Thursday, March 12, 2020

This Westering Woman has Reached the Final Destination!

And just like that, at around 1:15 a.m. today, the final stitch was put in the binding, and my version of Westering Women is now a finish!

Warning - photo-heavy post follows.  And since it was a gray and muddy day outdoors, all photos were taken inside, and before the quilt had its first bath to remove the quilting markers. 

I am loving the back as much as the front, just wish you could see the true beauty of the two buttery yellow tone on tone fabrics used, though my old camera has not cooperated all that well.  Most of the photos are a bit washed out on the lower right, probably due to the light from the windows.  Flash or no flash, not much difference.

Truly, I think I love the back just as much, or maybe even a bit more than the front.  The quilting shows up so nicely and the loft from the wool batting. And I loved that lone block that turned out too large for the front - just had to include it somewhere!

The Westering Women quilt was a block of the month quiltalong on Barbara Brackman's Civil War Quilts blog from 2016. Here are the blocks I made during the BOM, in no particular order:

Lastly, a rogue block, when a bit of rebellion against 13 set-in seams occurred.  Dirty snowballs seemed an appropriate substitute to me, since those weary travelers likely encountered muddy snow conditions in the final late autumn mountain passes before reaching their destination in the Yamhill Valley. 

A number of scenarios for my intrepid traveler went through my mind as I stitched the very scrappy blocks.  My Westering Woman began her journey as a single young woman traveling with her sister's family.  She had apprenticed with her aunt, an experienced midwife in the Allegany Mountains of the western New York-Pennsylvania border, and knew she would be able to support herself if necessary once she arrived in Oregon. She met and later married a young man from a neighboring county who also traveled with the wagon train, in charge of driving the second wagon for his brother's large family. Her little bundle of fabric scraps came from dresses of her family and friends back east, each a remembrance of a loved one who she was unlikely to see again in her lifetime.  She stitched her blocks during the first cold winter months in Oregon in the tiny cabin her new husband had hastily built when they arrived, and after they harvested their first crop of wheat he brought home a length of fabric as a gift, enough for her to fashion a new dress and enough extra to border her quilt.
She accepted a lovely wool fleece in payment for delivering a neighbor's baby that next summer, and commenced to quilting her completed top. 

Quilting with wool batting was a dream, so easy compared with cotton, and I love the look of the Baptist fan pattern.  I used Aurifil 12 weight thread, doing what I call a little big stitch.  I wondered what the wool shrinkage would be, and was happily surprised that it was not as much as some of the most recent quilts made using a Pellon cotton batting.  The quilt finished at 80x65 inches before washing, 77-1/2 x 62-1/2 after a cold water wash and 30 minutes of air dry, followed by 15 minutes on the delicate setting in the dryer.  It's finishing drying on the guest bed and I'm planning to sleep under it tonight.  

This was my second oldest UFO.  Now to finish the quilting on what seems to have become my personal albatross quilt - my king-size Quilty 365.   Maybe if I persevere, by the end of this year?  Time will tell, but I'd love to see that one in the finished column soon!


  1. Oh, this is wonderful! I love it all--and the Baptist Fan design is perfect. Great quilting, and the back is excellent.
    I enjoyed the story of your Westering Woman.
    One day I will have to try hand quilting on a wool batting.

  2. Each one of those blocks is beautiful, and your Baptist Fan quilting is absolutely gorgeous! I think I agree with you about liking the back best. I've never tried wool batting, but I may have to investigate that a bit someday. Quite a lovely quilt! ---"Love"

  3. You are probably sleeping right now under this beautiful quilt. I have loved it since I first started following you here. I also enjoyed the story of your Westering Woman. I hope she lived a long happy life and made many beautiful quilts.

    1. I did sleep under it last night, and will again this weekend as it's getting colder again. I may flesh out the story about my pioneer girl and make up a little book for my granddaughter to give to her along with the quilt someday.

  4. Oh it is so beautiful! I love each block but I m jealous of the Muddy Snowballs, so imaginative, as is your story. It's interesting how this project evoked stories in our minds as we sewed and your story is so realistic and delightful.

    I love the buttery backing, and your exceptionally lovely Fan quilting.

    Sleep well under WW on this blustery pouring rain night, and forever through the winters to come.



  5. Congrats on that beauty! I love those Baptist Fans...oh, the texture! I've never hand quilted on wool batting but I've heard it's heavenly. Someday I will have to give it a try. I like the picture of the quilt with that dreamcatcher, painting and other decoratoins on the wall in background. I liked the story of your westering woman. I have some stories of women ancestors who immigrated from Ireland and homesteaded in Iowa in the 1860s. Yeah, I'm sure they experienced a lot of snowfalls and dirty snow!

  6. Just a lovely quilt--the texture that shows beautifully on the back is just gorgeous...nice work hugs, Julierose

  7. Your story is wonderful and full of life and memories. While I love the blocks...that back is so soft and wonderful it is my favorite! So glad you got this hand quilting done and turned into this treasure.

  8. What a gorgeous finish. The texture of the quilting is beautiful and does show up wonderfully, especially on the buttery backing. Love the story you imagined while making this quilt. Enjoy sweet dreams under your new quilt.

  9. A lovely finish. I'm almost done hand quilting mine. I hope it turns out as good as yours. Hugs

  10. Your version is beautiful...and the Baptist Fans quilting is gorgeous. Well done!

  11. oh.. so very lovely and snuggly, with the wool batting and hand quilted fans .. I just love it! And what a sweet story to pass along to your granddaughter with the quilt.

  12. Great finish! I love the back, too! That quilting, and that lone block making a statement!!!

  13. Congrats on a wonderful finish! Love the Baptist Fan quilting and the block you put on the back :) Thoroughly enjoyed your Westering Woman story, too. Now I'm really tempted to try a wool batt!

  14. A terrific finish and congratulations! It's a great feeling to take those last stitches in the binding. The hand quilted baptist fans are perfect! Sweet dreams sleeping under your beautiful quilt.

  15. Congratulations on a great finish! The quilting is beautiful too! Such a treasure!

  16. So happy for you on such a beautiful finish! With the wool batt it will be lovely to sleep under summer or winter, with the wicking ability of wool to keep you comfortable.

  17. Thank you so much! I'm loving sleeping under this quilt.


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