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Section IX: Hearts and Gizzards – Pattern

February 14, 2012

“The damp heat settles down on his face like a hand, and his consciousness flares up for a moment — what is it he is on the verge of remembering? — then gutters out”

— Margaret Atwood, “Alias Grace”

Section IX opens with Dr. Jordan and his shenanigans while living with the manipulative Mrs. Humphrey. He is not dealing well with the change in the weather, nor is he able to adequately relate his situation to his dear friend Edward. His mother’s letters are cloying and passive-aggressive, filled with news of sewing machines and girls she wants him to marry. Grace, for her part, has reached the day in her story where it’s time to discuss the day of the murders with Dr. Jordan. She seems to be remembering things, yet also figuring out which parts to tell and which parts to make up or keep to herself. Before she has to decide how to continue with her story she meets Jeremiah at a party the Governor’s wife has thrown, and she agrees to allow him to hypnotize her.

Hearts and Gizzards Quilt Block (MDSouthern)

Hearts and Gizzards Quilt Block (photo ©2012 by Michelle Southern)

After all of this the novel changes from Grace’s first-person telling of the story to one of a narrator relaying what both Grace and Dr. Jordan discuss. We no longer have the ability to hear Grace’s thoughts, or Dr. Jordan’s – we are observers, with only a description of what’s happening to rely on. Her grammar degrades in this telling (“You are just like them at the asylum…”) and of course there’s no clear admission of guilt or denial of it, either. Grace fills their entire session with story but neither leaves any clearer of mind or with any definitive answer as to Grace’s role in the murders.

The quilt block this section is named after, Hearts and Gizzards, is also known as Dutch Windmills and Borrow and Return. The block in the book has all the “hearts” a single colour, but many examples exist where the “hearts” are halved with one side light and one side dark. I have made the same block as found depicted in Alias Grace. Typically the quilts are made with white and red or dark pink, most likely because of the name, but you can choose any two contrasting colours you wish for this block. The block is patchwork and applique. I’ve chosen to use the traditional applique technique, but you can use any updated technique that you wish: fusible web, soft-edge applique, etc.

A note about using white fabric and hand-sewing with white thread:
Wash your hands repeatedly while working with white fabric and white thread. It doesn’t take much to smudge your work with fingers that you thought were clean.

For the “Hearts and Gizzards” block, you will need:

  • One white OR light-coloured fat quarter and one red OR pink fat quarter
  • Freezer paper, paper, pencil
  • Needle (or sewing machine), thread, rotary cutter and mat or scissors, pencil, quilting ruler, iron

Finished size of Hearts and Gizzards quilt block is 9″ square

Download the “Hearts and Gizzards” quilt pattern (2 page PDF file, 472kb)

Note: We have made every effort to ensure that these instructions are accurate and complete. However, we cannot be responsible for human error, typographical mistakes, or variations in individual work. Patterns may be photocopied and used for PERSONAL USE ONLY; they may not be packaged or sold.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Lauren permalink
    March 30, 2015 5:09 am

    My entire class (and my teacher!) absolutely loved this site! It’s seriously brilliant, Miss Ingram was amazed at the detail and information!
    – Lauren xx

    • mds permalink*
      April 5, 2015 9:31 pm

      Hi Lauren!:) Thanks for the comment! Where are you from and what class are you taking? I’m so happy that my site has helped you and your teacher, I hope to be back at it very soon:) Was there one page in particular that Miss Ingram and yourself found especially worthwhile? Have a great week!:)


  1. Tackling Difficult Piecing « The Quilts of "Alias Grace"

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