Tulip Stars – Batik Makeover Edition

Tulip Stars - Batik Makeover Edition

As a quilt appraiser, historian and lecturer, I am constantly on the lookout for fabulous quilts to add to my trunk show inventory. What better excuse for a purchase than the AQSG Quilt Revival Study. After participating in 2010, I was eager to try it again and quickly found an unusual vintage tulip quilt with a subtle star design (my favorite motif). But I kept looking, like Goldilocks; I didn’t want to start sewing only to find the ‘just right’ quilt the next week. I wanted a unique and interesting design from that era with strong visual appeal; not a well-known appliqué or popular pattern.

The main pattern of the vintage quilt is “Mountain Star” from Home Needlecraft Creations, a “kit quilt” but not a common design. I’ve since found several examples, all with the same colors, block arrangement and quilting patterns but none with the giant tulip border so it is unique after all. With the clearly different workmanship, it appears that a later quilter added the border to frame the piece. A rather clunky fix which I didn’t want to duplicate yet didn’t quite want to lose the funky flavor. A piano key border with some of the fabrics that didn’t make into the flowers is, I hope, a more visually pleasing ‘frame’ that doesn’t overwhelm the central design but adds interest to the appliqué pattern.

At over 20 inches, the original blocks were bigger than many of my finished quilts, so I reduced them to 10 inch blocks. Of course, that made the pieces much smaller so I simplified the pattern from 87 to a mere 51 hand appliqué pieces per block. Then I moved on to fabric selection. I’m a 19th century girl and have lots of reproduction fabrics from that century but not many from the 1930’s. So while I often closely reproduce my inspiration quilts; this time it was fun to jazz things up with contemporary fabrics. I kept the basic color palette of the original but updated it with saturated batiks and a lightly printed background for a fresh modern feel.

With the countless hours spent on design decisions — I understand why this is called a quilt STUDY and I’m beginning to see the appeal of kit quilts.