Wednesday, March 27, 2024

Kentucky Classic #1: Kentucky Reel & Amanda Estill Moran

Kentucky Classic #1: Kentucky Reel by Becky Collis

We begin a rather complicated applique block of the month series for 2024 today with the first block of our Kentucky Classic.

Becky C. will be glad to tell you how many little points you have to tuck in the buds.
You could leave those edges smooth or see the actual pattern below with a "More Casual Approach."

The inspiration: a Kentucky quilt associated with 
Amanda Malvine Estill Moran (1810-1888)

The Kentucky project recorded this applique quilt attributed to Amanda who lived in the Paint Lick community in Garrard County, Kentucky.  There are relatives to the quilt, a true Kentucky classic.

Read more about Amanda Moran's life at this post:

 We have 9 blocks planned. This is the first which can be set in two ways.
Our pattern based on Amanda's.

Her center floral, a Kentucky Reel, we can call it.

English actress Fanny Kemble came to America in the late 1830s and attended a small party where
she danced an English Country Dance that was familiar---"What they called a Kentucky reel, which is nothing more than Sir Roger de Coverley turned Backwoodsman."

The family member who brought in Amanda's quilt for documentation forty years ago thought it might be an original pattern. It does show the rather spontaneous and quirky composition of an artist placing design elements to suit herself.

But since then three almost identical quilts have been discovered: Same design units of roses, rose trees, carnations and a golden flower we are calling a goldenrod. Each has a similar 8-lobed floral in the center, which is the first pattern in our series to celebrate the extraordinary quilts of Garrard County.

This year's block-of-the-month will be more complicated than most because Becky Brown, Becky Collis and I are each showing a somewhat different quilt. 


The regular 9-block setting 
A 45" square quilt with 15" finished blocks.

I have adapted the components to a nine-block square---a 14/15" block every month through 2024. Every other month we'll show you the medallion format too.

Ms. Collis is following Amanda's ideas with a medallion style pattern and some applique that will cover seams. The medallion plan uses every other block, 1, 3, 5, 7.

Sizes and shapes change for the medallion. Edge blocks are rectangular and Block #7 will be layered over other blocks' seams.

Becky Brown's medallion with Kentucky Reel in the center.

Becky Brown is going off on her own with much additional applique!
We'll show her progress every other month. It's going to be spectacular.

Kentucky Classic #1: Kentucky Reel by Becky Brown
She's added a few things!

Ms. Brown designed a medallion format like Amanda's.  


Kentucky Reel 
Pattern for the block-by-block quilt.
For the medallion set enlarge the pattern by 213%.

An even more casual approach to the floral bud in a quilt Barb Eikmeier found in Missouri

Years ago Terry Thompson did a stand-alone pattern for 36" blocks.

The late Martha Skelton of Mississippi may have used Terry's pattern
for her four-block quilt.


Cover of Quilters Newsletter
November/December 1983

Ever since we put this quilt on the cover of Quilters Newsletter forty years ago I have wondered how two such similar quilts came to be. The cover quilt was supposedly from Massachusetts, but I doubt it.  And here is a third that collector Polly Mello found in an online auction.


QNM cover
You could add a rather loose serpentine vine around the center if you liked.
Looks risky, though, getting it to flow.
We'll be looking at many cousins here over the next 8 months.

Meghan Leslie's version of Deb King's pattern

Do look at our Facebook group where I'll post some other reproduction quilts inspired by Amanda's.

You can buy the pattern at my Etsy shop for $12 and see where you want to go with it.

And here's an introduction to the pattern:


cityquilter grace said...

oh my...gorgeous and a complicated block indeed...would love to attempt but alas, the UFO list is weighing me down and they are things that sing to me as well...must needs finish them first i guess..

Lady Locust said...

I agree with Grace but Wowza! I don't even think I would attempt it as the chance of completion would be next to nil. Phenomenal quilts!

Janet said...

Completely impossible to resist - I just started another applique BOM but I will have to do this one too!!

Barbara Brackman said...

Good for you Janet. It's not as hard as it looks ---Either 9 different blocks or 1 center block & 4 x 3 others.

Dorothy B. said...

wow. This is impressive. I printed off the pattern to start, but I am going to only increase to 113%, the size of 213% is too big for me. Now off to choose my colors. Looking forward to this pattern.