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"Trail of Tears" -- Road to Oklahoma Quilt Block

by SueJean
(Dot Lake, Alaska, USA)

This is my 19th completed quilt. I usually don't buy new fabric, but I fell in love with these animal prints so I bought 4 jelly rolls (2 prints+2 blacks). I spent more than a year trying to figure out what quilt block would work the best when I saw a mock-up of a "Road to Oklahoma" in similar colors.

The pattern called for 72 blocks when I started, but I didn't want to waste any fabric so I decided to up-size to 90 blocks. Quickly figured out I needed 3 more animal prints and more black so I headed off to JoAnn's for more. No animal prints in stock so I found three "animal-like" prints and bought 15 inches of each.

I made the quilt in three separate panels and quilted each one by doing stitch-in-a-ditch around every black piece with gold thread. The backing is a goldish-brown sheet.

When I sewed the quilted panels together I was underwhelmed with the whole project. It just looked BLAH to me. I decided it needed a border. I was trying to figure out what would go with the animal prints when I started to think about the "Road to Oklahoma" and how the Cherokee nation was forced/marched to OK and they called it the "Trail of Tears" as many people died along the way.

Brainstorm: native American inspiration came in the form of some scraps I got from the thrift store.

I pieced all the scraps together with some other scraps to make the quilted border and added it to the center.

One challenge was the three lines of machine embroidery I used as the quilting on the border. My grandmother's old machine would get so hot after one line of stitching, I would have to stop. I cleaned and oiled that machine three times in the course of doing the embroidery and prayed I wouldn't kill the machine before I was done.

Second challenge: the mitered corners on the border. Never did that before but I found a cool trick on YouTube worked like a charm. The binding is fussy cut from the same native print scraps to bring the darker colors to the top edge.

The quilt finished at 80" x 90" and it took me almost exactly a year between lots of other projects but I love the end result.

P.S. Someone said every quilter should try a "Road to Oklahoma" block quilt. I'd have to replace "should" and say "maybe once, never again!"

Comments for "Trail of Tears" -- Road to Oklahoma Quilt Block

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Jan 20, 2018
by: Anonymous

Your comments reminded me of something funny about this particular quilt. I learned how to make HST's from a quilting challenge but vowed never to make a whole quilt from them. Then, less than a year later I made this one. Lesson learned: "never say NEVER!"

Thanks for your comments!

It's nice to be "noticed". ;>}

Jan 19, 2018
by: Ingrid Scharmann

great quilt! Very interresting and I can see how much of thought went into it!

Aug 04, 2017
by: Karen

I just love this quilt and know EXACTLY how you feel about hoping your machine doesn't give out before you're finished. Love reading about your journey making it!

Awesome quilt!

Aug 03, 2017
by: SueJean

I've found a lot of great teachers on the internet. I only wish I'd started years ago as my list of "projects" grows almost weekly. Thanks for your comment!

Aug 03, 2017
Very Nice
by: Sue

You should be very proud of yourself, especially if you are self taught. That is a very pretty quilt.

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