quilthistorylogo.gif (6848 bytes)


Home Page


Join QHL  
Member Links  
Quilt Restoration  

Study Groups









Quilters Find a way to care

Subject: RE: Marvel Seal/Marvelseal source From: "Margaret Geiss-Mooney" 

Good evening, QHLers - Marvelseal (both 360 and 470 - differences  explained below from catalogue exerpt; please note spelling) is also available  from University Products (www.archivalsuppliers.com):

Marvelseal is an aluminized polyethylene and nylon barrier film.  New MarvelsealAE 470 is an aluminized polyethylene and polypropylene  barrier film. Both resist the transmission of water vapor and other atmospheric gases. This economical, flexible and easy to fabricate material is used  for passive humidity controlled shipping or storage bags. In addition, MarvelsealAE is ideal for lining the inside of shipping crates and  exhibit cases, and for lining shelves with the objective of decreasing  off-gassing from exposed wooden surfaces. It has also been used to create a sealed framing package and to create a low oxygen environment to treat insect infestation. Archivalsuppliers.com has had the manufacturer remove the standard red printing because tests have shown it may oxidize.  MarvelsealAE 470 is more easily heat sealed while Marvelseal is more puncture resistant. Marvelseal 360 48" wide X 10' $31.55 Marvelseal 360 48" wide X 50' $81. Marvelseal 470 48" wide X 50' $81.

Please note that University Products stuff won't have the red printing  on it. Yes, the stuff is sorta pricey but is well worth it if you think  about how many years it will last. I am also a fan of heavy-duty/freezer  aluminium foil (hold up to the light first to make sure the piece doesn't have any pinholes in it).

Regards, Margaret (Meg) Geiss-Mooney Textile/Costume Conservator Professional Associate, AIC mgmooneymoonware.net

>>You will be glad to learn that you can buy Marvel Seal from museum suppliers. Talas (http://www.talas-nyc.com/) carries it in 3 roll sizes. I recently used it to seal cardboard carpet rolls for textile storage. I used a heat gun, rather than an iron, to fuse it.

ROLL  48''x 10' $22.50 48''x 50' $67.00 48''x 0yd $355.00

Wood is not a good medium for textile storage. That said, needless to say, there are lots of museums with wooden display cases that have had to "retro-fit" them. I also was asked to design a storage/ worktable designed with drawers which would hold fragile silk show quilts in one layer - not folded. The only cost effective medium was wood. To retro fit wooden display cases, the wood has to be sealed with at least 3 coats of water based polyurethane, then another barrier is placed between the wood and the textile artifact. 

One such barrier is a product developed by the US Army: Marva-Seal 360. This is the laminate used to seal the "meals ready to eat" - No I am not kidding! this product has been used successfull by several major museums to create long term packing crates for traveling textile exhibitions - and may have also been used for display cases, recently. It is a fairly new material. It is recommended as a "fix" for old storage units by the conservation folks at the US Park Service. The problem is that the maufacturer, Ludlow Corp. sells it by the thousands of yards! To get some, you need to locate the local distributor and beg about 10 yards! 

The sales reps are really nice guys and are usually willing to procure some for non- profit museum use, etc. In fact they are intrigued by such uses! It really is wonderful stuff - you just iron it on to the wood! It is a three layer plastic/aluminum combination. Another effective barrier is acid free museum board cut to fit the inside of the unit and glued in place ( hot melt glue is archival), or sheets of aluminum foil. The important point here is that the wood must be sealed to prevent the acids from leaching onto the textiles. A few sheets of muslin just won't do it. 

Also, look into "green" kitchen cabinets. There are now several lines of pre-fabricated kitchen cabinets made for builders who build eco-friendly housing. There is sub- industry which caters to those with extreme chemical sensitivities - people who are literally "allergic" to the th century. I have long thought that these might provide safe storage for museum artifacts. Newbie Richardson>>


Subject: seeking organic natural fabrics From: "Linda Heminway"

Hi! This is a off topic, but so many of you are into fabrics and fabric sources, I thought I would ask here. I have found many sources of fabrics on line that are made from bamboo, hemp and organic silk and cottons. I was wondering if any of you had experience working with any of it? Also, are there organic and all natural threads? Pure silk comes to mind. I am planning a very special vest/outfit dedicated to the near-extinct Ivory Billed Woodpecker. I would very much like to make a vest or 3/4 sleeved jacket using only eco fabrics. I want the fabric to be soft and "drapeable" and possibly black or have a sheen to it if it's in an all natural un-dyed state. It should be for evening wear vs. day to day. I've not bought or worked with them before, considering the expertise here - maybe one of you have a resource for this kind of fabric and have worked with it. Sorry about being off topic, but you guys are such a knowledgeable group... Also, has anyone, anywhere, seen a fabric with the V shaped recycle symbol on it... would like to add a tiny amount in my project. Linda Heminway Plaistow NH


Subject: Re: seeking organic natural fabrics From: "Karen Evans"

I've never worked with hemp, but I've worked extensively with linen and organic cotton batts. The linen/cotton batt combination is *far* easier to needle than the usual calico, and the results can be spectacular.

I've also quilted with silk and adore it - but you have to use the right kind of silk. A smooth silk like satin, shantung, taffeta, or habotai is fine. Silk noil (raw silk) or dupioni don't work nearly as well for hand quilting.

Good luck!


Subject: Re: Baltimore? From: Barbara Burnham <barbaraburnhamyahoo.com>

Another local shop, "And Sew It Goes" in Savage Mill is also "kitting up" several of these Lovely Lane blocks (different ones from Seminole Sampler). For more information, contacts, and news, visit: http://www.baltimoreapplique.com/lovelylane.html Barbara Burnham Ellicott City, MD

...Seminole Sampler in Catonsville, Maryland, a great quilt shop to visit in the Baltimore area, has kitted several of the Lovely Lane album quilt blocks, so you do not have to agonize over fabric choices.


Subject: guess I should read my catalogues! From: "Newbie Richardson"

I worked on the project for which I used the Marvel Seale about 2 years ago - when it was not yet available on the retail end. Guess I should actually read all those catalogues I get, instead of putting them in the file drawer for later! I guess the Oakland Museum and a few others prevailed on the manufacturer to sell it in smaller quantities than the US Army usually buys! It is like Tyvek - originally - and still mostly - used by the construction industry. It too is a great, sewable, barrier. Actually if you know a contractor, the Tyvek they use on a job site is the same as that sold through the conservation suppliers - only it has printing on it. You just wash it in the washing machine to get the printing off. It is way cheaper that way. Newbie


Subject: Scissor sharpening From: Sandra Millett <smillettsbcglobal.net>

My apologies for sending this again--if in fact I did. Think e-mail is winning today. Anyway, I've popped in the entire message from Chris Olix of Heritage Cutlery because it's better than my paraphrasing and several of you had trouble with the attachment. Their address and phone are:7971 Refinery Road, Bolivar, NY 14715 (800-252-8452).

Sandra Millett


Subject: Re: guess I should read my catalogues! From: 

<<Actually if you know a contractor, the Tyvek they use on a job site is the same as that sold through the conservation suppliers - only it has printing on it. You  just wash it in the washing machine to get the printing off. It is way  cheaper that way. Newbie>>

Newbie- this reminds me of feedsacks, only the printing didn't come off  so easily then.

Speaking of what's old is back, a recent visit to the seafood dept.of  the grocer - owned by Safeway- a huge corp. if you haven't heard of it-  has recently returned to using brown freezer paper. They have always  used white and even given me some when the stock of Reynolds has run  out. They said they received requests all the time.

Kim Wulfert www.antiquequiltdating.com


Subject: Re: scissor ID'ing needed From: JLHfwaol.com 

I agree that the scissors are probably surgical. Depending on how wide the blade is, if 3/8 to 1/2 inch they would be curved Mayos. If narrower, they would be curved Metzenbaums. Janet Henderson MD


Subject: Back to List From: "Judy Lyons" <judy.lyonssympatico.ca> 

I have been off line since November and I am now back on line with the list. I look forward to the discussions. Judy LYons AQS Certified Canadian Quilt Appraiser judy.lyonssympatico.ca


Subject: small wonder revisited (long) From: "Lucinda Cawley"

The Eastern Shore Quilt Study Group met last Wednesday in Dover, DE to see the quilts from the collections of the Delaware State Museums. From 10 in the morning until almost 4 p.m. the curator, Ann Horsey, evoked a constant chorus of Oh-h-hs and Ah-h-hs by producing one treasure after another from storage. We had decided on a chronological approach starting with the 18th century quilted petticoats; we packed it in at 1860. It was a day in "Quilt Nirvana." The first petticoat was a creamy Marseilles silk, part of a large collection of textiles donated by the Loockerman family. There is strong provenance for many of the items we saw. A second petticoat from the same family was seafoam green lined in brilliant watermelon pink tammy (defined by Florence Montgomery as lightweight, plain weave worsted, often glazed). The Quaker McKinley family petticoat (3rd quarter 28th century) was seafoam silk lined with indigo tammy. A salmon colored silk petticoat had a bright yellow lining. The silk petticoats all displayed elaborate botanical designs. Finally there was a late 19th century black silk quilted petticoat (vastly different from its exuberant ancestors). 

The first quilt we looked at, donated by the Lookerman family (c. 1870) was made from two seafoam silk petticoats; the back was pieced in indigo and pink tammy. It is quilted with silk thread and has a wool batt. It was fascinating to see how neatly the pocket openings were stitched together. A wholecloth copperplate toile (America Presenting at the Altar of Liberty, c. 1780) featuring heroes of the American Revolution is a local favorite because it includes a portrait of John Dickinson whose plantation is one of the "must see" locations around Dover. Dickinson represented Pennsylvania in Philadelphia in 1776, but did not vote for or sign the Declaration of Independence. An amazing quilt from the Quaker Richardson family is pieced of 6" squares of various pale silks (ecru, gray, green, ivory) and contains quilted motifs of animals: beaver, rat, birds, cows, fish. It is a beautifully sophisticated piece. 

At the other end of the spectrum but, perhaps, even more fascinating is a homespun/woven coverlet c. 1800. It is patched of many different fabrics from which the ordinary clothes of the day were made and roughly quilted. The 18th century loom on which the fabrics were woven in Petersburg, DE is now in use at the Dickinson Plantation; the docent who demonstrates on that loom was part of our group. The first patchwork quilt we looked at was a Star signed and dated in cross stitch Catharine Collins 1806. A surprising number of the quits were signed. One of the great thing about seeing lots of quilts from a single area (keep in mind that Delaware is a VERY small state, only three counties) is that you can look for stylistic similarities. It would seem that Delaware women often chose not to border their quilts; they favored on point sets often without sashing. A Sunflower quilt made by the mother of DE governor Jason Ponder is signed 1822. 

A Compass from Camden, DE dated 1840 has many elaborate initials in stuffed quilting; it is pieced in a single turkey red with a sample swag border and great quilting. A glorious Delectable Mountains made in 1845 by Mary Carpenter of Lewes contains an incredible variety of prints in brown, buff and ombre blues. 6" Lemoyne Stars (pink, brown, pistachio green, fondue blue, plaids) alternate with a red and blue floral motif on a striped buff background on Mary Loffland's 1843 quilt. A Nine-Patch variation made c. 1840 by Angelica Cowgill appears to have been quilted from the back. A Turkey Tracks signature quilt from Felton has the pattern done in white (with the corners of the design appliquéd rather than pieced) on a variety of backgrounds (a kind of negative image--very effective). There was more, but I have promises to keep. The group was in rare form that day. There were spirited arguments and good natured disputes. I learned a lot; I always have a good time when we challenge each other. I wish you all could have been with us. 

Cinda on the Eastern shore off to the beach with Harry Potter


Subject: red/green quilting From: jeanlester <jeanlesterntown.net> 

I have 2 red/green period quilts. One is flower pots (VERY large) and the red is quilted with red. The green has faded to white, but was running stitch appliqued with green and has no quilting--curious--I never noticed. The other is a four block feather design. The green was appliqued with white--I think. The red was appliqued and quilted with red. It's hard to tell because the red was poor quality cheesecloth and the green was poorer quality cheesecloth. No color left in the green, except where it's under several layers of red.



Subject: # of quilters not interested in quilt history From: "Judy Anne"

>>I have always felt a bit outcast from most of my quilting friends - most are not terribly interested in the history of quilts and quilting while those subjects have always been my passion.<<


I have found the same thing to be true. My quilting friends are great for socializing and talking about quilting but not quilt history. It appears to me that only a fraction of quilters have any interest in quilting history.

On the other hand I am wondering how many people who are interested in quilt history are not quilters. A few years ago I did a survey on a quilt history site to see how many visitors were quilters. As with all such things only a small fraction of the visitors responded but of those that did only about a half were quilters. That really surprised me. It would be interesting to know if my results would be typical.

Judy Anne


Subject: Yo-Yo question From: Alice Kinsler <alicekmbay.net> 

Hello, Dear List Members: I discovered another beautiful quilt (a double wedding ring with a blue background) yesterday for my exhibit, "From Dust Bowl to Salad Bowl: The Quilts and Quiltmakers of the Depression Era Migration to the Salinas Valley," and she also had a charming yo-yo. Though it's not technically a quilt, I am considering including it in the exhibit simply because it's such a wonderful sampler of fabrics of the Depression Era period. Might someone know of a reference where I could learn more about the yo-yo "quilt" or provide your own knowledge? Thanks, Alice in beautiful Carmel Valley


Subject: Re: # of quilters not interested in quilt history From: Blackeyesandysueaol.com Date: Sun, 7 Aug 05 22:08:38 EDT

Judy Anne, I think you are right. I am one that collects and studies antique quilts but I also make quilts. I have also found there are few "cross overs" either way. It may depend on the group. Out of curiosity when I have given a lecture about antique quilts at quilt guilds I have asked if any of them collect quilts typically 1-2 out of 50 or 60. I have not asked at my quilt study groups how many actually quilt but I know that many do not. In Baltimore Applique Society, my quilt group, most quilt, but our mission is to preserve antique applique quilts in the collections of the museums in our area and promote the art of applique. We typically reproduce an antique Baltimore Album quilt to raffle for their textile collection and trace the patterns for them to sell and to give modern quilters access to the patterns for the quilts but we also do things like direct consrvation on their quilt collections, sewing sleaves on, refolding and photographing them and assisting them with and demonstrating at their quilt shows but we also have provided the funds for the consrvation of the Dunton Archive so that quilt researchers would have access to it. So, the quilt group that I belong to also "crosses Over". I too, have found this to be interesting. Polly Mello


Subject: good books From: "kate" <kateYHTI.NET> 

heloo to all: I am new to your postings and have a question. Is there any good BOOKS  on dating and iding old quilts and textiles? my partner and I go to farm  auctions and pick up "old" quilts and fabric all the time. we have  opened a shop in central Missouri. We would like to sell the old  quilts and to offer fat quarters to those who need to fix the old quilts.  but we need top be able to id the fabric time line and to tell the  difference between old fabric and feed/flour sack fabric. any help? thanks kate 



Subject: Re: good books From: Judy Kelius <quiltsptd.net>

You will find Barbara Brackman's book on America's Printed Fabrics, 1770-1890, most helpful. It shows both antique and reproduction fabrics. Since it stops at 1890 and many of the antique quilts and pieces sold today date after that, it is not comprehensive (I believe she is planning a sequel to cover later fabrics.) Her "Clues in the Calico" is also excellent, the "Bible" on the topic, covering not only fabrics but many other factors that help you date quilts, but it is out of print and needs to be updated with new information - you will be very lucky to find a copy for less than $100.

I also recommend Eileen Trestain's book on Dating Fabrics. It shows color pictures of fabrics arranged by eras from 1800 through 1960. I always caution newcomers to be careful when dating a quilt solely based on photos of fabric in this book. You have to remember that some prints were produced for many decades, and that even today someone might use a fabric that is more than 100 years old in their quilts. You need to look at clues other than fabrics to expertly date a quilt.

Although photos help, there is nothing to replace experience when it comes to differentiating antique from reproduction fabrics. The antique fabrics have a different feel, and some of the colors are slightly different, but the repros get better every day. It is usually easy to tell the difference if you have a large piece . . . but with small pieces, even the experts are challenged to say which is which with some of the repros.

Feedsack prints are common in quilts from the 19s to 1950s, but before that time the only feedsacks you will find in quilts are plain ones often used for backgrounds or sometimes dyed, but always in solid colors. I love reading the descriptions on eBay of "feedsack prints" in quilts from the 1870s-1880s! Not!! That said, it is best to say that a certain fabric MAY be from a feedsack . . . the fabrics sold in stores were very similar, and sometimes identical, to those used in actual feedsacks. I was born in 1943 and the first garment I made when I was 10, a simple gathered skirt, was from feedsacks we bought at the farmer's market! I remember piles of these priced at $.25-$.50 each - we had to find 2 or 3 matching ones to make a skirt or dress, so that was sometimes a challenge.

I think carrying reproduction fabrics to help in restoring quilts is a good idea . . you can also find old blocks and tops (the poorly made, ugly, or abused ones) that yield pieces large enough for many repairs.

Good luck! - Judy


Subject: Quilters and Quilt History From: Joe Cunningham

I too am hungry for all things historical, and cannot help seeing my own quilts as part of this long tradition that I love to study. And I have found similar numbers of people interested in history as the others who have posted: 1 or 2 out of 50 or 60 guild members will be interested in quilt history and old quilts.

But I think it is natural and good for quilters to be interested primarily in quilts of today, rather than those of yesterday. It could be seen as an affliction, this fascination with the old. In the 19th century quilters exploded with new ideas and threw out all the old definitions of quilt patterns, themes, formats, materials. We love them for that. If they had felt more bound by tradition, like I do, we probably would have had much less innovation.

So I think it is just the way of the world, that there will be a few of us who are drawn to the old, and that there will be many more who are drawn to the new. That is why we have the QHL. Joe Cunningham in chilly San Francisco


Subject: quilts for babies From: "Lucinda Cawley" <lrcawleycomcast.net>

How common (or not) was it circa 1850 for a full size quilt to be made for, or to mark the birth of a new baby? I am looking at an elegant mid-19th century scrap quilt pieced of half-square and larger triangles, sort of like Brackman's #2338a, Old Maid's Ramble, but not exactly. It has lovely, wide chintz borders, chintzes in the large triangles and bits of lots of great 1840s prints. The initials (STW) of the grandfather (yes, grandfather), born in 1852 in Accomac County, VA., of the quilt's owner are quilted in. I am sure that the initials were not added at a later date. Comments please. Cinda on the Eastern Shore


Subject: Re: quilts for babies From: "ChrisA" <chrisajetlink.net> 

Hi Cinda, the biggest type of quilted cover I have seen made to be used by a bay, is a lap size that the mother used for nursing, a receiving quilt.

Regarding a quilt of large size, in fine fabrics, which likely took alot of time to make given the small triangles her pattern required; what comes to mind for me is the grandmothers today who are making quilts for their GC recently born, or not yet born, who will receive the quilt as a wedding gift when that time comes. GM may or may not be there, but the quilt will.

This would make it some kind of variation on the freedom quilt concept, a rite of passage raison d'etre. She could have finished it soon after his birth and put the initials in herself.

Kimberly Wulfert, PhD www.antiquequiltdating.com Email: quiltdatingjetlink.net


Subject: Re: Quilters and Quilt History From: "Karen Musgrave"

I would love to hear how people educate those not interested in the preservation of quilts.

Thanks, Karen Musgrave


Subject: Re: # of quilters not interested inquilt history From: 

Dear Judy Anne,  I am a quilt maker, quilt designer, collector and loves to study the history . Very few friends of mine transfer over into all these areas. Many of the m humor me with my fascination for something "old" and a very few will trave l with me to support this addiction. I understand totally.  Karen Dever, Moorestown, NJ (#1 town in USA)  



Subject: red/green quilting From: jeanlester <jeanlesterntown.net> 

I have 2 red/green period quilts. One is flower pots (VERY large) and the red is quilted with red. The green has faded to white, but was running stitch appliqued with green and has no quilting--curious--I never noticed. The other is a four block feather design. The green was appliqued with white--I think. The red was appliqued and quilted with red. It's hard to tell because the red was poor quality cheesecloth and the green was poorer quality cheesecloth. No color left in the green, except where it's under several layers of red.



Subject: Yo-Yo question From: Alice Kinsler <alicekmbay.net> D

Hello, Dear List Members: I discovered another beautiful quilt (a double wedding ring with a blue background) yesterday for my exhibit, "From Dust Bowl to Salad Bowl:  The Quilts and Quiltmakers of the Depression Era Migration to the Salinas Valley," and she also had a charming yo-yo. Though it's not technically a quilt, I am considering including it in the exhibit simply because it's such a wonderful sampler of fabrics of the Depression Era period. Might someone know of a reference where I could learn more about the yo-yo "quilt" or provide your own knowledge? Thanks, Alice in beautiful Carmel Valley


Subject: Re: # of quilters not interested in quilt history From: Blackeyesandysueaol.com Date: Sun, 7 Aug 05 22:08:38 EDT

Judy Anne, I think you are right. I am one that collects and studies antique quilts but I also make quilts. I have also found there are few "cross overs" eith er way. It may depend on the group. Out of curiosity when I have given a lectu re about antique quilts at quilt guilds I have asked if any of them collect quilts typically 1-2 out of 50 or 60. I have not asked at my quilt study gro ups how many actually quilt but I know that many do not. In Baltimore Applique Society, my quilt group, most quilt, but our missio n is to preserve antique applique quilts in the collections of the museums in our area and promote the art of applique. We typically reproduce an antique Baltimore Album quilt to raffle for their textile collection and trace the patterns for them to sell and to give modern quilters access to the patterns for the quilts but we also do things like direct consrvation on their quilt collections, sewing sleaves on, refolding and photographing them and assisti ng them with and demonstrating at their quilt shows but we also have provided the f unds

for the consrvation of the Dunton Archive so that quilt researchers would ha ve access to it. So, the quilt group that I belong to also "crosses Over". I too, have found this to be interesting. Polly Mello


Subject: Re: Quilters and Quilt History From: "Laura Syler"

MY experience is that it usually starts with a frantic phone call, something like....."My MIL or DH's GM made us this quilt....she's coming in 2 weeks...I washed it in the machine....BIG HOLE...HELP!!! Or...my GM just passed away and I was given one of her old quilts that she made. It looks pretty sad, but it is the only thing I have from her...can you fix it?

These restoration clients are usually not quilters and don't have a clue how to properly care for or even respect an antique (or new) quilt, but with a few gentle words and a little reassurance they begin to see that they have been intrusted with a responsibility to care for a piece of history. When it is their family history they seem to take notice a little faster. When I was working out of my home, they would come and see my quilts hanging on the wall, tucked in the book case, properly displayed and cared for and would start asking questions..."yes, the indigo & white triple Irish chain does date from the 1850's"..."The GMFG was made by my GM in 1932"..etc. Several of these "desperate housewives" became students at our VQTS Fabric dating seminars. It was a wonderful feeling to see them begin to appreciate antique quilts and vintage fabrics. Some even started collecting!!

Laura Hobby Syler AQS Certified Appraiser Quilt Restoration Specialist Richardson, Texas 


Subject: Karen's question on educating others re quilt history/prservation

One method is to offer programs to your local guild. Our guild is always looking for programs, so I offered to present one on quilt history at which I showed vintage quilts of my own and invited members to bring in examples from their families or collections. We got to see a number of beautiful historical quilts from shabby to pristine condition, and hear the stories. I also brought my books on quilt history and set up a display, plus we discussed how to treat aged quilts. I had a lot of fun---I think the members did too. It wasn't a lot of work because it involved others toting quilts as well as me. Some members were disappointed because they missed the invite to bring in quilts and they would have wanted to. Another program for another time? I also gathered info on slide shows that can be rented for a nominal fee and we scheduled one from the NE Quilt Museum as the program. We gave the script to a volunteer reader to review prior to the program so she was familiar with terms and timing, and it was an interesting evening. That reminds me, it's about time to do this again. A third way that I've seen several guilds to is to hang a display or conduct a "bed-turning" lecture/show-and-tell as part of the educational exhibits at their guild shows. Thanks for the question, Karen, I'll look forward to the responses. Nancy Roberts


Subject: Re: Quilters and Quilt History From: "Beth Davis"

Karen, I belong to a very large quilt club, of whom there is only a very few people who are intensely interested in quilt history and a small handful who have a passing curiosity. Sometimes I feel that we are blinded to this fact of life-perhaps thinking that we can draw people in to our group just by the sheer will power!!! There are times that I’ve tried to share information-only to be ignored, which I thought might be a personal thing-but then it was explained that most quilters were just not into “antique quilts”.

What a couple of us have done this past year-is set up a table during the meeting with colorful displays and a theme that is beneficial to a larger group. Such as Quilt Care & Repair--with samples arranged on the tables and hand-outs (what quilter doesn’t like hand-outs?) We had time to answer any questions that seem to pop up when they see other old quilts. Another time we had wonderful quilts from the local museum--ones that were not seen by many as they were too fragile to display on a regular basis with information on dyes and printing of fabrics.

We would like to offer a display again so I would enjoy seeing what other historians have offered!

Regards, Beth Davis ----------------------------------------------------------------------

Subject: Where to begin to say Thank you! From: <suereichcharter.net> 

At this time of our great loss, friends at QHL have so generously donated a total of $1,125.00 for a beautiful wreath, the Night Stalkers family fund, and the Steep Rock Preservation. Eventually, I hope to personally thank all of you. Until then, please accept our family's gratitudes, and know that you have warmed our hearts. Since June 28, hundreds of people have shared their memories of events and encounters with our son. Many of those remembrances add to our knowledge of Stephen's life in the military; a side that he kept so private. Others are of the fun, kickback times he spent communing with nature and soaking up this country that he loved so much. He touched so many lives in quiet, thoughtful ways, and yet there was this soldier leading men into battle to secure the safety of others and our homeland. It's all a bit overwhelming.

At Stephen's Memorial, there were only two pieces of music. One was sung by the Shepaug Middle/High School Chorale (Stephen's high school). When his Chinook crashed, they were in traveling in Paris and London on a singing tour. That day, they dedicated a Latin hymn to Stephen and his men at the Cathedrale de Notre Dame. At every performance until their last at St Paul's Cathedral in London, they continued to sing this hymn in their honor. The other song is "American Anthem." I first heard it at the Clinton, and then the Bush Inaugurations. It was written by Gene Scheer. I chose this song above all others because I thought it best represented the thoughts of our family and the spirit of my son. I would like to share the lyrics with you as part of this continuing thank you. American Anthem All we've been given by those who came before The dream of a nation where freedom would endure The work and prayers of centuries have brought us to this day. What shall be our legacy? What will our children say?

(Chorus) Let them say of me I was one who believed In sharing the blessings I received. Let me know in my heart when my days are through America, America I gave my best to you.

Each generation from the plains to distant shore With gifts that they have given were determined to leave more. Valiant battles fought together, Acts of conscience fought alone. These are the seeds from which America has grown.

(Chorus) Let them say of me I was one who believed In sharing the blessings I received. Let me know in my heart when my days are through America, America I gave my best to you.

For those who think they have nothing to share, Who fear in their hearts there is no hero there, Know that quiet acts of dignity are that which fortifies The soul of a nation that never, never dies.

(Chorus) Let them say of me I was one who believed In sharing the blessings I received. Let me know in my heart when my days are through America, America I gave my best to you.

Here on QHL, so many of you so unselfishly share the blessings of your knowledge of quilt history. What a wonderful group of women and men you are! I am so very grateful to have you in my life. Sincerely, sue reich



Subject: RE: Quilters and Quilt History From: "Velia Lauerman"

Thanks Joe for your wonderful words about your interest in the historical part of the Quilt World. Today people that come to me for something new are surprised to hear me say that there is nothing new to sewing up a design but just a little twist. The world will be a better place because of quilters like my mother and grandmother but my fathers dad was a tailor and was the one who made his son's best suit for the wedding day. Lots of sewing in my family which Mom called "Out of necessity" Today we can add that to our daily life style too. We should Out of necessity, stop and smell the roses and quiet down or we will be a generation of button pushers. Mom and Dad had 11 children starting in 1922 in Texas. I was the middle child ( number 7 ) We all sew and create Out of Mom's direction. She was ahead of her time in drilling into our heads the importance of an education and completing.Velia


Subject: YOYO From: "Velia Lauerman" <velialivehotmail.com> Date: Tue, 09 Aug 05 13:35:26 -0400 X-Message-Number: 6

In the laymen's terms the Cathedral Window, Crazy, and Yo Yo along with tops and some pieces I have not mentioned are called Quilts. "It Ain't a QUILT until it is quilted ! I call a tied piece KNOT QUILTED and others by their proper names such as a bedcover, Crazed embroidered top, a YOYO bed cover etc. In order to educate viewers at a quilt show we should not be calling an apple a banana but telling it like it is. Quilt shows are not about fund raising alone but to recognize quilting and creativity to say the least. There are places we have not gone to and won't but isn't it sew fun ? Velia


Subject: IIQSG Aug 6, 05 (long) From: Litwinowaol.com Date: Tue, 9 

IIQSG: August 6, 05

The sidewalk was lined with pink roses as the IIQSG participants entered the Grout Church at the Kalona Historical Village Aug. 6, 05. The beauty of the antique quilts was just as lovely and in some cases more so. The show and tell began with a Wild Rose quilt, Merikay Waldvogel found the kit quilt ad in a 1932 "Woman's World" magazine. The kit sold for $3.75, a similar quilt was listed for sale for $950 at the www.antiquequitsource.com! Clinton's North Carolina Lily quilt was purchased at an auction. The red, white, and green lily quilt was complimented by a vine with birds border. One half-inch diagonal quilting went through the lilies; open space had pineapples in the quilting. A small quilt with only three flower garden motifs appliqued to the eighteen inch square with machine quilting, was thought to be Karan's father's baby quilt. A Colonial salt sack from Akron, OH was the backing. This is Karan's only family piece. Donna showed a great auction find. The tourqoise pink and brown Boston Commons was quilted with a four petaled flower in the squares. There was a good discussion about dating the plain colors, with dates ranging from 1890 to 1900 to 1950, with the 1950 date decided. Why buy ugly scrap quilts? To study the variety of one-patch fabrics from last quarter of 19th century. More surprising was the backing made with wonderful pieced baskets made at a later time. This quilt was registered in Florida. Now makes it's home with Marilyn. The jewel of the day was an early chintz Sunflower Quilt. Many wonderful chintzes were used in the flowers. The border used two different chintzes, sides of one chintz and a different chintz in the corners. This auction find was said to be originally from New Jersey. Barbara C. shared her multicolored Trip around the World baby quilt. Barbara's grandmother made the quilt for her doll bed. Barbara recommended the book Legacy: The Story of Talula Gilbert Bottoms and Her Quilts by Nancilu B. Burdick as a favorite quilt history book. The red, white, and blue one-patch baby quilt of Glenda's lead to a discussion if this quilt was actually cut down from a larger quilt. The paisley backing was used as binding on two sides and the squares on the side a different size convinced most that it was cut from a larger quilt. Sisters Char and Emily brought their family quilt. This red and white Double Irish Chain quilt (documented in Johnson County) was made by their grandmother. Leah Niffenigger Yoder used the quilt for all her children before giving it to Char. Emily has been the caretaker for several years. Our Shirley always astonishes us with her quilts. This meeting found her unveiling a Hubert Van Hehren. The cotton sateen shades of pink diamonds made a wonderful star quilt. This quilt designer from the 30's ran his company out of Des Moines, IA. Hubert started the trend of graduated colors. The yellow to orange was his most popular kit sold. (Read more in Susan Price Miller's paper in the 00 "Uncoverings" Journal Vol. 21, published by AQSG). She also showed a needleworked "tambour." Worked with an anchored hoop and a special type of crochet needle. Some Redwork LOOKS like tambour, but is, instead, an embroidery chain stitch. On the embroidered -with- a -regular-needle pieces, the chains do not overlap on the top. On the tambour pieces, they do. Greene County, Jefferson, Iowa invited all to come and see their barn quilts. Shannon shared this information along with an appliqued tulip quilt with a scalloped border. A friend of Shannon's Grand-mother-in-law did the lovely wreath quilting. Also, a pink, blue, green, and white Shoofly with checker board sashing was rescued by Shannon at an auction when the fellow also bidding wanted the quilt for a dog blanket! In the 1940's Lena Glover stitched a Birds in the Air, Hummingbird, Periwinkle quilt (no one thought to bring Brackman's encyclopedia!). Tiny outline, cross hatch, and improved 9-patch quilting added to the beauty. A Kitty in the Corner was purchased at the Meredith, "Better Homes and Gardens" sale. The quilt was featured in "Great Patchwork Collection." Elizabeth was the bidder that got the muslin, brown, blue, and gold chintz quilt, measuring 90" by 105" from the middle of the 1800's. What to do about stains was the challenge of the morning. Melva brought in a 48 State Flower and Bird quilt. The quilt came with Melva's and Bill's AZ home had a brown stain. The suggestion of the day was to follow Xenia Cord's advice to sit down and wait for the washing idea to go away. 1850's were the date decided on for Barbara E.'s Tulip quilt. The red, green and white showed the effects of aging with the green turning to tan. In the red print fabric minute holes now show the batting where chemicals in the dye or lye soap have damaged the pattern. The original binding was found underneath a 1930's one. The how come? was question came from Virginia's quilt top. Late 19th century fabric pieces were appliqued on a muslin background resulting in a stained glass window effect. Several of the pieces were missing and others patricianly removed. Jane's Great grandma stitched a red, white and fugitive green tulip quilt that was most likely made after 1903. Grandma quilted for others charging by the spool. This quilt showed her expertise with feathered wreaths. Pat L. saved antique blocks from the 1980's. The maybe Railroad Crossing blocks corner triangles were missing. The grays, blues and shirtings are strong enough for Pat to take them apart making several more stars for a small quilt. Zoe rescued a Geese, Rambling Rose, or Railroad quilt containing chintz centers. Family members found the quilt in the home of Stella Johnson (1915-1984). Love will take care of the condition issues. Keota IA library shared a pink and green Dresden Plate signature quilt made by the RebeccaLlodges from the community during the 1930's. Illinois' Vyki found a quilt at auction that came from an antique dealer in Ashton, IL. The red and white box lunches matched the afternoon study session on "Redwork." The Kalona Quilt and Textile Museum's exhibit of Two-Color quilts made an vibrant place to study "Redwork." The embroidered quilts shared the displays (walls, beds and antique spool cabinets) with Red and White pieced quilts. Special words of thanks go to Cindy Brick and Rissa Peace Root for allowing us to use their copyrighted material of "Redwork Revisited" and "A Redwork Embroidery Primer." The numerous quilts shared fit into the categories of: animals, flowers, birds, toys, holidays, calendar, famous people-places-buildings and events, advertisements, Japanese-inspired, Kate Greenaway characters, Biblical characters/verses, stained glass, contemporary art and architecture, and album and mixed patterns. Our next meeting is March 31, 06 in Kalona, IAstarting 7pm with a Basket quilt lecture. April 1, 06 in Kalona, IA show and tell am basket quilts pm. Cathy Litwinow


Subject: Re: Quilters and Quilt History From: AG340aol.com Date: 

The Miami Ocean Wave quilt group started over  yrs. ago because of a group of woman who were interested in quilt history and quilting. I was not a quilter.I loved quilts and collected them. I went to all the history,dating,and lectures I could afford to get to,as did many of the members. The group has changed over the years and they seem to have very little interest in quilt history. Amy G. in hot Miami


Subject: Broading the discussion From: "Karen Musgrave"

I have to admit that I am often perplexed by the lack of interest in quilt history. And I say this as a professional art quiltmaker and someone who has always cared about preservation so I appreciate the discussion we have been having.

I would like to broaden the discussion to include organizations that people support that do preservation work. Who do you give to and why? What kind of things are you looking for from the organization(s) that you support? If you don't give financial support, why not?

I look forward to the continued discussion from this excellent and knowledgeable group.

Thanks, Karen Musgrave


Subject: Re: Quilters and Quilt History From: CAROL A GODREAU

Our quilt guild average runs about 2 out of 50 or 60 members that are interested in quilt history. I meet once aweek with a group of friends to quilt and I pass all the information on to them that I read on QHL. They are interested but only in hearing, they would not pursue researching. They are all avid quilters as I consider myself.

I also do genealogy research, so old is very interesting to me. The one problem I find is something has to give, the "you can do it all" is slowing up. I keep wondering how I squeeze a full time job in.

Amazingly, it does get done and the more I do, the more I do. (except housework)

Everyone have a great day! Carol


Subject: Re: Quilters and Quilt History From: Judy Schwender

Not many people are interested in quilt history. So I draw them in by first saying I hated history in high school and college. Then I tell them that old quilts caught my eye, and now when I look at a quilt from the nineteenth century I see the history of chemistry, I see social history, women's history, political history, economic history, technological history. Then I go on to illuminate those aspects using the quilt as a touchstone. this way, folks are suckered into history.

I do a lively presentation. It doesn't hurt that I was a cheerleader in high school!


Subject: North Carolina quilt documentation From: Sandra G Munsey

If there is an active member of the North Carolina quilt documentation on the list, please contact me privately. I am researching a Massachusetts signature quilt that purportedly was in the hands of descendants living in NC for many years. Thank you.

Sandra on Cape Cod


Subject: Re: Quilters and Quilt History From: "Velia Lauerman"

The little seeds we plant in everyday conversation about quilting and the background naturally comes back to me as their eyes are now awake and look at quilting differently. Like everything else some will get interested and others will watch you and marvel. Just knowing that sewing on quilts makes one happy and relaxed will draw interest too. I have one daughter who finally is looking on in interest even though she was the only girl. Reina's daughter is a little interested, her oldest son loves the patterns, but the 11yr. old Robert catches on to sewing like me. Oh well?, Some do some don't. We keep on sewing and talking quilts, showing quilts etc. Velia


Subject: "Catch the Spirit of Quilt History" From: karenquiltrockisland.com

<<FEED SACK LECTURE - Get all wrapped up in quilts at this lecture series. Joan Knight, director of the Virginia Quilt Museum in Harrisonburg, will present a talk on the history of feed sack quilts & play clothes as part of the "Catch the History Spirit" lecture series Sunday, August 14th at 2 p.m. at the Fairfax Museum & Visitor's Center, 109 Main Street, in Fairfax City. The program is free & open to the public. For more information, call 703-385-8414.>>

This was just posted on the Quilters Unlimited of Northern Virginia on-line news digest. I was really taken with the title "Catch the History Spirit"! I feel that is what we have been getting at in our recent discussion about the seeming lack of interest in quilt history in the quilt world.

So many people seem to view history like medicine. For example, every school teacher seems to be caught up in that struggle to come up with the "spoonful of sugar that helps the medicine go down" challenge. In the quilt world, many publishers don't like to publish books with a focus exclusively on quilt history UNLESS the author is willing to include patterns and how-to directions. That seems to be the "spoonful of sugar" in the quilt world.

As one might guess, an organization like The Quilters Hall of Fame is about "history" for the most part. However, I think it is the fact that it is located in a HOUSE, i.e. someone's HOME -- and that that someone (Marie Webster) designed and MADE quilts, is really why so many quilters and people are drawn to visit. I suspect most visitors aren't drawn to QHF in Marion, Indiana, because Marie wrote a book about quilt history; but simply because she, like them, MADE quilts. But in their love of her quilts and her patterns, they take in some history at the same time, and hopefully, are curious enough to ask questions and absorb some history about all the other Honorees as well. History, therefore, becomes grounded, if you will, through a tangible life (after all, they are in her HOME) that quilters can personally relate to. I think Q-SOS -- the program that The Alliance for American Quilts underwrites -- also makes history more personal to quilters for it brings it into the "here & now" of their own lives. I think a broader quilt audience can relate to that kind of "here & now" kind of history. Whether it occurs to them that Q-SOS is actually "history in the making" is another question. But there's that word again: HISTORY! And Q-SOS is capturing their stories!

Karen Alexander In the cool but sunny San Juans


Subject: Re: "Catch the Spirit of Quilt History" From: 

Great discussion- I have enjoyed reading it.

I came into quilting with quite the opposite perspective. For some reason, I thought people who liked to quilt would automatically have an interest in the history of quilting and an appreciation of old quilts. The first time my mother introduced me to some of the dealers at Festival, I was surprised to find out many of them had never made a quilt! Looking back I see that was silly of me, but it was my impression at the time.

This issue carries over to many of my other current and past hobbies. Many orchid growers have no interest in understanding the parentage of their plants and the enviroment they came from. Many wine drinkers have no interest in the history of the vineyards or of the intent of the winemaker. Most people who own fine paperweights can tell you very little about how they were made or the origins of the art- even though the historical knowledge on that topic is fairly brief and easily absorbed in a day's reading.

Even so, I have been surprised to find out that the same applies to quilts. They are such magnificent and emotional works. Even at today's prices, I can think of few fine works of art that carry so small a value as do antique quilts taking into consideration the time it took to make them and how many perils lie on the path to preserving the best examples in top condition for decades, or even centuries. Plus they tell forgotten and unknown stories- they are an insight into a perspective that is largely missing from the written history of America in the past 0 years, that of the American woman.

That said, I was no different than many when I started out. I began quilting for relaxation and to create something wonderful- a counterpoint to the very exciting, but rather cold and calculating work I do on a full time basis.

And I bought older quilts because I found them beautiful. After a short time, the purchases became fewer as I got beyond what was beautiful and entered the realm of buying (or as I like to call it, a lifetime rental since I can't take them with me!) pieces that struck me emotionally- even though I did not understand why some pieces were so incredibly moving.

It was the emotion in some pieces that had me seeking history. Indeed it was one particular quilt that led me to this email list- a quilt for which I had no answers until last weekend when FINALLY I found one in a book my grandmother just gave me called "The Quilt Encyclopedia Illustrated" by Carter Houck. Right there on page 8-9 is a photo of 3 quilts from the Shelburne Museum and the piece on the right in the photo has that mysterious pattern. Sadly there is just that photo and the quilt's name, but now the search will go on further- and I this weekend was truly energized to finally have found some piece of the puzzle.

But in the meantime, here and in other reading I have learned so much more. The pieces in my collection, the quilts I am making, quilt concepts I am creating- all of them are enhanced by a greater understanding of history. Seeking this knowledge will not only make me more appreciative of the antique quilts that move me emotionally, but I think it will make me a better quiltmaker in the end.

So for those wondering how to get more people interested in the history of quilts, hopefully the above will provide some inspiration. Anyone who takes the time to make even the most basic quilt has made a choice to invest a lot of themselves into this world. Perhaps the key then is to show people how even a cursory understanding of the history of this art will enhance their experience. Some will surely not be interested, but those who can be the great stewards of the art in the future will surely respond.

Take care,



Subject: Re: Quilters and Quilt History From: Gail Ingram

> > Not many people are interested in quilt history.

I am not being contentious, but I find this difficult to believe.

Are we limiting our observations to guild members? Or expanding them to groups in general?

I should think a non-quilting group---e.g., a woman's club, a civic organization, etc.---would be more interested in history than techniques of quilting.

Possibly I am blinded by my own interests.



Subject: UGRR revisited- question about a book reference From:

Good evening all,

I know there has been much discussion on this, but I was hoping to clarify a point based on a book reference I found today.

My understanding is that a lot of the debate here is over the notion of quilts being specifically made with coded blocks to assist the underground railroad in leading slaves to freedom. And then of course the logical counterpoint is that the time required to make a quilt back then (or even now!) was such that it is an impossible stretch of logic that there would have been time to craft coded quilts in a timely manner to facilitate escape for slaves- a reasonable point that would seem to end the debate right there.

Well, today I purchased a book called "A Shortcut to Drunkard's Path Easy Applique Curves". I am having a blast with it already seeing how much fun I can have with this, my favorite pieced pattern.

On page 5, the following text appears in a chapter titled "Drunkard's Path: The History of a Quilt Block";

"Fortunately, the history of the Drunkard's Path (or whatever moniker you choose to give it) is well documented. The Drunkard's Path played an important part in two historical events- the Underground Railroad and the women's temperance movement.

The Drunkard's Path block played a significant role in the journey of slaves to freedom. The Underground Railroad could not openly broadcast information about where, when, and how runaway slaves could arrive safely at their destination. A system was therefore devised by which quilts were displayed, whether on a clothesline or over a porch railing, that contained hidden messages. The particular type of blocks in the quilt would tell the person making the journey what to do. When the Drunkard's Path block was displayed, the runaways would know to zigzag their path to make capture difficult."

On the surface this sounds more reasonable than the idea of a quilt being crafted with hidden directions and messages- the notion that a given quilt type that someone in town would possibly have on hand could be used to subtly send more general signals.

Or is it that simple? I do get the gut feeling that "zigsagging" your path to make capture difficult would ALWAYS have been a good idea.

Forgive me if I have raised a point already addressed that I did not see in earlier postings, but this particular book reference comes off as very plausible- which could make it a more accurate representation of what role quilts might have played in the Underground Railroad, or a more dangerous distortion if it is not supportable in any way or has been disproven.

On a final note, I have seen many known names posting on this group- so if the writers of this book are here let me say up front I intend no disrepect, nor am I trying to challenge your writings. I merely mean to have a discussion on published words and understand their context in this debate at large.

Take care,



Subject: Introducing myself Chapter 2 From: "Kay Sorensen"

Before the Millennium I decided to create a place for myself in Quilt History.

I also wanted to make something significant for each of my 8 grandchildren.

I made a 00 piece charm quilt for each of my grandchildren.

These are special quilts and they only get to sleep under them on New Years Eve or other special occasions.

Each quilt has a beautiful label expressing my love for them and giving details about the quilts.

They were accompanied by a Journal for them to write about each time they sleep under the quilt and to add pictures.

They each have a fabric bag that matches the back of their quilt.

Each quilt is King size, with a border made from Jinny Beyer Millennium fabric.

The backs are also JB Millennium fabric.

I started them in April of 1999 and finished them by December 1999.

I had them long arm quilted by someone else.

We had planned on having the whole family at our house for a New Year's sleepover, but because of my son's involvement with computers he could not leave his job to come to Wisconsin with his wife and 4 children.

So on the day after Christmas we flew to their home in Minnesota.

We bought 3 plane tickets - one for me, one for my husband and one for the quilts.

Our local newspaper came out on New Year's Eve and photographed me with the 4 local grandchildren and did a great article for the newspaper.

The Milwaukee, WI TV station WTMJ TV was on the phone as soon as I returned from Minnesota and cam out and photographed me in the studio with the quilts.

I got a significant amount of air time - more than my husband used to get as a school administrator!!!!!!!!

If you would like to see one of them, along with some of my other quilts made over a period of time you can see it at:


To see an enlargement of a particular quilt click on that quilt.

You will be shown a puzzle. Click on shapes, then on 6 piece classic and you'll have a puzzle you can put together in a few seconds.

Probably more than you every wanted to know about me - but it's one of my places in Quilt History!

Quiltingly, Kay



Subject: Re: "Catch the Spirit of Quilt History" From: Gail Ingram

> I came into quilting with quite the opposite perspective. For some reason, I > thought people who liked to quilt would automatically have an interest in the > history of quilting and an appreciation of old quilts. The first time my > mother introduced me to some of the dealers at Festival, I was surprised to > find > out many of them had never made a quilt! Looking back I see that was silly of > me, but it was my impression at the time.

These and the remaining observations of this member interest me. I too shared these assumptions.

In fact and perhaps incorrectly, I think the real connoisseur must be interested both in the act of quiltmaking and the larger context in which that act occurs.

I know that a collector of a given painters's works might not be a painter herself, but she would understand and appreciate the art more had she at least had some experience painting. And the painter who knows nothing of the history of his art is hobbled.

Mary Oliver, a Maine poet, is but one contemporary writer who argues that it is only through imitation that one learns to write. From the writers of the past, we learn technique, manipulation of genre, manners of handling subjects which help us express our own unique voices. Naturally, most writers before the th century were taught to write through the use of models of past writing.

So, I think, it is with any art that is deeply focused and creative.

In recent years I had looked at and acquired more quilts than I had made. Yet, the more I looked and learned, the more I was distressed to find myself really limited in understanding certain kinds of quilts, particularly those made in early New England and the mid-Atlantic states. I grew up in a world of clearly defined patterns and light backgrounds. The "blended" quality of early 19th-century eastern quilts eluded me. I could not "get" it. On a visit to an eastern collector and quilt maker, I spent hours poring over quilts of this sort, beautiful in their multitudinous colors and prints, but "blurred" to my southern eyes.

Drawing on the art of writing, I suggested that if I made such a quilt, I would almost surely become more appreciative of the particular art involved. My friend agreed, and soon, I was learning to "moosch" colors in the manner of the makers of all those quilts I had been looking at. It took a real effort to keep my fingers from automatically arranging those nine-patch blocks to show dramatic contrast, but through trial and error (my guide was a beiever in "discovery learning"), I gradually caught on to the principle that guided the makers of those quilts. It was not until I got home and spread my little top out that I recognized how much I had learned and how much my appreciation had expanded. And the key to my understanding was not merely aesthetic, but also historic: I had come to perceive as a guiding principle the desire to flaunt one's fabrics, the focus on individual pieces, the character of the fabrics, the availability/unavailability of fabric, etc. History, in other words.

At the same time, I gained a deeper understanding of a subject that has intrigued me for a long time---the distinctive nature of southern quilts.

I doubt that a quilter, painter, writer, or other artist or artisan can avoid the impact of past work in her art. But to know and understand the history of the art is to enrich the understanding of individual works within it. It strikes me that anything less smacks of provincialism.

And to recur to an earlier posting, I think most people are deeply interested in history if they can ever encounter it. They just don't like to "answer questions 1-10 at the end of the chapter." If historians in general wrote so interestingly and well as, say, the historians who brought us the quilts of Tallula Bottoms or Dorinda Slade, more people would read and enjoy history.

Material culture speaks with a compelling voice which in my experience engages all but the unengagable.

Gail Ingram


Subject: History, quilters & quilt myths From: karenquiltrockisland.com Date:

Gail, personally speaking, I was referring to just quilters in my post because I find it an"interesting" phenomena -- from my personal perspective -- that more quilt-makers don't show more interest in quilt history. <g> But they probably find me "odd" that for all my love of quilts, even though I know how to, I don't make quilts that often myself. Perhaps they think of me: "How can she be so passionate about quilt history and not make more quilts herself?" <g> Well, I'm not all that interested in sports myself, but millions of people are. Each to her own passion, I guess. (I can only wish they would spend that kind of money supporting quilt history!!) But I digress.

The Quilters Hall of Fame certainly attracts more than quilt historians or quilters. As a restored historic house, we attract historic house buffs, too, as well as those interested in local history. The fact that the Marie Webster House was built partially from the lumber of a local grand hotel that was torn down when the natural gas boom in the area went bust, also attracts other kinds of historians. But they all get exposed to some quilt history when they come visiting! And speaking of going outside quilt guild circles to share quilt history, I suspect that the recent wide dissemination of the myth of quilts as signals on the Underground Railroad has also increased awareness and interest in quilts and their history far beyond "the usual" quilt circles. I suspect the popularity of this myth may have even encouraged many quilters to seek out additional quilt history for the first time in their lives. Myths and their power to move and intrigue people are timeless and here to stay.

Speaking of myths, I just received a solicitation mailing from an Indian school in South Dakota. They were offering tickets for a raffle quilt. The opening paragraph reads: <<Living and working on South Dakota's reservations, I have seen many star quilts in my life. But, it wasn't until recently I learned something special about star quilts. Each quilt has a flaw. Whether intentional or not, the quilt is not perfect. This is to remind the quilt's maker and receiver of a very important lesson -- we are human, and no one is perfect...The star quilt has long been a sign of honor to the Lakota (Sioux) people. Early in the 1900s when the Lakota women were taught to sew and quilt, sewing circles developed so women could socialize. Since then, the star quilt has turned into an important part of Lakota culture. A star quilt is given to honor people, like a horse or buffalo robe was given in days past...The next time you make a mistake, or see that of another, think of the Lakota star quilt and the Lakota boys and girls...>> And so this myth of the deliberate mistake in quilt making lives on in a yet another variation of its original telling.


Your passionate and obsessive quilt historian. <VBG> (just ask my husband)

Karen Alexander


Subject: Buy or build From: Xenia Cord <xenialegacyquilts.net> 

My interest in quilt history began, as many have heard from me, when the university where I was teaching asked for a grad course for returning non-traditional students (mostly women teachers working on Master's credits). The course(s) morphed into community quilt exhibits so the students could have hands-on experience. Along the way I realized that I needed to understand the process if I was to correctly interpret and teach the history of the product. And so - with agonizing slowness and a growing resistance to ever doing the "A" word (applique) - I also became a quilter. Some of my best friends are the women I quilt with weekly.

The next step was investigating historic quilts at a more basic level, so I began a study of the creation of cotton fabrics, and the methods of surface color application attempted over the past several centuries; an in-depth study of chintz followed. During those community quilt shows - where we documented, photographed, and displayed over 1000 quilts in 3 years, with few repeats - I met many older women and a few men who had quilts to dispose of and no comfortable outlet. So I left the university behind, in favor of selling antique quilts on consignment.

Membership in the American Quilt Study Group was like discovering family I had never known existed. And then came QHL - an entire world of good friends and interesting people. And involvement over the past 4 years with the Midwest Fabric Study Group has been equally rewarding, as like-minded people meet for self-directed study of historical textiles.

And one day I looked around and realized that I knew a lot, and that I was old! Maybe that's a logical progression, but I wish I had been able to undertake my independent studies earlier, with the advantages available to students today.

So I think it is possible to buy quilts and to build them, without conflict of interest.



Subject: bed turning? From: "Rosie Werner" <rwernerrconnect.com> Date:

Someone here used the term "bed turning" as an opportunity to teach  about caring for quilts. Now, I've seen it in an ad for a local quilt  show. It's a new term to me. What does it mean? Rosie


Subject: Blanket Statements article From: "Lynne Z. Bassett"

Dear All,

Several of you have written to me to comment on my article on "Horace Greeley, Mark Twain, and an 1872 Calico Print" in the latest Blanket Statments. Thanks for your interest! I only just received my copy of Blanket Statements in yesterday's mail, so I didn't realize until then that all of my footnotes had been left out (I don't know why). If any of you want the complete article, WITH footnotes, please contact me privately and I will be glad to send you a copy.

Best, Lynne


Subject: Re: bed turning? From: Chris Flynn <lovechrisearthlink.net> 

Hi Rosie.... I've been doing bedturnings for our guild's quilt fair for the last three years. Basically, I put out a call for quilts and guild members bring me wonderful vintage quilts. Most have wonderful stories of surviving fires, the depression, etc. At the fair, We place all the quilts in an interesting order on a vintage bed. Then, at the given time, two "white gloved bed turners" ceremoniously turn down each quilt as I talk about it's design, age, history, etc. It has been very moving, especially when there is great grandma, grandma, mom, and baby daughter, all with a connection to the quilt!!

Bedturning started as a method of selling quilts. I think the Wisconsin quilt book talks about that. The Amish sell their quilts that way also. In recent times, though, guilds have been using bedturnings as a method of looking at history of quilts. I've included redwork tops, crazy quilts and yoyo quilts, explaining the difference. Last year we had an amazing quilt from the 30's, beautiful tiny quilting stitches.... all finished with knots on top!! The quilt owner was stunned.... had never looked at it so closely.

I use a vintage yardstick as a pointer. Sometimes ask the audience to guess how many squares.... name that design, patch, etc.

Hope this clarifies a bit. Chris in California


Subject: Quilting and Quilt History From: "Louise" <ltiemannstny.rr.com>

I was a quilter first, then fell in love with the history. Not sure how I got hooked, but I started collect ephemera several years ago. I guess I wanted all the old quilts I saw, but couldn’t afford to buy them, so in some twisted reality I thought I could make them all myself and set out to get some of the patterns. That is when I ‘met’ Ruby Short Mckim, Eveline Foland, Florence LaGanke, Margaret Techy, Nadine Bradley, Anne Orr, Mrs. Danner, and the list goes on (and on). Oh and of course, The Ladies Art Company.

I have amassed quite a collection that I share with the 3 guilds I am a member of. I bring in my latest finds for the ladies to check out. I have been invited to share my collection with several other guilds in the area. I also have several old tops, quilts and blocks using the old patterns that I incorporate into my lectures.

Our local Sertoma club has an antique show every year, and this past year they chose to focus on vintage quilts as the premier exhibit at the show. Guild members brought out their old family quilts and purchased collections for the exhibit. I did some research on the patterns and documented the stories about each quilt. These, along with b/w photos of the quilts were published in the show catalog. I was my first experience as a curator, but probably won’t be my last.

While at the show, several quilters fell in love with some of the old quilts I had in my collection – and I of course had the newspaper clippings – now they too are making replicas.

I have made Ruby McKim’s 1930’s Fruit Basket quilt using my hand dyed fabrics and taught the class at a local quilt shop.

Whenever I teach a class, or share an old pattern, I always include the history about the designer and other patterns they may have designed.

Hopefully my little endeavors will stimulate the interest in quilt history. Every once in a while I meet someone who shares the passion – and it’s always a thrill to find someone who can speak the language of old quilts. ----------------------------------------------------------------------

Subject: Northern California QUILT EVENTS ~ pronto! From:

Announcing two Northern California events for Lovers of Old Quilts:

1. Saturday, August 13 -- a ONE DAY, ALL DAY event in FORT BRAGG, California (3 hours north of San Francisco):

MORNING: Julie Silber, Jean Demeter, and Joe Cunningham are working with Ocean View Quilters. 10 a.m. - Noon -- a TRUNK SHOW of rare and historic quilts from various important collections including the Esprit Quilt Collection.

AFTERNOON: "Antique QUILTS Roadshow" -- the public is invited to bring in quilts made prior to 1950 for an afternoon of information, sharing, and fun with the same three stooges, I mean "experts" -- as in the morning. Should be surprising, amusing and informative! For more info: quiltcomplexdirecway.com -- HURRY!

2. August 13 - November 6, 05, "Pieces of the Past: Quilting Traditions," an exhibition of 42 regional quilts at the Grace Hudson Museum & Sun House, 431 South Main Street, Ukiah, CA. This exhibition is organized by the museum and Dawn Moser, textile historian. Special events throughout the run of the exhibit. For details: www.gracehudsonmuseum.org

Thanks, Julie Silber


Subject: RE: History, quilters & quilt myths From: "Velia Lauerman"

Several years ago a quilt magazine carried a story from a Mexican lady, maybe Martinez, who traditionally made a wedding quilt of satiny fabric which she called a COLCHA. The quilting on the colcha resembles whole cloth with a medallion motif on the entire piece. Mom made bedcovers in Texas with my grandmother and many friends and passed on the desire to sew and hand quilt to me. She always called the pieces colchas which interprets in English as a mattress or bedcover quilt. Would just love to see what Mrs.. Martinez or her family is doing these days with her tradition of the wedding quilt. I will hunt for the story in QUILT, QUILTERS NEWSLETTER, or one like it. It was about the 70's. Great words Gail. Velia


Subject: Re: Quilters and Quilt History From: Judy Schwender

I was referring to the general public. I have given quilt history presentations to a library group as part of a grant project about women, a American Association of University Women chapter, a class at a Women's Week program at a university, and several guilds, and women's groups. Also numerous school groups (although those were not in-depth.) So far no Elks, Moose Lodge, or men's or general public groups. When Ken Burns does a history of quilting program for PBS, when quilt history is included in American history curriculum in the public schools, THEN I will say that most folks are interested in quilt history. 

One aspect of the discussion about the popularity of quilt history that I think has been overlooked is the importance of quilt research to the larger arenas of historical research and cross-disciplinary research. It is vitally important that quilt scholarship be used as source material for fields outside the quilt world. Ultimately, that is the goal, don't you think? To allow quilt history to assist in completing the big picture of human history? We are a small part of that picture. 

Folks who research the history of plumbing, the history of asphalt, the history of native crop cultivation, the history of frying pans, the history of toothpicks- they are all doing what we're doing, just with different artifacts. And hopefully, all of this research will help us understand who we are. When someone asks me about quilt history, I don't start off by asking, "Have you read Women's Work--The First ,000 Years by Elizabeth Wayland Barber?" But sometimes I want to. Each and every quilt that is pieced today has a heritage that goes back that far. As a informal educator in my work, I know that sort of depth won't work with 99% of the public. That 99% will be interested to varying degrees and for varying lengths of time. My job is to gauge the degree and time length and forge ahead. Quilt history ain't NASCAR!!! Judy Schwender


Subject: Re: Blanket Statements article From: <chrisajetlink.net> 

HI Lynne-

I have not received mine either!! Please send the footnotes on.

Hey- PieceWorks accepted my article on a whitework wedding quilt for  their May/June wedding issue!! 

How are things with you? Is the book nearly done? Going to AQSG?



Subject: Quilters and Quilt History From: <chrisajetlink.net> 

Judy, it's funny that you should mention " history of asphalt, " in a  post arguing for increasing the interest in quilt history through good  research so that other more established historical fields will turn to  it and include it in their evaluations and conclusions. I couldn't agree  with you more. One of the ways we history quilters "informally  educate", a good choice of words here, is by helping museums with their  quilts and display of them and their signage etc. We all know this on  the list, I know. So where does the asphalt come in?

Our Santa Barbara Coastal Quilters Quilt History Study Group is helping  the Carpenteria Historical Society Museum to rotate their bed quilt  display every month, lending our own quilts too, and will restore their  1850s Star of Bethlehem with a Turkey red print swag border quilt ,  fabulous, that has been on the bed way to long. We met with the  director recently to discuss this and he gave us an in-depth tour. One  of the first displays was asphalt!! The Chumash Indians used the fine  asphalt, natural to Carp, to make bowls, tools, and if I remember  correctly, jewelry, and so on. These are on display not far from the  quilt and sewing machines and laces. Asphalt production put Carp on the  map and employed many people for years!

The director is thrilled to have our group helping him. He hadn't  noticed the brown spotting occurring on the white areas of the quilt. It  felt damp to the touch- a coastal museum's lament, he said. He didn't  know the quilt was so old or special, as it didn't come with provenance  of much history prior to the generation that donated it. This director  does not place signage by each item or have a list posted that describes  or dates the items, or a paper that a visitor receives with such  information. There are some signs, and special exhibits get additional  signage, but mostly this minimal approach defines his professional  approach to the museum's ambience and mission.

However, it was my strong feeling that the quilts we placed on the beds,  and in the exhibits down the road, had to have signage, because the  mission of our group helping was first and foremost to educate the  public about the role of quilts in history and women's studies. He was  rather taken back at first, as this sign would stand out indeed. Lucky  for us, there is an old rather low, trunk at the foot of the beautiful  bed and it would be the perfect place for a rather large sign.

After talking about what a sign about the current quilt might have said.  Hearing that we actually had something to say that will add education to  the tours they provide to school children and adults, he did agree to  the sign. He didn't know all there was to say about a particular quilt!  I think this would apply to a great many people- they don't know how  interesting and full of information an old quilt is. We will write the  words for the sign and he will add the provenance from the records  before printing it. Our part will include the social history or  significant events in the era of the quilt, the style and pattern and  their significance, if any, the fabrics, the date, and perhaps an  estimation of what the woman may have been thinking when she made this  quilt, like in a friendship quilt.

I think educating the educators and the history-loving people and places  will help tremendously. There is a certain authority that a museum or  public building has, that an individual, everyday, unknown quilter does  not have. Look how far art quilts have come to be known and accepted  because of their use in hospitals, public buildings and exhibits in  galleries, not quilt show. Look what the Whitney museum did for quilts  and for Gee's Bend. Exhibiting them in local quilt shows would not have  made the same impact. Each of the museum's toady that proudly exhibit  antique quilts are doing a great service to the field of quilt history.

Kim Wulfert www.antiquequiltdating.com


Subject: re: Northern California QUILT EVENTS ~ One more! From:

Hi fellow QHLers - And as you are driving up Highway 101 on your way to For t Bragg and Ukiah, stop off in downtown Petaluma as the OUTDOOR quilt show  is in the downtown area all that day (Saturday, August 13). Yes, even thoug h I am a quilt conservator, I do go! 


Subject: Re: Blanket Statements article From: Gail Ingram

Lynne, I want the complete article. I was interested in the first piece of fabric, because Xenia had given me a square a couple of years ago and that launched a search for who it was---who had said "Iknow..." I read more about sugar beet production and Luther Burbank than I ever thought I would read! At that time, X. had concluded, for reasons I now forget, the frock coat/lab coat fabric was Burbank.

If you ever want to know about the emerging sugar beet boom in Michigan and Indiana in 19th century, just let me know. Somehow, I don't think this is going to come up in conversation.

Spent two weeks with Judy Roche and saw your name in that guest book. Lord, isn't that little guest house blessed? Indeed, isn't the home that Pat and Judy have created blessed?

Thanks for the offer, Gail


Subject: Quilt Museums From: Judy Knorr <jknorroptonline.net> 

We just returned from a three week trip from Long Island, NY to Logan, UT and I just had to share some input about the Quilt Museums I visited. I contacted Karen Alexander before I left for some information about the Quilters Hall of Fame/Marie Webster House in Marion, IN. We stopped there on our way home and thoroughly enjoyed it. My husband was intrigued with all the restoration that had been done on the house and that kept him occupied while I looked at the quilts! The docent who showed us around was well versed in all the facts and I learned a lot from her. I brought home some brochures to encourage others from my area who might be travelling west to make the stop. Just be sure to check ahead for days and times they are open. We found one of the most difficult parts of planning for the trip was scheduling so we would be in the town or city when what we wanted to see was open. I also spent a day in Lincoln, NE and went to the International Quilt Study Group display on the second floor of the Home Economics building. They house the James Collection and the show in their gallery this summer was Political and Patriotic Quilts, a special interest of mine since I have made so many of these. I was thrilled to see their storage facilities and learn how their quilts are cataloged and stored. Their new building should be ready in 07 right across the street. The campus dairy store just across the green serves delicious ice cream so allow time for that when you visit.! There were two other quilt displays in Lincoln that I also visited. Luckily, the city is an active railroad center and my DH was delighted to drop me off at the museum and take his video camera to photograph trains! The trip was a Quilter's Dream and it certainly opened my eyes to the need for all of us to support quilt museums and their efforts to preserve our quilt heritage regardless of where in the country they are located! Judy Knorr


Subject: Re: Quilt Museums From: "J. G. Row"

Judy Knorr,

Since you are interested in political quilts, and by your own admission have made some, would you be interested in, and perhaps agree to make and share with the world in quilt shows, a quilt that Sue Reich and I designed, and have each made to express our feelings on a particular political subject?

It is a prickly design which can be made in patriotic prints of red, white, blue, and gold, or as Sue has done, in a focus fabric -- a specialty batik whose chameleon design echoes the quilt-maker's strong feelings about the subject.

I drew it all out in Electric Quilt and can send you, or anyone else who wants the pattern, the EQ file. It can be completely pieced on foundation papers.

It makes a striking 4-block quilt with pieced sashing. The design uses elements from New York Beauty, Steps to the White House, Thorny Ticket, and a block that I designed and call, "Blue Dress"

Our name for the pattern is "Hillary's Defeat."


Subject: Re: "Catch the Spirit of Quilt History" From: "Karen Musgrave"

I'd like to thank Karen Alexander for mentioning Quilters' S.O.S.-Save Our Stories, the oral history project of The Alliance for American Quilts (www.centerforthequilt.org). As volunteer co-chair of this project I am always happy to sing the praises of what we are accomplishing. We are quickly approaching having 500 quiltmakers interviews with accompanying photos on the web. And all these interviews can be accessed online, free to anyone who wants to learn from them. These inspirational interviews help quiltmakers, collectors, students and others see and appreciate the incredible artistry and diversity of today's quiltmakers and their quilts. This is also a manual on how to conduct quilt oral histories and I'm proud to report that 59 copies were downloaded in July our slowest month for visitors.

While The Alliance does not have a building, it does have a place that is huge and impressive on the web. It's open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and it's FREE. No meeting or appointment needed.

How many of you use the Quilt Index for research? This incredible resource is setting a new standard for quilt documentation. An IMLs grant is funding the newest phase to expand the Quilt Index to more than 15,000 quilts and the associated documentation for searches across the collections (DAR Museum, AQS, The Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Libraries, and more) for patterns, individual quiltmakers, themes, techniques and many other characteristics. Moreover, it will result in a model for repositories--of any size and anywhere in the world--to make thematic collections of any kind more accessible and useful for education and research. I know I'm impressed.

I hope you will consider supporting this organization by becoming a member and/or making a donation. Remember the history of quilts is still being written today--by all of us.

Thanks, Karen Musgrave Quilters' S.O.S.- Save Our Stories, volunteer Co-Chair The Alliance for American Quilts www.centerforthequilt.org


Tell a friend about this site: