Like thousands of others, I follow Bonnie's blog over at Quiltville - that woman is amazing - so much energy!!
Her recent post Antiquing through Virginia bought a lump to my throat and a tear to my eye! She went to visit Mt Vernon quilters in Virginia, one of several chapters of Quilters Unlimited. Yay....I used to be President of Mt Vernon quilters - can you believe it??!! It was 15 years ago now, while my family and I were living in the US for three years. We lived in Northern Virginia - my girls went to Washington Mill Elementary school, named after the mill which serviced George Washington's estate - which is called..................you guessed it, Mt Vernon.
Oh what happy, happy times we all had there. I absolutely fell in love with the two antique quilts Bonnie purchased. I have already made myself a basket quilt on point, so was drawn to the second one. Despite being up to my eyeballs in bridesmaid dresses, I just had to drop everything and start making that block.
It wasn't hard to figure out that it is based on an eight pointed star grid - the octagon in the centre is a dead give away! Some 8 pointed star blocks are trickier, and on first glance almost look like nine patches, but you soon find out your mistake if you try and draft it that way.
I ran to my fabric stash, pulled out a pile and quickly made two blocks. Because of the inset seams, these are an ideal candidate for hand piecing. Most of my quilts are machine made, but I do like to have a hand piecing project on the go. It is portable, and pick up and put downable and rather soothing. If you are going to go the trouble of hand pieceing, it may as well be something tricky with inset seams or strange shapes that have to be cut from templates - can't see the point of hand piecing a nine patch which you zap out with a rotary cutter!
I don't know how long it will take me to get enough blocks to make a quilt- it doesn't matter. There isn't a deadline and I am making this for me, so I can go at my own pace. I do know that I will want to hand quilt this one - probably with Baptist fans, which I love.
It feels good to get back to doing something soothing - and recreating antique quilts is a wonderful link to the past. I hope my grand children and others cherish my quilts when I am gone - and even if they end up anonymously in an antique shop - or, heaven forbid, an thrift store, as long as they go to a good home, where the new owner fondles the worn softness lovingly and wonders about the long gone woman who held the needle that made every stitch - well, I think I will rest peacefully.