Several years before the start of the Civil War, Adaline Frost of Southington, Connecticut, made two crib quilts featuring the Star of Bethlehem – one for son James W. born in 1856 and one for son Lewis E. born in 1858. These crib quilts were among nine family quilts donated to the New England Quilt Museum by Jack Reese, the great-grandson of Adaline and Lewis H. Frost.
I chose James’ crib quilt for my inspiration quilt because I loved the visual impact created by the center star with whirling fylfots and the peony flowers in the setting pieces. This crib quilt also provided me with the challenge of my first appliqué work and the opportunity to learn more about the family. I was delighted when another participant selected Lewis’ crib quilt as her inspiration quilt so that the quilts would be exhibited together. We have had great fun researching and sharing information about the quilts and their families.
Adaline Frost must have been an accomplished quiltmaker and loving mother to make such an intricate and beautiful crib quilt for her son. The center star was perfectly pieced and the appliqué work finely done. In honor of Adaline and her son James, I chose to reproduce James’ crib quilt using 19th-century reproduction fabric. I created a pattern and templates to duplicate the design and size of James’ crib quilt and then constructed my study quilt without the use of a sewing machine. I was able to obtain a detailed sketch of the hand quilting so that I could duplicate the quilting design as well.
I have to admit the appliqué process was more difficult than I had anticipated due to the small size of the pieces. The corner blocks and setting squares certainly looked larger in the photo than in reality. It would seem Adaline enjoyed the appliqué process, since she incorporated appliqué pieces into the crib quilt she made for her next son.
Apparently Adaline also instilled a love of quilts in her children as the crib quilts survived all these years in very good condition and remained with family members until donated to the New England Quilt Museum. This was a good reminder to pass the love and care of quilts to my family members so they may survive for future generations.