• Gracie Carmichael

A Quilt For Orchard House - 'Expanding Stars' from Emily Dennis of Quilty Love

If you aren't taking your love for Little Women to the next level and crafting your way through period drama, you're doing it wrong.

Quilting is one of those sacred hobbies that makers pour hours of patient love and devotion into, and in the past few years, there's been a real resurgence of quilters who make up the world of 'modern quilting.' For generations, society has taught us to associate the hobby with a demeaning picture of "old ladies" and old-fashioned methods, but now we have millions of modern quilters of all ages finding the same bliss in the thoughtful work as our predecessors found in their time.

I learned how to quilt a few years ago, while I was still in my teens, and immediately I fell in love with the technique and the skills it fosters in the careful hands and curious mind. The resulting product of the time, love and effort is more than a bed-throw; it's your creation, from the hand-picked fabric to every stitch binding your work together.

One of my favorite quilts that I've made in the last few years is the 'Expanding Stars' Quilt, designed by Emily Dennis of Quilty Love. The pattern is incredibly unique, straying from the usual basic repeated block-patterns, and it's beginner-friendly, which was a help to me when I was first figuring out the quilting process. I fell in love with the version Emily created from Riley Blake's Sweet Prairie collection, and I set to finding as much of the original print that I could, finding similar substitutes as necessary.

The colors are so attractive to me, evoking a seaside, cottage-y, New England kind of warmth. It has always distinctly reminded me of Little Women; I recall reading it again under that quilt, and have such fond memories attached to it. It seemed to have come right out of Orchard House, where the story primarily takes place. When I first saw Greta Gerwig's recent film adaptation (and let's face it, I've seen it tens of times since) I couldn't help noticing all of the hand-sewn quilts featured around the house as props, and it solidified my secret claim that my own quilt truly would fit right in on Beth's sickbed, or might've been taken to 'Camp Laurence' by the girls for a beach-side picnic.

As for the making of the quilt, I used a straight-line pattern at 1" apart to quilt together the layers of backing, batting, and quilt top, and I think it gives a really nice, traditional feel. The finished quilt is 80x80", made in Large Throw size, which fits nicely over a Full bed.

The fabric featured in the quilt was primarily from Riley Blake's Sweet Prairie collection, with the exception of the center yellow and the red floral, which both came from Jo-Ann fabrics.

My "quilt for Orchard House" is one of my favorites that I've made. I can use it as bed throw, or a personal blanket for reading Alcott under, or bring it along for a picnic. The pattern from Quilty Love features many sizes, and I had so much fun making this one that I may have to make a small one for wall-hanging!

Are you a quilter? I'd love to hear what you're quilting at the moment, or what you're reading under it! :)



Links to Materials & Resources:

Expanding Stars Pattern from Emily Dennis of Quilty Love:

Quilty Love's Sweet Prairie Quilt

Similar Fabric to the Red Floral:

Similar Fabric to the Central Yellow: