I started my version of North Star State.
There are so many small pieces of 1930s reproductions in my stash and I had been looking for just the right project.
Because much of my fabric is small scraps, I am making the blocks 1/2 size. It will take a lot of them, but I am not in a hurry.
Sometime in the 1930’s, my great grandmother, Mina Opal, started this quilt. She made 53 butterfly blocks.
Sometime in the 1980’s, my mother, Verna Lee, made the 54th block.
Earlier this year, Mom handed the project to me and said, “You can finish this.”
And I have.
Working on the quilt was an interesting experience. I felt guided in some way and am convinced this finished product is very close to what my great grandmother had in mind. Why else would there be 6 straight butterflies and all the rest on an angle?
I am not sure she would have used the three-part sashing. More likely matching the background fabric or a single slab. That would be in keeping for the era. But I couldn’t match the background and I didn’t want to use a slab. It felt clunky somehow.
But, the medallion setting I am sure of. And the border. Even the scallop binding. (Thanks for this tutorial that pointed me in the right direction: http://whatahootquilts.blogspot.com/2013/01/wips-tips-for-scalloped-bindings-and.html )
It would be very easy for me to point out all the failings in the binding, but it is the best I can do at this time.
And, 80 or 90 years after the first stitches were taken, it IS finished.
Final size is about 91″ x 99″.
MANY THANKS to Tara for her brilliant quilting. It wouldn’t be the same quilt without her.
Previous posts on the process:
This year is the year–of Vintage Projects.
Recently, my mother surrendered two quilts started by HER grandmother, Mina Opal, (my Great-grandmother) in the 1930-40s. Today we will take a look at the first one.
Mina Opal created 53 applique butterfly blocks. My mother added one. She then added sashing and started to build a top (early-to-mid 1980s). But she was unhappy with the results and put the whole project away for about 35 years.
ASIDE: Now that I think about it, my mother quit on the quilt about the time Mina Opal became ill and died (1987). Hmm…I wonder if that had something to do with it?
Anyway, when it came to me I asked if there were restrictions on what I could do, because “It won’t look the same when I bring it back.”
With my mother’s (blind-faith) blessing, I have gone to work. First, pick the entire top apart. It took days.
Clean up and iron each block. This was a tedious but useful process. It helped me to see the work more closely and to better appreciate the skill and care Mina Opal and my mother, Verna, put into the quilt. It also gave me clues as to the possible original intent.
It also gave me a reason to AGAIN use my new lint roller. WHO KNEW one would be so useful?! I don’t know how I did without one this long.
I chose the largest possible size (9″) for the blocks and squared up. This step was the hardest emotionally so far. Cutting 80 year old fabric…arrgh! What if I make a mistake? But, I went slowly and only did a few blocks at a time. And double-checked. A lot.
Time for design decisions….Coming soon!