MQP Chimney Sweep Quilt Reproduction Project
from the website of Minnesota Quilters
Have you ever found an old quilt at a garage sale, estate sale, or in your attic and wonder where it came from and who made it? Minnesota Quilt Project (MQP), a committee of the Minnesota Quilters guild, was recently presented with a quilt that was old but was not in very good shape. There was no label to identify the maker or where it was made.
MQP member Carolyn Silfow wanted to bring life to the quilt. She first noticed that one of the chimney sweep blocks was inscribed with “Lavina Fedderly, Kilbourne City.” To investigate the date when the quilt was made, Carolyn looked online at Ancestory.com and found out that Lavina Lewis was born in 1856 and married Alfred Fedderly in 1878.
This first clue indicated that the quilt was probably made after 1878. Then Carolyn discovered census data revealing that the Fedderlys lived in Kilbourn City, which was platted in the 1850s.
Further research revealed a second clue: Kilbourn City was renamed Kilbourn in 1895. Thus, the quilt was likely made before 1895. The town of Kilbourn was later renamed to Wisconsin Dells in 1931. Lavina and her husband were buried in Wisconsin Dells.
These two clues about the family lead the group to believe that the quilt was likely made between 1878 and 1895. Several members of MQP who are expert quilt historians confirmed that the fabric used in the quilt support this time frame.
MQP is leading a project to reproduce this quilt using the same Chimney Sweep block. Members of MQP and Minnesota Quilters are making the blocks. The original tattered quilt and the reproduced quilt will be displayed side by side at the Minnesota Quilters, Inc. 37th Annual Quilt Show & Conference , June 11-13, 2015 in Duluth.
Thanks to Minnesota Quilters for sharing the story of this remarkable project!