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.
30” x 42”
machine pieced by Mary Radke
hand quilted by Diane Burdin