Saturday, August 21, 2010

A Bird in the Hand

One of the fabrics Vicki sent me was a Judie Rothermel print (Regency II Collection) which compliments a set of nine patch blocks I’ve been saving for a “someday” quilt. My inspiration came from an antique I saw displayed at the Museum of the Rockies in Bozeman, Montana. The original quilt has been registered with the Montana Quilt Documentation Project, so much is known of its history and provenance.

The quilt was made by Mollie Stine for her daughter Alice. It traveled with the family from Hume, Missouri to Bozeman, Montana in 1898. Details of their four month covered wagon trek were reported in a Bozeman newspaper by one of the Stine daughters.

double CLICK to read

In the original quilt, what packed a punch was the 224 tiny nine patch blocks. They contained an astounding variety of brown prints, which managed to hold their own against the predominant cheddar color. These simple, spunky blocks just begged to be reproduced.

My intention was to duplicate the entire Stine quilt. I knew I could come up with at least 50 different brown prints from my stash, and began making four identical blocks from each fabric. After 20 sets of blocks, I lost steam. As usual, MS sidetracked me.

Since 1999, the blocks have been tucked inside a box that’s been moved so many times, I forgot where it was. When I saw that Judy Rothermel fabric, it prompted a search for the box and a change of plans.

Because I have four identical sets of 20 blocks, I thought I’d make a doll quilt for myself and kit up the remaining blocks as a thank you for my friends who pieced the wedding quilt. Better to use up what I have than delude myself that I’ll ever make more. After all, “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.”


  1. really fabulous antique quilt and i can certainly see how it would inspire you to make some of your own similar 4-patches~!

    the Judie Rothermel fabric works beautifully with them and i love that you are able to bring an unfinished project to such a generous end. good for you~!!~


  2. How wonderful that the antique quilt still has its story!

    When you kit up your blocks, why not include the story with them (the antique and your own)?

    Best wishes!

  3. Mmmm, no wonder you thought you would reproduce it! I love it! What a great quilt this is! YOur doll quilt will be beautiful!

  4. Thank you Diane for the interesting article. It's so nice to read about the people behind all those olde quilts.

    It's a lovely quilt indeed. You know most times it's the simplicity and humbleness of the block that makes the quilt even more so endearing.

    Can't wait to see you doll quilt!

  5. Hi Diane!
    what a great quilt - and what a nice thought for "ladies".

  6. And a bird in the hand will make up a beautiful quilt! Glad you've decided to use the blocks *s*

  7. Gorgeous little 9 patches and they do "spark" with that Judy Rothermel fabric. I like your idea to make a doll quilt and then kit up the rest. It will be a smash hit with your friends for sure!

  8. ooh, that original is pretty. I love how the 9-Patches almost read as solid blocks but don't. I'm glad you're getting to fondle fabric and blocks.

  9. What a great idea for re-purposing your UFO. I love the little nine patch blocks and the brown and cheddar looks great. Funny, I was playing with little brown scrap squares today and, after trying and trying different brown and red fabrics for the border, wound up with cheddar.