MQP Chimney Sweep Quilt Reproduction Project

Lavina Fedderly's Quilt

Have you ever found an old quilt at a garage sale, estate sale or in your attic and wondered where it came from and who made it? In 2013, The Minnesota Quilt Project (MQP) received a donation of just such a quilt, made from blocks in the "Chimney Sweep" or "Album" pattern. Although tattered and faded, the quilt caught the attention of fabric buffs in the MQP group because it contains 69 different print fabrics typical of the latter half of the 19th century. Further inspection revealed an exciting clue! One of the blocks carries a faint inscription with the words "Lavina Fedderly, Kilbourne City."

MQP members wanted to bring life to the quilt by investigating its history. Research at revealed that Lavina Lewis was born in 1856 and completed her education through the eighth grade. In 1878, she married Alfred Fedderly who worked in a livery stable. Census data documented that the Fedderlys lived in Kilbourn City, a town originally platted in the 1850s. Kilbourn City was renamed Kilbourn in 1895 and finally Wisconsin Dells in 1931. Lavina and her husband were buried in a cemetery there.

Lavina's timeline led us to believe that the quilt was likely made between 1878, the year Lavina married, and 1895, when the town Kilbourn City changed its name to Kilbourn. Members of MQP who are quilt historians confirmed that the fabric used in the quilt support this time frame.

Although Lavina's quilt was likely made in Wisconsin, Lavina had a Minnesota connection as well. Between 1778 and 1898, Lavina had four sons and one daughter. She was widowed in 1914. Census records from 1920 indicate that Lavina lived with her youngest son Henry and his family in Minneapolis. The city directory lists the address as 2017 11th Ave. S. Lavina was listed as a seamstress.

After Henry's death in 1933, Lavina worked as a housekeeper for a family in California and later for a gentleman in Illinois. She passed away at age 87 in Illinois.

MQP organized a project to reproduce Lavina's quilt. Members of MQP and Minnesota Quilters volunteered to make blocks using reproduction fabrics. The quilt was hand quilted in a pattern similar to the original. The reproduction quilt was displayed side by side with the original at the Minnesota Quilters, Inc. Annual Quilt Show & Conference in 2017. A pattern for the quilt is available; contact [email protected].

Lavinia Fedderly Chimney Sweep Quilt - Original
Original Quilt
Lavinia Fedderly Chimney Sweep Quilt - Reproduction
Reproduction Quilt
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