We’re now in the downhill stretch of The Star’s monthly quilt project, “Where Poppies Grow … Remembering Almo,” which honors those who served in World War I.
The quilt also tells the story of Almo Ebenezer O’Kell, who served his country in Koblenz, Germany. O’Kell’s correspondence and photos have been preserved by his family and provide a rich history of his work as a medic with Field Hospital No. 3 and the First Division under Gen. John J. Pershing of Missouri.
Each month, along with a new quilt block, we’ll share a piece of Almo’s story.
Today, Block 7: “French Star.”
The Nov. 22, 1918, Stars and Stripes headline read, “Letters Home Now May Mention Town and Give All News,” and Almo soon started telling the folks back home his whereabouts. He had survived some of the heaviest fighting of the war, and in one letter he wrote, “We sure did run a foot race with the Kaiser.”
The First Division led the American Army of Occupation as it began moving into Germany to disarm and disband the German forces. Many of the occupying soldiers stayed in private homes in towns they passed through. Almo commented on his accommodations in a letter, writing “… so you see we live in good homes in Germany” and that they had “the best of rooms.”
On Dec. 4, Field Hospital No. 3 entered the town of Traben-Trarbach in Germany. Almo stayed at the home of a wealthy wine merchant while waiting for his orders. While there he wrote, “I sure had some time! He had two daughters and two sons and we were visiting nearly every night to some other dealer’s home.”
The “Poppies” quilt was designed by Denniele O’Kell Bohannon of Louanna Mary Quilt Design, Harrisonville, and Janice Britz of Bee Merry Farms, Peculiar, as a tribute to Bohannon’s great-grandfather, Almo Ebenezer O’Kell. Angela Walters of Quilting Is My Therapy in Kearney did the free-motion quilting.
BLOCK 7, ‘FRENCH STAR’
Block size: 14 inches finished
5 inches by 9 inches red fabric
10 inches by 12 inches blue fabric
17 inches by 19 inches background fabric
10 inches by 8 inches green fabric
2 inches square gold fabric
10 inches by 8 inches fusible web
Black embroidery thread, optional
31 inches brown bias strip (previously made)
From the red fabric, cut:
1 (41/4-inch) square (E)
1 (23/4-inch) square (B). Cut the square from corner to corner twice on the diagonal.
From the blue fabric, cut:
4 pieces using template (A)
4 pieces using template (Ar)
1 (2-inch) square. Apply fusible web and cut 1 circle from template 2.
From the background fabric, cut:
4 (31/8-inch) squares (F)
1 (5-inch) square (C). Cut the square from corner to corner twice on the diagonal.
3-inch by 8-inch rectangle. Apply fusible web and cut 8 ovals using template D.
2 (31/2-inch by x 91/2-inch) rectangles
2 (31/2-inch by 151/2-inch) rectangles
From the green fabric, apply fusible web and cut:
34 leaves using template 3
From the gold fabric, apply fusible web and cut:
1 star using template 1
Sew a blue A piece to red B triangle. Press toward the blue. Sew a blue Ar to the right side of a background C triangle. Press toward the blue. Stitch the two together as shown to make an A/Ar/B/C unit. Make 4. See Fig. 1.
Stitch an F background square to either side of an A/Ar/B/C unit. Press toward the background squares. Make 2 rows. See Fig. 2
Stitch an A/Ar/B/C unit to either side of a red E square. Press toward the red square. See Fig. 3.
Sew the three rows together. See Fig. 4.
Place the ends of the D ovals at the intersections of the blue triangles. The fuller side of the D oval is toward the center. Fuse and appliqué the ovals in place as shown. See Fig. 5.
Sew a 31/2-inch by 91/2-inch background rectangle to the top and bottom of the center block. Press toward the background. Sew a 31/2-inch by 151/2-inch background rectangle to the sides of the center block. Press to the background. See Fig. 6.
DOWNLOADING THIS BLOCK ONLINE
This block will be available as a free download for one week at the online home of Kansas City Star Quilts, pickledish.com. After that, the pattern will be available as a download for $3.95.
The supply list for the entire quilt and the pattern for the laurel wreath applique will be available as a free download at pickledish.com throughout the year.
LOOK FOR BLOCK 8 IN H+H ON AUG. 17.
COMING: A ‘POPPIES’ QUILT DISPLAY
As part of the centennial observance of the start of World War I, The Kansas City Star and the National World War I Museum at Liberty Memorial are offering an opportunity for readers to exhibit completed versions of the 2014 Star Quilt at the museum in June 2015. Stay tuned for more information on how to submit entries.