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The Yellow~Ribbons Project - Quilters who care

Date: Thu, 20 Jun 2002 23:37:03 -0700
From: Gaye Ingram <gingram@tcainternet.com>

I wonder if anyone has a photograph or knows the location of a
photograph of
a Kansas quilt.

In August, 1999, I encountered a remarkable quilt made by a Ms. Herr
Manhattan, KS. It was part of an exhibit at Beach Museum, Kansas
University, Manhattan, KS.

Ms. Herr, who had retired from work in textile design field, had
incorporated into a most original design some tiny Dresden Plate
blocks from
Depression era, made by her mother, who was Native American. The
themselves were typical of the time, but the maker's daughter had
them into windblown flowers on a quilt that incorporated her Native
heritage---rather pictorial in nature. It was an extraordinary quilt
and I
corresponded briefly with the maker about securing a photo. In a
changeover, her address was lost.

There was a quirky story that went along with the quilt. When Ms.
mother had died, her sister, Ms. Herr's aunt, had refused to let her
the little blocks because she was not a quilter. Auntie said she
would make
them into a quilt for her niece. In time, the aunt lost her sight.
Yet even
then, she refused to yield the blocks. Upon the aunt's death, Ms.
Herr got
her mother's blocks. By then she was retired and had become
interested in
quiltmaking. These little (maybe 3-4 inches in diameter) blocks
became the
genesis of a really extraordinary quilt.

Talk about a quilt that "spoke"---well this one had a voice so
entrancing I
have been unable to get it out of my mind.



Date: Thu, 20 Jun 2002 23:51:43 -0700
From: Gaye Ingram <gingram@tcainternet.com>

The quilt mentioned in earlier posting was made by Charlotte B. Herr
titled "Thank you, Kiamitia Comel."


Date: Fri, 21 Jun 2002 10:29:39 +0000
From: "Karen Bush" <karenbush11@hotmail.com>

I do believe, you've hit the nail on the head.
WE have the luxury of the process. The 'feelings' and love for the
art of
quiltmaking and luxury of the appreciation of the difference.
My livliehood now depends on the craft. It always has from time to
now, it's the Only income I have.
there are times when I need to really 'turbo' quilt to get them out
timely, but, the lack of workmanship isn't even an issue. I still put
time and trouble and love into them, just stay up all night to get it
instead of cutting corners. I don't need to worry about a Humongeous
to 'crack the whip' so to speak to get 'numbers' out of the
That's what it is to the retailers who import these quilts. Free
merchandising and, yes, to the people who can't afford our precious
works of
art. Can WE even afford them?? noooooo...not usually, but, we can
admire, droool (it's legal), and still have a hope of 'one of these
having one, or, ten.
I think the issue initially started knowing these were sweat shops,
and simple and it broke our hearts to know of the conditions of their
working establishments in certain countries,etc.
Quilts aren't the Only products made under these conditions, it's
that it was our focus, initially to know that's how they were being
the broo-ha-ha over the Smithsoian and 'OUR' designs. Well....3
cheers of
'us' and our compassion for these slave-like conditions for these
women/girls/elderlies , but, taking them off the market, or trying to
taking bread from their mouths. Allowing their income to disappear,
to continue. ??
the more I read, hear and myself, think, about what I've thought of
quilts, the 'nose turned up' position,...the more I wonder if it's
Of Course it is. I'm speaking for MYSELF, now, I'm Not pointing a
finger at
Anyone but me.
My MOTHER owns 2 of these. When she refers to her quilts, she'll
preface by saying "I know you don't want to talk about them",
but....gooooooood grief, have I gone THAT far in my attitude and
closed my
mind to the fact, this is FABRIC, it WAS a principal, turned into a
turned into just plain 'ole closed mind-edness (I just made up a word
the purpose, haha)...
It's the same principal as the factory worker here. I'm SURE
people would
rather be in a Mercedes plant making the gorgeous, hand rubbed,
seated, custom ordered beauties, than......an Edsel. but, that's
their job,
that's the job they could get, it paid the bills, fed the family and,
can hold their heads up, and say "we did the best that we could with
we had to work with" to raise and feed our families.
Same as when the machine quilted quilts started appearing at quilt
shows....should have seen MY NOSE then! In 'up' position, walking
away like
the devil was pursuing me. Now....I look at these gems and wonder
head was. Because they were 'allowed' to machine quilt instead of
quilting, they've mastered the art from the MACHINE and I've seen
some of
the most GORGEOUS works of art!!!!!!!
I can't Afford these, but, can admire, learn and, yes, Covet.
Don't you think, the imports from China are the same? Some of these
have never seen a beautiful quilt, and, what if they did? It would
make their circumstances/feelings even worse knowing what THEY had to
opposed to true beauties, just to make their living.
My Dad worked at the Ford plant.....he sure would have 'rather had
Buick'. Same premise, I think.
From now on, I'll focus on educating, and leaving MY opinions out
of it as
far as people asking me. As in:
Instead of telling them to NOT buy, save up for a 'real' quilt,
might never happen)...to.....it's nice colors, it's what you wanted,
....it's not that you don't appreciate the difference but to Have one
at $35
instead of $350....then,...GO for it." (just don't ever wash it
might be on
my lips)
We're talking Lincoln Continental, and, let's face it, we could ALL
the dream and realize it at some point if we tried.
THEY'RE talking survival, plain and simple. It's just a shame that
they're sold so well and the sweat shops continue, the children are
still in
slave-labor conditions, but, let's face it. That's what they know,
right or
wrong. WE can berate, but, are WE willing to pay them what they
DESERVE/knock them out of their only jobs,....just to make a point of
'artistic integrity'...?
Whew...I've used more than mono-sylabic (can't spell it) words! Are
impressed??? haha...and, just went on and on, sorry. It's 5:30 in the
morning. kb


Date: Fri, 21 Jun 2002 10:41:13 +0000
From: "Karen Bush" <karenbush11@hotmail.com>

I have a question about silk quilts. I have a dealer who has a Log
Cabin, I
haven't seen it yet. It's entirely made of silk. He needs/wants it
quilted. egads.
What would you put for the backing?? Cotton sounds a little,
uh...not in
keeping, but,...would you use a silk backing? Silk batting?
If you would...could I get your name and phone number for him to
call YOU
to quilt it!??? hahaha
It's a vintage, but, don't know how old, etc. He's bringing it in
weekend. He 'says' it's mint, no breaking, shattering,....but, I
warned him.
There might not be any visible shattering, the quilting needle and
might ruin That. Am I right in assuming the fragility (there I go
again with
multi-syllable) and would cotton de-value?
Of course, there again, it's a matter of opinion, I suppose. What
'de-values' for one collector, might not make a difference to
another. Just
trying to get some info before I see him. kb


Date: Fri, 21 Jun 2002 07:17:49 EDT
From: Kittencat3@aol.com

From what I've seen, silk Log Cabins weren't quilted. They were tied
to a
backing. I've heard of velvet and cotton being used. Maybe a
backing would be nice?

Lisa Evans


Date: Fri, 21 Jun 2002 12:54:35 -0500
From: "Steve and Jean Loken" <sandjloken@worldnet.att.net>

>I recently purchased a Double Wedding Ring quilt top from the 70's,
just to
>have a representative double-knit fabrics of the era. But it is a
>object, no life>>>

Gaye, What that quilt would say to me is that a woman was so anxious
create something of beauty even though 100% cottons were not
affordable to her that she sat and made it with what she had on hand.
Not to say that I would buy or display it, but that's just what I

> The wonderful, heartwrenching, uplifting "America from the
>Heart: Quilters Remember September 11, 2001" exhibit will be seen
>the Midwest, for the first time, at the Indiana University Kokomo
>Gallery 23 February-30 March 2003.
Xenia, I know Minnesota might seem like the far west to you, but we
just had
the traveling show you so movingly describe here for our show which
ran June
12-15. It was indeed a spell binder. But since I grew up in New York
City I
had a very hard time looking at them. The ones which showed hope and
universal love were OK, but the ones which represented the actual
forced me to turn away. I guess it's just too soon for me. I also
turn away
from the many re-running of the videos on TV. I will make my own
honoring Sept. 11, but a bit later.

Jean in MN

Date: Sat, 22 Jun 2002 06:07:20 -0400
From: Pat and Jim <jimpat@attbi.com>
Karen Bush wrote:

I have a question about silk quilts. I have a dealer who has a Log
Cabin, I haven't seen it yet. It's entirely made of silk. He
needs/wants it hand
quilted. egads.

Egads is right. Old silks are very unpredictable. You are right in
thinking that they could shatter under the needle. Why does he want
this quilt "finished"? Is he planning to use it? If so, Yikes!

Tell him that old quilt tops are often more valuable to collectors in
their unaltered, pristine state. I have a collection of antique silk
log cabin blocks which I take out every now and then to admire and to
appreciate, but alas, they are already visibly shattering, so I will
not attempt to transform them into a quilt.

What would you put for the backing?? Cotton sounds a little,
uh...not in
keeping, but,...would you use a silk backing? Silk batting?

Have you priced silk lately or checked on its availability? The cost
would "break the bank". I would suggest a cotton sateen backing, if
you can find a store that sells more than just fat quarters of the
fabric. The sateen weave makes it look like a luxury fabric, but it is
cotton and thus has more durability than other possible choices for a

Pat Cummings



Date: Sat, 22 Jun 2002 06:41:09 -0400
From: Pat and Jim <jimpat@attbi.com>

Good morning!

It is only 6:10 a.m. and probably too early to be relaying profound
messages. I just read Karen Bush's long post re: the luxury that
Americans experience in the process of quiltmaking, and I wanted to

Karen said:

WE have the luxury of the process. The 'feelings' and love for the
art of
quiltmaking and luxury of the appreciation of the difference.

What seems to be lacking in imported quilts is a connection to the
nameless, faceless person who made the quilt. Not only is the pattern
a "knock off" of traditional American patterns, but we don't even
have a clue as to who made the quilt, or under what conditions it was
created. There needs to be more accountability. If we were living in
a perfect world, there could be. I fear that most companies are
looking at profit margins. It would take too much time and too much
effort (and money) to do anything differently, even if they chose to do
so. It would be nice to dream that they could.

These would be American quilt look-alikes are like fake
diamonds.Their saving grace is that they may look good from a distance, as a
visitor ventures past a bedroom for example, but on closer inspection,
they reveal themselves as having left a lot to be desired. One wonders
how anyone could make quilting stitches that large, that crooked, or
that poorly done, on a consistent basis. Even a child with minimal
instruction could do better. Are the stitches a silent protest by low
paid or unpaid workers?

Recently, I visited a friend. Years ago, she had commissioned me to
make two quilts. She was showing me her new house and there on the
bed was a Grandmother's Flower Garden with matching sham. She
apologetically said that they were there only because her mother (the
perennial shopper) had given them to her. They looked quite colorful, and
in this age of expendable textiles, they filled a need.

I chuckled when I saw Karen's remark about not being able to afford
(our own) quilts. That is a good reason for becoming a quiltmaker.
We can have gorgeous quilts that otherwise we would just dream about,
or never have access to in our lifetimes. The one thing that the
import quilts has done is to bring quilts into many households that
otherwise would not have access to them. Surprisingly, I have had more
than one quilter tell me that he/she has purchased an import quilt for
household use, oftentimes to give to a child or teenager. Sometimes
that is a safer choice. Quilters do become emotionally attached to
their creations, and do not really want to see them used up or thrown

The whole discussion of import quilts is very rich. I suppose it is
located under a larger umbrella of the production of quilts, in
general, for monetary gain.

I don't see the issue as one of a snob factor. There is room for
everyone who loves quilts, old or new, hand made or machine quilted. I
would probably be more upset about imports if I sold quilts for a
living. The general public has come to expect an "heirloom, hand
quilted quilt" for $29.95, $49.95, tops. I could never make a living
trying to compete in that market. Most non-quilters do not have a clue as
to what goes into making a true heirloom quilt, time-wise,
skill-wise, or money-wise.

Well, I will get off of my soap box. Too early in the morning for me
to use REALLY large multi-syllabic words, Karen.

Y'all have a terrific day!

Pat Cummings



Date: Sat, 22 Jun 2002 09:38:24 EDT
From: Palampore@aol.com
To: QHL@cuenet.com (Quilt Heritage List)

My 91 yr. old mother-in-law has made a bedroom full of double knit
quilt tops
and crocheted rugs. At the same time she was also making cotton
quilts. So
it's not always just what you can afford. She could afford tons of
But, she loved double knit, especially in vibrant colors. She used
knit also because she loved to recycle things. She tore up many
pairs of
double knit pants to make these things. I'm not sure what we will do
these "treasures" when she passes..... I do know they do well nailed
to the
side of a building. There was one nailed to the side of a building
Swansboro, NC and it survived for years, and never lost it's colors
.The quilt from NY that I keep talking about has had a new
revelation this
week. ( I still can't get the time with 15 yr. old to post the
pictures, but
I will! ) While sitting at swim practice with my 11 yr. old I was
the Rhode Island quilt documentation book and a picture jumped right
off the
page and hit me in the face. On page 8 there is a lovely picture of
quilted wool calimanco petticoat dated 1770. Well, lo and behold,
the center
of my quilt began it's life as a quilted petticoat. It has the small
pattern and then the elaborate quilting along the edge. They
apparently cut
the petticoat on 2 sides. Then took the 2 rectangles they had and
made the
center seam by joining the 2 fancy stitched edges. This produced a
raw edge
seam. I never could figure out why they did such wonderful quilting
and then
did that. Now I know!!! When I came home and gave this hypothesis to
husband, he whole heartedly agreed with me. Now I am most anxious to
pictures to all of you to see if you agree.
If any of you have studied quilted petticoats I would like to know if
are stitched/quilted with wool thread. This one is.
Gotta run. Have to take my 11 yr. old to a soccer camp. My 17 yr.
old is in
TN at Bonnaroo, a Woodstock like event, and my 15 yr. old is at the
surfing. I plan to finish up a very large conservation project while
are all away for a day or so.
Promise to get pictures to you by the end of the week of the quilt.
Lynn Lancaster Gorges, New Bern, NC



Date: Sat, 22 Jun 2002 10:47:49 EDT
From: KareQuilt@aol.com

Pat Cummins wrote: <<Surprisingly, I have had more than one quilter
tell me
that he/she has purchased an import quilt for household use,
oftentimes to
give to a child or teenager. Sometimes that is a safer choice.
Quilters do
become emotionally attached to their creations, and do not really
want to see
them used up or thrown away.>>

The implications of all these possible "non-used" quilts we have been
for the past 30 years brings up a lot of fun speculation. How many
quilts do
you suppose are being made each year in the USA now? What percentage
of those
quilts are "not" being used? If our quilts aren't being used, they
wearing out. Therefore, we are going to be passing on a treasure
trove to
someone eventually (or they will be sold in an estate sale and come
on the
secondary market.) Will the next owner use them or again "collect"
them? Are
you finding many post 1970 quilts coming on the market yet from these
late 20
century family stashes? Wonder how many "collectors" of post 1970
quilts are
out there now? Are they using them or stashing them away? I can just
see it.
Someday quilts are going to take over because so few are being used
<vbg> I am just as guilty as the next person in "saving" rather than
"using." Our family has about 25 bedsize quilts my MIL made and more
that many wall hangings and/or baby quilts (that are hung on the wall
of placed over the baby - again an unused quilt). We actually have
used only
about 5 of the bed size quilts. If I make an equal amount and only
use an
equal amount gets used, we now have at least 40 unused quilts in the
Two in the next generation are already making quilts or tops, and
let's say
they each make the same number of quilts and use only the same
number, all
for the same reasons I did. Wow! <vbg>

I have to confess, I bought one imported Smithsonian quilt - the
Powers Bible quilt - but not for use. (I have seen one well used and
clumsily repaired one in an antique mall in North Georgia but did not
buy <g>)

However, my quilt did get a bit "used," but not with my permission. I
used to
store my quilts spread out on a king-sized bed in an unused room and
the cat
got up there and threw up, damaging three quilts because I did not
it for some time. The Bible quilt was one of them. Remember the
cartoon a couple of months ago:

Husband shaking his finger at the family cat: "You are a very bad

Wife: "Earl! There are no bad cats! There are misunderstood cats and
cats. But there are no bad cats!"

Wife: "So what did she do?"

Husband: "She shredded your quilt."

Wife - shaking her finger at the cat: "BAD CAT!!"

Karen Alexander


Date: Sat, 22 Jun 2002 12:00:47 EDT
From: Kittencat3@aol.com

I use most of the quilts I've made for my own household. The one
is the 14th century style linen quilt. That hangs on the wall for
the reason Karen gave: I have three cats. Need I say more?

Lisa Evans


Date: Sat, 22 Jun 2002 16:11:31 -0400
From: Kevin Champ <kchamp@nrtco.net>

Pat Cummins wrote: Quilters do become emotionally attached to their
creations, and do not really want to see them used up or thrown away.

This may be true for some, but of the quilts that I made for each of
family members..8 in all, at least Queen or King size...only 1 is
used. The rest are being kept for good...hmmm it seems a waste to
My sister has bought one or more of the import quilts that you talk
about because she doesn't want to mess up the one I gave her. She
thinks they are the same-value wise.
Its seems to me that I could have used all that fabric and made some
wonderful things for myself. It is the reason why I am not making
more..they were made to be used everyday...and to be loved.

Date: Sun, 23 Jun 2002 17:42:18 +0000
From: "Anne Copeland" <anneappraiser@hotmail.com>

I would say that traditionally the log cabins are not quilted--tied
but not quilted. He could get a backing on it to stabilize it, and a
binding to protect the edges, but then just have it tacked to keep
backing from pouching out. If the finishing is being done so he can
it, then when they put on a sleeve, have them put one on either end
so it
can be rotated. Use a full sleeve, not a half sleeve, and go through
to the
front about every 6th stitch in joining the sleeve to the front.
This will
help prevent the back from pulling away from the front when on
Good luck with it. Love and light always, Annie


Date: Sun, 23 Jun 2002 17:10:49 -0700 (PDT)
From: Kris Driessen <krisdriessen@yahoo.com>

Nancy Kirk <kirkcollection@kirk.coxatwork.com>

We often use the following technique to finish 19th century Victorian

Cotton sateen is a nice backing -- strong, yet silky to feel. Other
options are large scale vintage florals if they want to really invest
in the backing, or possibly a sensitive reproduction fabric.

Assuming the top is pieced to a foundation, you may want to add a
thin cotton batt -- I prefer Quilters Dream by Kelsul in the Request
weight -- for added strength. While many quilts from this period had
no batting, we have restored several that did use batting, do
stylistically you would not be out of period.

Then we tie from the back up through the foundation fabric only then
back out to the back and tie. This adds no new stitches to the front
to interrupt the visual presentation. If also avoids putting a
through the silk.

Silk faille is often a really nice choice for binding -- a little
visual interest, in period, and stronger and easier to work with than
velvet or a thinner silk. Sometimes you can even find a nice vintage
grosgrain ribbon -- two woven edges to work with -- binding doesn't
get any easier than that.

Hope this helps.

Nancy Kirk
The Kirk Collection

For information on the upcoming Quilt Restoration Workshop at the
Quilt Heritage Conference go to www.quiltheritage.com.


Date: Sun, 23 Jun 2002 17:19:31 -0700 (PDT)

--- Teddy Pruett <Aprayzer@hotmail.com> wrote:

Jumping into the import quilt discussion here. My
> husband reminds me, consistently, that the general
> population has no idea what they are looking at when
> they see quilts. When creating my own quilts, I go
> through phases of design euphoria, cut and sew
> delight, always followed by whining and complaining
> about everything I hate about what I am doing.
> "People won't know." He says. "People have no idea
> what they are looking at." He repeats. And I have
> found that he is correct in most instances. One
> has only to listen to the comments from the
> attending public at any quilt show to realize the
> degree of ignorance/innocence regarding quilts.
> Typical example: I was standing near one of Libby
> Lehman's great pieces one time, heavily thread
> painted on a basically black ground -- a couple of
> ladies were studying it intently, and one said" I
> don't like this one at all. It wouldn't go on my
> bed." I was absolutely stunned - I wanted to roll
> on the floor, but couldn't decide whether to roll in
> hysterical laughter or agony. (Lady, this quilt
> ain't about YOUR bed!!!)
> I say that to say this -- one of my greatest
> frustrations is seeing the garbage imports being
> sold as antiques and/or heirloom quality. In my
> experience as an appraiser, I've had one lady bring
> two matching pineapple log cabin quilts that were
> "handmade by a lady in the North Carolina Mountains"
> - that were imports. Yet another couple lovingly
> unpacked their treasured quilt from the acid-free
> box and tissue papers - it was an import. I worked
> at a wonderful upscale planned community in the
> Panama City Beach area on Memorial Day weekend, and
> a local antique shop owner asked me to do a
> walk-through and advise her on sales prices. Her
> "centerpiece" quilt, hung in the spot of honor, was
> an import. Before the weekend was through, yet
> another lady brought me a denim and white Hunter's
> Star - an import. The most heartbreaking thing was
> that she had paid SIX HUNDRED DOLLARS for that
> quilt. I was just sick over it. I've also had
> people bring in the no-longer-Amish AMish quilts for
> appraisal. Oh, my. Give me a good old beat up
> vintage quilt anyday. Keep these other things away.
> I have begun to carry a cross and a silver bullet
> in my appraisal bag to ward off these things.
> As long as the quilts are for sale, they will be
> sold. Period. Teddy Pruett, Lake City, FL.
Teddy Pruett <Aprayzer@hotmail.com>


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