Doves in the window

My aunt gave me this quilt that has been in the family for years. I’m guessing that it comes from the 1870’s - 1890’s. I’m not an expert on these things, though. In some writings in the early 1900s, this pattern was called Doves in the Window. My ancestor didn’t do it as doves, though.

It’s a mixture of fabrics, but silks and wools are both in it. Some of the diamonds are very worn. Obviously, it’s not a quilt you use. It’s a quilt you treasure and pull out to look at.

I decided that I wanted to take the star pattern and make something to use. So, after a friend helped me identify Doves in the window, I decided to give English paper piecing a try.  This is not a difficult pattern to figure out. It’s made up of two sizes of diamonds. The bigger one has to be twice the size of the smaller one. I did 4 inch and 2 inch, but it would work with 3 inch and 1.5 inch, 6 inch and 3 inch or other sizes.  

Here it is, spray-basted and ready for the next step.

And here’s my finished quilt. Obviously, my goal wasn't to copy the original, although I don’t rule out doing something very similar sometime in the future. I did this as a medallion. First I put the star together with English paper piecing. Then I put on batting and backing and extended this out on all sides as far as I thought I might want to go. The challenge was to figure out where to go from there, and I took it one step at a time. I added the dark green border, then I decided to take the lightest green from the star and combine it with squares of the backing fabric for the next round. After that, I wanted to bring the blue back into the quilt and I also wanted to use the print fabric from four of the large star points. I stewed over that for a few days and finally decided on squares with blue sashing. Finally, I put a binding on it from the backing fabric. I did free-motion quilting. Let’s just say that you can tell a beginner in FMQ did it, but I like it very much.

© Janet 2013