We’re up to Block 8 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. 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 8: “Winged Square.”
Orders came to Field Hospital 3 on Dec. 11, 1918, to proceed to the Rhine River. The trucks first had to cross the Moselle River before they could reach the Rhine.
The shortest route involved going across a pontoon bridge at Traben-Trarbach. But the trucks were too heavy and had to be rerouted to the town of Cochem to cross the Moselle. “It sure was beautiful to see but awfully cold!” Almo wrote.
He arrived in Koblenz the next day. “We had to await orders to cross and stayed there about an hour. We crossed the Rhine as the First Sanitary Train of the First Division at 11:53 a.m. We had only seven minutes in which to cross as the First Division had to be across by noon.
“We have the honor of being the first U.S. troops that ever crossed the Rhine. It is not known in history of any other that ever crossed it before in the history of the German empire.”
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 8, ‘WINGED SQUARE’
Block size: 14 inches finished
8 inches by 16 inches red fabric
9 inches by 11 inches blue fabric
1 fat quarter background fabric
10 inches by 8 inches green fabric
1 (2-inch) 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:
4 (21/8-inch) squares (C)
36 (1-inch) squares (F)
4 (11/8-inch by 35/8-inch) rectangles (G)
From the blue fabric, cut:
1 (35/8-inch) square (E)
36 (1-inch) squares (F)
1 (2-inch) square. Apply fusible web and cut 1 circle using template 2.
From the background fabric, cut:
2 (31/8-inch) squares (A). Cut the squares from corner to corner once on the diagonal.
2 (31/2-inch) squares (B). Cut the squares from corner to corner twice on the diagonal.
8 (1 inch by 35/8-inch) rectangles (D)
2 (31/2-inch by 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 background D rectangle to both sides of red G rectangle. Press toward the red. Make 4. Set two DGD units aside and sew a red C square to both ends of the remaining DGD units. See Fig. 1.
Add a background B triangle to the two DGD/C units as shown. Press toward the triangle. See Fig. 2.
Sew a red F square to a blue F square. Make 9 pairs. Stitch 3 pairs together to make a row containing six squares. Sew the 3 rows together, creating a checkerboard. Press all seams open. Make 4. See Fig. 3.
Making sure a blue square is in the lower left corner, sew a background A triangle to the long side of the checkerboard unit. Press toward the triangle. Make 4. Set two aside and add a background B triangle to both ends of the checkerboard. Press toward the B triangle. See Fig. 4.
Stitch together the remaining DGD units, checkerboard/A units and blue E square to make the center row. Lay out and stitch the rows together 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 toward 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 9 IN H+H ON SEPT. 21.
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.