I took the plunge and…

… started on the Civil War Bride quilt over the weekend. Aside from magazine projects, I get bored easily with just one project. So, I like to have a few going on at the same time that I can work on in rotation.


from Threadbear Patchwork and Quilting

The original quilt was called the “Bird of Paradise” quilt, and its picture is on the cover of “The Flowering of American Folk Art”. That was where for the first time I came across this beautiful quilt. The footnote given in the book is as such:

“Bird of Paradise bride’s coverlet, appliqued, cotton, silk, wool and velvet on cotton muslin, 87″ x 71 1/2″, 1858-63, near Poughkeepsie, NY. Unquilted, unbacked, apparently never finished; dated from patterns for appliques cut from newspapers. Collection of John E. Bihler and Henry S. Coger.”



This quilt project is a totally new animal to me because I am having to do something I have never done before – needleturn hand applique.

This is how the original block looks compared to how my block looks (though incomplete):


I am using the back basting method. This is what I have to show for after hours of labor. I decided to use a terra cotta urn as opposed to a darker tone in the sample or original quilt:

cwb5How do you think I did on my first attempt in hand applique? I think I would have liked the curves to be a little smoother… so, any tips on how to improve on my needleturn skill are more than welcome!

I try to imagine how the quilter of the original quilt had felt when she was making this Bride Quilt. Was the quilt for herself, was it for her daughter, was it for a friend…? If it was for her, was her beloved far away from her as she put in stitch at stitcher during a highly uncertain and tumultuous time? And why was the quilt unfinished? Is it because the wedding never took place? And if so, what is the reason? To get me in the Civil War mood, I am reading this book to give me a better idea on life as a woman during the Civil War:


You can see how others have interpreted the block here – some amazing colors!!!

Thanks for stopping by. I hope you have yourself a stupendous day!

p.s. Leaves update – 140 to go at the time this post was written.

6 thoughts on “I took the plunge and…

  1. Now, you know I mean this in the BEST and MOST CARING way. Are you insane?! I’m all about multiple projects but do every single one of them have to require constant attention to detail! LOL!

    You amaze me!

  2. Well done Wendy. It looks great so far. Tell me something? Does the American Folk Art book has the pattern in it too?
    I love to get that book. I would like to see the original quilt and book. Looking forward to see more of your quilt – Hugs Natima

  3. The curves look pretty good to me. Are you using small stitches for your basting? When I backbaste, I tend to use rather small stitches on curves and points and then leave the piece basted for at least 24 hours. For some reason, that seems to make it even easier to turn under.

  4. I think with practice we always get better and even if you don’t think your curves were smooth enough I think they look great. We are most critical of our own work, especially when trying something new.

  5. Oh my goodness Wendy, you pick out the best projects. That quilt is going to be incredible when it’s finished. I think that your applique looks wonderful! You did a fabulous job and shouldn’t worry at all that your curves aren’t smoother. They look perfect.

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