Silk Stars of the Bluegrass

Silk Stars of the Bluegrass

I have always been fascinated with 19th century quilting from Kentucky. Being a docent at the Smithsonian, I show two exquisite Kentucky quilts on my tours. One belonged to Mary Hise Norton of Russellville, Kentucky in the second quarter of the 19th century. It was donated to the Smithsonian in 1981 by Mary’s great-granddaughter, Mrs. Bonita Abernathy. I was overjoyed when AQSG decided this year to celebrate 19th century star quilts. I have wanted to work with silk and this project gave me the challenge. “Blazing Stars” was totally hand-pieced and hand-quilted. I am a machine-quilter and so my quilt is machine-pieced, machine-appliquéd, and machine-quilted. I backed the silk with stabilizer before cutting it for ease of use. “Blazing Stars” had stuffed work flower and foliage motifs. I used wool batting behind digitized machine embroidery for my stuffed work. The greatest part of this project for me, however, was locating Mrs. Abernathy and discussing the quilt with her. She is 87 years old and resides in Kevil, Kentucky.