Thursday, January 28, 2016

Show & Tell

Civil War Bride quilt block by Becky. Block 14 of 20 is finished and I wanted to share it with you and thought perhaps we could start a Show & Tell here on our blog. It's easy to get started - just check with Vicki.

The blocks I've been making are from an adaptation of the "Bird of Paradise" quilt top (c.1858-1863) in the American Folk Art Museum. I'm using a pattern by Austrailian, Corliss Searcey who drafted the pattern after seeing a poster of the original quilt. Her pattern is called "Civil War Bride Quilt and is available at

"A Bountiful Life" is another pattern source, a book written by Karen Mowery.

The original quilt has inspired many to make their own versions of this unique quilt. The unknown maker lived near Poughkeepsie, NY.

"Made during the Civil War period, it is thought to be an unfinished marriage or wedding quilt. This idea is supported by the appliqued blocks that feature pairs of birds and animals and other symbols of union and fertility such as birds tending nests of eggs, flowers and fruits. A single female figure is appliqued onto one block, but the square next to her is nearly empty, save for the decorative leaves and flowers. Newspaper templates, including a template of a male figure, were found with this quilt top, suggesting that perhaps the reason the quilt was never finished, and the marriage it was intended to celebrate never took place. The quilt top also features depictions of famous nineteenth-century racehorses and of an elephant named Hanible, who had travelled throughout New York state during this time period with his trainer." (quote taken from the American Folk Art Museum website).

I am taking more and more liberties with each block I make. I have been sharing these at our monthly meetings over the past year, but thought I'd share the pattern source and my latest block with you here on-line. Throughout my quilt I have relied on hand-dyed fabric from Vicki Welsh to add a touch of brightness to the reproduction fabrics. The fabrics in the peacock are a good example of how her fabrics have enhanced these blocks. 
That's my show & tell - now show/tell us what you've been doing on these snowy days!


  1. Love your block! And I think online show & tell is a great idea - I will be posting soon.

  2. I agree with Peg - and will post something as well, though certainly not on the scale of this block. Becky, that is a simply spectacular applique!