October 19, 2015

La Grange Community Quilt

This quilt was made in 1979 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of La Grange, IL, a western suburb of Chicago.  

It hung in the La Grange library for quite a while, and then was in storage during and for a while after the library's move to a new building.  The library is now ready to hang the quilt again, and they contacted me to help spruce it up.

We decided not to risk actually washing it, what with all the varied embroidery threads and trims.  So I gave it a good vacuuming.  It was really dusty!  Lots of times, when I vacuum quilts, I imagine that I can hear the quilt breathing a sigh of joy - but this time, I'm pretty sure I really saw the colors get brighter again!  (Visit this post for instructions for vacuuming quilts.)

I also tacked down some of the appliques that had come loose, and made and applied a new sleeve. 

The quilt was too big for me to photograph at all once - 87" x  106".  Here it is in two photos.

And here are the blocks, with details of some so you can see the creative choices of fabrics and embellishments. (Click on the photos to enlarge.) If you do an image search for La Grange, you'll see photos of some of these buildings, and you can see what a marvelously realistic and detailed job these ladies did.

Check out the creative choices of fabrics and trims and creative embroidery which altogether do an amazing job of recreating the textures and structures of these buildings.  For reference, the oval scenes are about 18" wide.

 The central section is stuffed to round out the turret.

 I love this choice of fabric for the stained glass.  It shows up in other blocks, too.

 The porch railing and sunny flower garden - perfect!

 The little striped awning, and embroidered textures.  The bushes are stuffed.

 The corners of the building are created just with the embroidery.


 Here's another great porch railing.

 This is the former library, the quilt's first home.

 A Frank Lloyd Wright house with great window boxes.


 This is probably my favorite embellishment.  The crenelations are bits of 1/4" double-fold bias, tucked under the appliqué.  How clever!


 Nice chimneys!


And this final block commemorates a long-time La Grange tradition - the annual pet parade.  The librarian who brought the quilt to my house said this summer's was the 65th annual parade.
Now that's a tradition!

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