Saturday, November 7, 2009

Replica Quilts

Like many of you, I was first drawn to quilt making by antique quilts. It wasn't the fancy ones that caught my eye, as much as the humble utility quilts, made for hard wear and everyday use. To me, their scrappy "make do" patchwork and simple block designs have more "soul" than their pristine counterparts.

This Scrappy Star quilt is a copy of one featured in an old Country Living Magazine. My friend, Mary Radke, a real purist when it comes to replicating quilts, matched it block by block and fabric by fabric, from the picture below. 

The maker of the original quilt was resourceful with her scrap bag. Even though she pieced each block from the same Variable Star pattern, look how different they turned out because of fabric placement.

We can only guess why the quilter broke pattern as she stitched this quilt. Was she tired of piecing star after similar star? Did she run out of fabric and have to make do? Whatever the reason, it's these "renegade" blocks, those that "break rank" with the others, that make this quilt so interesting to look at.

So, how did I come to own this quilt? Mary made it as a sample for a quilt talk she used to give on the history of quilt making. When she decided to sell off pieces from her collection, I was lucky enough to buy a few of my favorites. I hand quilted it with an all-over fan design, typical of old utility quilts.
Scrappy Stars
30” x 42”
machine pieced by Mary Radke
hand quilted by Diane Burdin


  1. LOVE THIS POST~!!~ i am a huge fan of traditional style quilt making and just last night finished my "carrot" quilt. i hope to get some good photos of it today and post it on the blog very soon. just took it out of the washer and dryer and it has that wonderful puckery sweet look that i love.
    i don't think that it's going to be one of those quilts that everyone loves as it's quite a long ways from perfect but it does embody the sweetest dolly quilt vibes~!~and i love it~!!~

    i'm now gathering some antique quilt blocks that i purchased on ebay quite some time ago and considering the next "carrot" quilt details.


  2. Now that's a good quilt. A very old fashioned look and hand quilted to boot! Very good work.

  3. Lovely quilt! Perfectly antique and balanced and the quilting is oh so special. I love it.

    Your gratitudes make my heart swell with joy.

    Great post my friend, great post. It's so nice to have you power-corded up!

  4. That is a very beautiful quilt!
    I have that page with the quilt marked along with lots of other quilt pictures that I drool over now and then. This might just be the inspiration I need to get started to make one of my own.
    Thank you for sharing.

  5. What a fabulous quilt and the story behind it was lovely to read. I love the quilting on it, one of my favourite designs.It looks great on your header.

  6. oh I love this quilt and the story behind it as well
    of course baptist fans are my favorite quilt hand quilt!
    thanks for showing us the quilt!
    so are you loving all those little quilts I linked to last night?
    maybe its time to show more of your little quilts !

  7. While I admire some of the newer color combos and bright lines of the new designers, it is traditional quilts that have my heart! These are beautiful examples and really do look antique. Someday I'd like to do Baptist fans on something "old" :) Thanks for sharing.

  8. Once again may I say your post is good to see.
    I am wishing you a winter with as many bright
    spots as possible. I was listening to Sting the other
    day on NPR and he says he's a winter person.
    He loves the contemplative aspect of winter.
    I too am a sun worshiper but have found if I work
    inthe colors of the season,it brightens grey days. I have often thought maybe I need to live at the equator or travel where the sun makes it is summer. I once heard a lecture of a quilter that did that. Her reasoning was if she did then she only needed her summer wardrobe.

  9. oh diane, I love this one -
    thanks for posting it.
    I too have been headachy for almost 3 weeks :( the first hard frost should help.

  10. How great to have the story and the quilt! The quilt reminds me of several we have been so fortunate to inherit from my husband's side of the family. Your quilting does suit the quilt. Lovely!

  11. I'm on a new computer or as Judy says a "new confuser." I'm working on a Pckmr cookbook and was telling Jan all my problems with various computers and printers. She said how you had helped her crop a photo. I better come out for a lesson or two. I love your photos . . . exception . . . Wills trick or treat face! Does one blog on like this on anothers blog? Perhaps I'm just to comment on what you have in your blog. Does blogging have a protocol? Sheila