We’re now at the halfway point: Block 6 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 6: “My Country.”
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In early November 1918, German delegates crossed over the Allied lines seeking a truce. The armistice that allowed peace negotiations to take place was signed at 11 a.m. Nov. 11.
The combat mission of the American Expeditionary Forces was over. It became the soldiers’ duty to move into central Germany to disarm and disband the German forces. Pershing had to build the German occupying force using the troops under his command. On Nov. 14, the Third U.S. Army was designated as the army of occupation with Maj. Gen. Joseph T. Dickman as commander.
On Nov. 17, the American and Allied forces began to slowly move toward Germany. Soldiers marched in worn-out boots and uniforms through mud and rain. They had come straight from combat. The few trucks they had often broke down and would be stuck for hours waiting for repair.
Almo’s unit, Field Hospital 3, was moved by truck. The unit arrived at its temporary camp, a bombed-out French barracks, late one night. He wrote home: “We saw the campfires the troops had built in the camp and for the last 10 months they couldn’t even have a light at night in their sleeping quarters unless they were about 100 miles from the front line.” None had been that far away.
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 6, ‘MY COUNTRY’
Block size: 14 inches finished
3 inches by 9 inches red fabric
15-inch square blue fabric
13 inches by 33 inches background fabric
10 inches by 8 inches green fabric
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:
2 (21/2-inch) squares (C). Cut the squares from corner to corner twice on the diagonal.
1 (17/8-inch) square (F)
From the blue fabric, cut:
4 pieces using template B
4 pieces using template D
1 (2-inch) square. Apply fusible web and cut 1 circle from template 2.
From the background fabric, cut:
2 (33/4-inch) squares (A). Cut the squares from corner to corner once on the diagonal.
1 (21/2-inch) squares (C). Cut the square from corner to corner twice on the diagonal.
2 (33/8-inch) squares (E). Cut the squares from corner to corner once on the diagonal.
2 (31/2-inch by 9 1/2-inch) rectangles
2 (31/2-inch by 15 1/2-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
Stitch a background A triangle to the longer side of a blue B piece. Add a background E triangle. Press toward the blue piece. Make 4 of these corner units. See Fig. 1.
Sew a red C piece to a blue D piece. Stitch a background C piece to a red C piece and stitch in place as shown. Press all seam allowances toward the darker fabric. Make 4. See Fig. 2.
Sew a corner unit to either side of a D/C/C/C unit. Press toward the blue. Make 2. See Fig. 3.
Stitch a D/C/C/C unit to either side of the red F square. Press toward the red square. See Fig. 4.
Sew the three rows together as shown. See Fig. 5.
Sew a 3 1/2-inch by 9 1/2-inch background rectangle to the top and bottom of the center block. Press toward the background. Sew a 3 1/2-inch by 15 1/2-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 7 IN H+H ON JULY 20.
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.