blocks posted thus far. Just click on the woman holding the camera and enjoy all it has to offer. Everyone is invited to join in!

  15. Any typing skills are lacking as well. The center block B should measure 3-3/8" square. And it's not the seamline you are measuring but the cutting line.

  16. Hi All - well here I am just a poor Mac user from Downunder but guess what - I have a great crash kit; good ole pencil, ruler and a piece of paper. Works a treat!

  17. To print mine out ... I had to set the PAGE SCALING to "Tile Large Pages". And in the TILE SCALE box, set it to 101.5%.

  18. Merci beaucoup Barbara, j'adore tout ce qui associe l'histoire et le patchwork, je prends beaucoup de plaisir avec ce blog!
    Thank you so much Barbara, I love these links between history and quilting. I enjoy so much this blog!


  19. I tried making this block but we just kept disagreeing with each other about being seen nicely. So, I picked a different block from EQ for mine

  20. the quilt shop i work in is planning on doing this as a block fo the week as you have offered it to them and i had difficulty finding this pattern to print the correct sizeno matter how i tried. I hope the rest of the blocks are not like this. i redrew another similar pattern was hoping i do nothave to do this each week.

  21. Fortunately, I have both EQ7 and Block Base - I could not get my printer to print it full size - also, slight typo, at least I think it is a typo - 3 3/8 is the cut line, not the sewing line.

    I made the full amethyst block as well as this 1/4 block - both will finish at 8". I am very pleased with my first three blocks - the two from the Blog plus my Amethyst block.

    Can we post pictures?

    1. Yes on the Grandmother Choice flicker group, see the lady with the camera on the left at the top of the blog, that's the link.

  22. Worked as a pdf for me.
    Love the block.

  23. I'm having a terrible time with this block. The pdf printed so that the square from cut line to cut line was 3 3/8. But the triangles don't seem to be quite large enough. Just a tiny bit off. But I can't get it to go together right. The pieces just don't fit. I don't have BlockBase. Any other ideas where I could get a pattern for this block? I unsewed the first one three times. I made another and it's the same thing. I'm open for suggestions. :-(

  24. Hi, I'm another quilter from downunder. Loves the blog. The pdf printed out fine and the templates came out the right size. Sewed the block pieces on the machine and they fitted well together. Thanks Barbara. I am looking forward to each week pattern.

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