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Monday, July 13, 2015

Deana: Weekend Progress

After years and years (7 years actually) of working (and not working) on this quilt it finally is quilted and has the binding attached.  I will get the handwork done on the binding before July is out.  

You probably noticed that this quilt is in the banner along with three others like it.  This quilt is a family heirloom (or will be).  My mother, her two cousins, Ann & Marie, and myself set out on an ancestry journey to recreate our Great Great Great Grandmother Dorinda's quilt.  Add an extra "Great" for me as I am a generation behind them.  Grandma Dorinda was an amazing woman who made this quilt in 1892 when she was 84 years old.  Unlike my grandmother who took only six weeks to hand quilt hers, mine has taken much longer.  Two years after Dorinda's death the Sunburst Quilt won a first prize at the 1897 Pioneer Jubilee Fair in Utah.  

Grandma Dorinda dyed her own fabrics from local plants.  Because of this, my mother and I hand dyed our fabrics using Dharma dye products.  It was fun and just felt right.  We hand appliqued all of the flowers and vine.  We paper pieced the "sunbursts" and joined them together using curved piecing methods.  I recreated the pattern from the photo below.  It took some intense study and designing to re-create the sunbursts.  I literally enlarged the applique until it was the size I wanted and then traced it off.

Below is a picture of the original Dorinda quilt.  You can see that each of us did ours a little bit different and none of us put the yellow/black border between the blocks or did half blocks at the top.  While our colors are all similar to Dorinda's, all of us made a few changes.  I added purple flowers, Mom has a yellow dyed background, and Marie did hers on black.  

Ann added some ancestry photos to the centers of her flowers and changed the style of her flowers.  Dorinda is pictured below.

Ann's mother Marian and grandmother Mamie are pictured.  Mamie is my Great Grandmother whom I knew well and loved deeply.  I lived with her for two summers during my college years.

The bond I have with Dorinda and my mother's cousins is so strong because of this project.  My quilt, after years of sitting with one border left unquilted, is finished because my mom insisted that she would finish it for me.  I am trading her work on her horse quilt.  So, that just makes it that much more special.  Thanks Mom!

I went back through old posts and decided to make this little timeline for this project:

2008 Fall (August-ish) four of us began this project - Marie, Ann, Lyn, and Deana.  None of us live in the same city and are actually two or more hours apart.

2009 February - Marie had two sides appliqued.  She placed a quarter on it to show how small her pieces were.  Ours were much larger.

 Look at the size difference as Marie and I worked on our own together one day.  Can you see it on her lap?

 2009 March 27 - Ann had two sides appliqued

2009 April 9 - Lyn (Mom) had three sides appliqued and had a good start on the 4th

2009 May 12 - We had a piecing retreat where we met at Marie's and began paper piecing the center blocks.

2009 Dec 1 - Mom's top is done approximately 1 1/2 years after starting.

2010 April 19 - Ann's quilt is hand quilted and finished - 20 months after starting.  She had help from her sister Dorine and her mother Marian among others.

2010 May 28 - I finished my top approximately 21 months after starting.

2010 May 9 - Mom's quilt is hand quilted and finished - 21 months after starting.  She quilted it by herself.

I began quilting mine on June 20, 2010 and had to take it off the frames with one border left in November 2010.  Mom even came and helped me quilt a couple of days.  I quilted on it for 5 months.  I had a commission quilt that needed hand quilted so I bumped it ahead of Dorinda.  It took mom all of 1 week to finish it for me.

2011 February - Marie's finished and hand quilted - 2 and 1/2 years after starting.

Ann and Marie's sister, Dorine, did not make the Sunburst quilt with us, but she did re-make one of Dorinda's quilts.  It is shown below.

Several years back the five of us traveled to Southern Utah to Pine Valley where Dorinda lived the end of her life.  We found the church where Dorinda attended and her grave.  It was a most meaningful and memorable trip.


  1. Deana, Congrats on finishing your beautiful Dorinda quilt. It is amazing! I will always cherish the quilt journey we had while working on our Dorinda quilts. It was a great bonding time for us and also a time to learn new skills and cement our love of quilting. Thanks for your well done blog entry and your encouragement to all of us.

  2. Oh what an amazing story. This read along journey over the years is a beautiful one and should be treasured. How fantastic to unite a family like this. Beautifullllll

  3. Oh, what a wonderful story - how nice that you were able to do this, and each in your own way! They are all beautiful!

  4. Oh what a trip down memory lane. I am in tears!! What fun times we had working on this project!!!
    Your quilt is amazing. I love your quilting designs. I really sets it off.
    I am in the process of quilting the Pine Tree for my granddaughter, Melissa. Hope to be able to post it soon.

  5. Deana, I have thrills running up and down my back and tears in my eyes reading this. What you all did is simply incredible! Each of you are surely amazing women and are to be congratulated! What a journey! Your quilt is so stunning just to look at it, but knowing the story behind it makes it a jewel beyond price!

  6. Wow! I would be impressed if ONE family member re-created Dorinda's quilt, but that so many of your did and that, as a family, you took on more than one pattern is nothing short of breathtaking!

  7. Love the family photos pieced into that one border! I plan to do that with a pattern I found about a year ago....put photos of the women in my family starting with my great grandmothers. You can see some of the documentation of some of the quilt in my collection by googling Quilt History Reports. I don't actually make quilts very often but I did reproduce a 1876 Centennial quilt with 74 different patterns in it along with 17 other quilters here in the Pacific Northwest. They all hung as a juried exhibit at the Houston IQF in October 2018 and Chicago's IQF in March 2019. It took me 3 years to make that thing!!! But I am so glad I did it. Keep up the good work!


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