Michigan Quilt Project
Michigan Quilt Project

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Mary Schafer Quilt and Ephemera Collection

Lafayette Orange Peel
Mary Schafer, piecer
Flushing, Genesee County, Michigan
Cotton with polyester batting
85 x 100
MSUM# 1998:53.48
Photo by KEVA, all rights reserved Michigan State University Museum

Often colorful mythology has arisen around the naming of quilt blocks or patterns. The story behind this tribute to Marquis de Lafayette can be found in Dolores Hinson’s A Quilter’s Companion. The mythology of this pattern speaks of an honoring banquet in Philadelphia. Oranges were served, and Lafayette divided the skin into four parts with his knife before peeling the fruit. A young woman asked for the skins as a souvenir, then took the peels and arranged them into a pattern for a quilt design. Found in the quilting designs are a fleur de lis, a symbol of King Louis XVI’s aide to the colonies, and thirteen stars to represent Lafayette’s service during the American Revolution.

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