Worcester Beauty Blessings

By: Kay Butler
Denton, Maryland
Kelly Kout
Bowie, Maryland

Our inspiration quilt has its origin in Worcester County on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. Its maker is unknown. We were drawn to its rich colors and unusual designs. From where did the quiltmaker obtain her patterns? Perhaps she had been impressed with the grandeur of Album quilts produced by her Baltimore friends and wished to add her own personal touches as she designed her quilt. She did a masterful job of organizing and balancing the designs and we attempted to do the same, choosing blocks that represented all techniques used in the original quilt.

The design repeated in all four corners is Apple Pie Ridge Star, identified by Mary Robare in Quilts and Quaker Heritage and by Barbara Brackman as True Lover’s Knot, Conventional Scroll, or A Kansas Pattern. It is found on a number of quilts with Quaker lineage and may have been named for an area north of Winchester, Virginia called Apple Pie Ridge, which was home to large apple orchards and presumably many apple pies. Quaker families resided in both Worcester County, Maryland and Winchester, Virginia in the 1850s and may have shared the pattern.

When our appliqué was half finished, we looked ahead to plan how we would quilt our project and zoomed in on a digital image revealing a straight, gridded pattern. Despite previous written documentation of all the fabric being solid, it was evident under high magnification a green fabric had a tiny design on it! Could it be the original maker chose this green because it “read” solid? We don’t know but it was effective. While it was a surprise, we learned each quilt presents unexpected learning opportunities, if we keep our minds open to discovery. We greatly appreciate Deborah Cooney’s permission to use her quilt for our study.