Saturday, November 21, 2020

Around the Block - US Tour - North Dakota


Welcome to my 2nd design in the U.S. Tour of Quilting Around the Block Event. If you missed my Apple from Washington you can find it here. The entire list of designers with block links is here.

So why am I designing a block for North Dakota?
My grandfather was born in Alsen, North Dakota -- a first generation American. 

I found this on the internet from 1916
-- included in the Jubilee Celebration Booklet of the town of Alsen in 1980

 This photo is Jacob (my great-great grandfather, d. 1911) with his wife, Barbara (Peters) and one of their daughters (Nettie).  He was one of two brothers who came to America in the late 1800s. The brother--Gerhard, had settled in Delft--near Mountain Lake, MN.

One of Jacob and Barbara's sons, also Jacob, is in this picture with his wife K(C?)atherine (Peters--but different lineage than her mother-in-law) (my great-grandparents) on their Golden Wedding Anniversary in California. So this is likely the Jacob J. Baerg mentioned in the above booklet exerpt. 

My grandfather had already been born by the time the account above took place. So he was probably running around as a toddler on the farm (see below).  

The town of Munich (less than 10 miles away from Alsen) had their jubilee celebration in 1975 and included in the booklet it talks about another Baerg owning property along the railroad.

This image c.1913 is near Munich of the Peters family (Katherine's parents and siblings/spouses/children) and includes my grandfather --the little guy sitting on his Grandpa Peters lap.

My great-grandfather's sister - Margaret moved from Mountain Lake, MN in 1900 to Otter Creek, ND with her husband John Jacob Wiebe. Here they first built this sod shanty that I got to visit back in 2004. The family homestead gravesite is still nearby. 


Later that summer a rock house was built from sandstone and the roof covered with sod (photo below c.1907 after Margaret had died).

c. 1914-15 on the same homestead.

Another family homestead (likely one of the children's places as they started out on their own) in great disrepair in 2004.

One of the last big trips my dad took across the U.S. (2015) before his passing (2018), included going to North Dakota and driving through the town of Alsen (what is left anyway).

The family (great-grandparents) migrated to California when my grandfather was a young boy and our family had 2 more generations there.

A favorite memory --Grandpa would always have a can of nuts that he shared when I was up on his lap when we would go to visit him in the Bakersfield, California. And later in life, I still had a special connection with my Grandpa.

While reading the account in the family history, one of Margaret's son's described seeing something wet like syrup running down the side of the barn, turned out it was honey. "So as Grandpa Baerg was a Bee Man, he built a hive and soon we had our own honey!"

When looking at what North Dakota is known for, the thing that struck me was honey! It is the largest producer in the nation. As a farmer, bees are critical!

So, I do have a special place in my heart for this state and was excited to be able to design a block to represent the state of North Dakota. I thought a honeycomb would make a fun block for this project.

Ordinarily for English Paper Piecing, we sew the hexagons together. But I felt without sashings the honeycomb effect would not be as clear. 

So, for this iconic style, just make the hexagons and applique them down.  Batiks or wool will work best if you choose to not finish the edge, but any fabrics would work if finishing the edges. The pattern includes a page to print the hexagon template and a placement guide.

I chose to use freezer paper which made this quick and easy to form the hexagons with finished edges. Put the waxie side of the freezer paper away from the back side of the fabric. Press the edges over the freezer paper towards the waxie side careful not to get the iron on the wax (just the fabric) and let it cool in place. The freezer paper will peel away when you're ready to stitch it down and leave the crease.

To transfer the design onto black fabric, I took a pin and stuck holes at each corner and a couple in between each corner, then took a white chalk mechanical pencil and marked through each hole the design onto the fabric. This made it easy to set the prepped hexies onto the black fabric and pin in place.

If you do a finished edge, you might use a big stitch, machine stitch, or do a hidden ladder stitch to sew them in place. I just did a straight stitch less than 1/8" from the finished edge.

Order Fabric kit here $3.00 plus applicable tax and shipping (first class parcel). Kit will include (Northcott Toscana Sunglow-531 and Double Dipped Solid Black) with printed pattern and freezer paper. FREE shipping for orders of at least $75 in merchandise.

Be sure to get in on this!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The past two weeks:
The next two designers:

Thanks for stopping by!


  1. I do like this design so much, At the moment I am stuck on the Blue Ridge Lace Pattern, with foundation piecing. Your story is wonderful and to have all those old photos is such a treasure.And the later ones too, what great memories.I like batiks, so will edge my honey cells with a diagonal stitch from my Bernina.

  2. Thank you! I enjoyed the history - always makes the blocks special.

  3. I love the history you gave as well as your block!

  4. Wow! This morning I got up early and was cleaning up the bookmark list of quilt blogs on my browser. I think you are going to be blown away! I read your history post and realized that you and I are may be part of the same family tree! If you'd like to see where the trees intersect, I'd enjoy sharing my ancestry tree with you. Please email me

  5. Thank you for sharing your family history. As an East Coast girl I find it fascinating all the information I'm learning. We all learned about the states in school but not the tidbits like North Dakota is the primary producer of honey in the US, I did know about the farming. I'll never forget that fact with this block.