Discovering the stories behind a quilt or a collection of fabrics can be an interesting process. When Maria’s Sky arrived, it looked like a typical reproduction fabric. The collection is designed by Betsy Chutchain for Moda Fabrics, and the colors are a deep red, indigo blue, brown, and cream. There are both large-scale and small-scale prints. There are five different quilt kits we carry that have a nice, traditional look. The Maria’s Sky quilt kit has a real Americana feel that includes red and cream bars and blue stars. It comes in one of the lovely boxes from Moda, and it feels like opening a treasure chest to find the fabric and pattern inside.
As I was drafting a social media post about the kit, I popped over to the Instagram feed of @betsy_chutchian to see what she’d posted about her line. Betsy shared that these fabrics are “Named for Maria Mitchell, the prints in this collection date back to 1840-1860. Maria - pronounced Mariah - was an astronomer, mathematician, active suffragette, and anti-slavery activist.”
I’m definitely interested now!An internet search led me to the Maria Mitchell Association website and a biography about Maria. I encourage you to read the entire article, but here are some highlights:
- • Born 1818 in Nantucket into a Quaker family
- • Discovered a comet in 1847
- • Awarded a gold medal by the King of Denmark
- • America’s first professional female astronomer
- • Professor of Astronomy at Vassar College
[Image: Portrait of Maria Mitchell (Maria Mitchell Museum)]
I loved learning more about “Miss Mitchell” and the importance of the Mariner’s Compass and stars in the quilt pattern. Following the link “For Students and Teachers” led to even more information about this groundbreaking woman and a list of books for further reading. I find myself wanting to schedule a trip to Nantucket so that I can visit the museum and learn more about her life and legacy.
[Image: Maria Mitchell, standing at telescope, with her students at Vassar]
Check out Moda’s blog for even more information from Betsy about these fabrics and the quilts she designed for the collection.
Visit the Maria’s Sky collection page on our website, and try to see how Maria Michell provided inspiration for these fabrics and quilt patterns.