Sunday, March 8, 2020

A Glimpse Back and a Story

Because March is 
National Quilting Month,
I thought I'd share one of my
quilts that has had
 an interesting history
and story.

"Broken Star"
Completed in 1987

It all began in 1980 when Blanche and Helen Young 
published their book 

The Lone Star Quilt Handbook

Their method was revolutionary.
It was strip piecing yet using a template
to accurately mark the points of intersection.

It was faster than sewing individual diamonds,
 but seems slower than today
 because of the inclusion of the markings, yet, 
it was very precise.

I made several Lone Star quilts
using their method

Lone Star

Chapter One

After making four lone star quilts
I decided it was time to make the ultimate...
the Broken Star.

You can tell by the colors and fabrics,
smaller calico prints,
how tends come and go.

I wanted the quilt to have an antique look
so I decided to use a 100% cotton batting.
Big mistake.
It was miserable to hand quilt.

Finally, I began using a platinum coated needle
and then was able to get two stitches at a time!

It was drudgery. 
My stitches were pretty even,
but not too small.
It took me two years to finally finish it

That's why there isn't as much quilting
as I probably should have done or
what would have been done today.

Happy Chapter

Biannually, The Colorado Quilting Council
used to  have a spectacular quilt show 
held in the Denver state capitol building.

So in the summer of 1988,

my quilt was displayed.

It was a few month later,
I received a letter from the Denver Art Museum
asking if I would be willing to have my quilt
be included in a quilt show they were putting
together to be sent to Japan called, 
"American Patchwork Quilt Colorado."
I was over the moon!!

A book was published and
I was thrilled to see my quilt in print.

A bigger thrill came when I found out
my quilt had been used as the poster quilt for 
advertising the show.


Later in 1990 it was shown at the AQS show
in Paducah, Ky 
and also at Quilt America,
a show held on Kokomo, IN.

Sad Chapter

Well, that's where the joyful part of my story ends.
After receiving my quilt back,
I thought I would give it a quick and gently wash,
no soap, nothing added to the water.

When I opened the washer
I was horrified to see all of the
maroon/red fabrics had run!!!

What I didn't understand was why.
All the fabrics had  been prewashed 
and I had washed the quilt when I had 
finished it in 1987.

Back in the washer.  This was all
pre-Color Catcher days.
I ended up washing the quilt 
about 5 times.  Each time trying something new,
a little spray and wash,  more spray and wash,
a little Biz, a lot of Biz...
You get the picture.

*I had a friend who worked for the water 
dept. in Fort Collins and his thought was
that the chemical composition that particular
day was such that it reacted to the dyes of the fabrics
causing them to run.  
I know no other explanation and
will use that as the reason.

The good news: most of the bleeding disappeared.

The bad news: the fabrics are terribly faded
and dulled.
They actually look petty beat up.

The original binding was destroyed.  
 I do remember 
it was a Jeffrey Gutcheon fabric and I had loved
the slight texture it had.  

But look at it now.

My goal since then was to replace the binding
and enjoy the quilt.
But that binding still remains on the quilt.

I still love this quilt very much
and it has definitely achieved the antique look I was going for!!

I've had it tucked away for almost 30 years.

Maybe it's time to
move on and replace the binding. 

Every quilt has a story. 
Is it finally time for me to add a new chapter?

Until Next Time-


  1. most of the time if you have a hard time quilting through cotton batting you just don't have a good batting for it. I think it is one called Warm and White? something like that doesn't hand quilt well. I'm sure there are others. I mainly only hand quilt and other the years I have picked up a batting there and there that has hand quilted horribly and never get it again. Sorry about the bleed - yes back then no color catchers and all we could do was wash and soak and wash again

  2. What a extraordinarily beautiful quilt, even after all it has been through. Few quilts receive such honors, and no doubt those honors were well deserved! Go ahead; replace that binding; use it and love it as long as there is a piece of it left. Then mount those pictures on your wall for all your guests to see. ---"Love"

  3. Wow, that's gorgeous. My aunt hand quilted a large coverlet, I think it took her over the course of twenty five years because she had to frequently put it on hiatus, she didn't have much time between raising two boys and work. After the kids moved out she picked it up again and finally completed it last year, it's a masterpiece. I'm not a quilter myself, I started a basic one once and never completed it, but I'm always amazed at the patience and skill quilters have. It's a beautiful art form.

  4. Wow, what a story! And what a quilt - gloriously vintage now. A treasure!

  5. Thanks for sharing this wonderful story. So sorry for what happened to your quilt. But I am sure with a new binding and all the great memories you have of the quilt, it will be loved and used for the next year's to come and I hope you keep telling the story of your quilt to quilters. It is not how a quilt looks but the feeling and the warmth it gives you.

  6. Such a great journey you and the quilt have been on, sending it to Japan is an amazing compliment. So glad the bleeding has faded, that gives me hope for one of mine! I do fancy making a lone star, but have thought it would be easily you forget with all the clever gadgets we have how much easier it is now!

  7. Such a beautiful quilt! And it certainly received the honors it was due. I admire your perseverance with the hand quilting. I hand quilted a small wall hanging with that type of batting and said never again! I am so sorry that you had the fabric bleed when you washed it this last time. It is still a treasure.

  8. This is an incredible history! Kudos to you for the acclaim this quilt had acquired. It is a true vintage looking beauty.
    That is crazy how it bled after having used prewashed fabrics, and also having been washed before. But in my opinion, it is an heirloom!

  9. Wow, what a story and what a quilt. It is spectacular and I can imagine it being such a success for you. It has had its ups and downs (really!) and reading your blogpost I thought well, it really looks like an antique now (the part about the faded fabrics) before you said/wrote it. It really does, it has a gorgeous patina now (I hope that is the correct word for what I am trying to say). The bleeding fabrics, oh my, that must have been such a shock, so glad most of it came out. But the cotton batting... I always use 100% cotton batting and never have had a problem, I love using it for hand quilting. I use very thin batting that is available now but it may have been a different story at the time when you quilted this. Things have changed so much over the years. So has this quilt and it has 'aged' beautifully!

  10. Kyle, your Broken Star quilt is absolutely stunning! I loved reading about it and all the recognition you've received. The picture on the Denver Capitol is fantastic. There's nothing worse than discovering fabrics that have bled. Ouch! I think your well-loved quilt deserves a new binding :) Thanks for a great post!

  11. Wow.. what a story, and what an emotional roller coaster! I agree, the overall result is stunning - simply an aged version of the freshly completed quilt. I wonder which cotton batting you used that was so hard to quilt through.

  12. This quilt has a beautiful story and has lived a life of glory and a bit of sadness. Whatever happens to it, the story will continue on in print and you are very lucky to have that. Oh, enjoy your quilt to the fullest!

  13. What a fabulous quilt and superb story. I feel as if I may have seen your actual quilt in years past while looking through one publication or another. The washing story was hard to take, but those '80's fabrics were so much more fugitive than today's. I am thankful for the invention of color catchers (although I have no idea how or why they work). I wish more people would post older quilts they have made. I thank you for sharing this sensational quilt and story!

  14. This is such an exciting story. The recognition and travel this quilt has seen is marvellous. It is still an exquisite quilt and I'm glad you're sewing new binding on and this quilt will come out from its 30 year storage. I hope you can once again enjoy this thing of beauty you have made.

  15. Very interesting story. I remember the Blanche Young book. I don't know if I had a copy of it at one time or not. I can only think of one Lone Star that I made. Well, I took a class in the early 1990's to make one but the instructor was not very helpful and I ended up tossing what I was working on. The quilt you made does look antique and worthy of new binding.
    Have you thought about making Edyta Sitar's "Stars Upon Stars" quilt pattern? I think you would do a marvelous version of it.

  16. Oh WOW! What a quilt and what a story! I gasped at the Japan connection. That is so cool. I remember going a couple of times to the quilt show at the state capitol with my Grandma - what a spectacular setting - but it was after the time of your quilt, and before they stopped doing that show. Anyway, I hope you can use and enjoy your quilt with or without new binding!

  17. Wow! That is one heck of a Cinderella story! Like you said....the bright side is that it now has the antique look you were aiming for...and can be snuggled under and enjoyed! :-)

  18. I can only imagine how heartsick you were to have that happen to your beautiful quilt! What a thrill to have it do all that traveling and be selected as a "cover girl" as well. It's a treasure for sure and a great story.

  19. That really is a special story. Lots of ups and downs. Glad you still have the quilt.

  20. What an amazing story about an amazing quilt. As long as there is a fragment of this quilt left there will be beauty there.

  21. what an amazing story and Congratulations on making such a fabulous quilt as this! It is really special and well done and the quilting is fabulous.
    How exciting to have a famous quilt.
    I know all about bleeding and is painful especially on a the whole quilt. :(
    I was just thinking as I read, well now it really does look antique.
    My humble opinion, keep the binding, keep it all original and display it with pride. It is a wonderful quilt

  22. Thank you for sharing your beautiful quilt and wonderful story! It definitely has that well-loved look - I can just image how nice it would feel to wrap up in it!

  23. What a great story! So sorry about the issues with your quilt, but it really is an amazing fabulous quilt regardless.:) I often think that I want to make one of these masterpieces, but wowsers, the intimidation factor is huge! Can't believe you made more than one!

  24. Oh my goodness - what a storied quilt! And what a treasure! It seems to have traveled just about a much as you :D.