“Inspiration is where you find it.” Paula Mariedaughter
Inspiration breaths life into any project whether it be woodworking or cooking or quiltmaking. Inspiration will keep you engaged in a project long enough to see it through. When I saw a picture of an Evening Star quilt (see below similar to this on the cover of Quilter’s Newsletter Magazine (October, 1993), I was intrigued. That quilt was made in New Jersey circa 1890 by an unknown woman with imagination. She relegated the pieced Evening Star blocks to the background in favor of the dramatic large scale florals in the setting squares. She was a free thinker, often large setting square were cut of plain fabric and would feature elaborate quilting. I wanted to try my hand at creating my own version! The magazine had the cutting dimensions so I would not have to draft my own pattern.
After choosing fabrics for the stars, my trusted Featherweight helped me piece the twenty stars mostly on light backgrounds. Rounding up lively large scale prints was fun, but I could not find a border fabric that pleased me. In person the setting squares are more dominant than they appear in this photo.
I had to put this top aside until I found the border fabric it called for. Months later, I knew it when I saw it. The ideal fabric appeared in the booth of one of my favorite quilt shops at our 1999 quilt show. Mama’s Log House is always packed with fabulous fabrics, but this pillar print added the visual movement I knew I wanted. This would be a different quilt without this pillar print.
I used my vintage White sewing machine to accomplish the quilting and bound it with a burgundy red. I labeled it Wallflower because I enjoyed the idea of all these flowers gracing a wall over 100 years after that New Jersey woman created her quilt. I finished Wallflower in 2000. Size: 66 x 70.
Below is the magazine cover that inspired me. The antique quilt is in the collection of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Photographs appear in Roderick Kiracofe’s book The American Quilt:A History of Cloth and Comfort 1750-1950.