May 19, 2011

Looking at American Quilts

Pattern Name: Shoe Fly. Approximately 1900.

Yesterday and Today
Himself: Got almost everything done, helped clean out a closet, and ran down to the store to check on a computer before picking me up.

Herself: I really got a lot of books priced and out on the floor then came home to make a Turkey Chili from the LBJ Pedernales River Chili Recipe. Weigh in: Didn’t gain and didn’t lose according to WW scales. No one else eats dinner before weigh in.

Japan News: Please stop in at and read the latest news from Japan…sometimes mixed with news of his garden, wife, and granddaughters. This is the only source I’ve found that compiles the latest news from the hard hit region.

Those who know me realize that I am passionate about old quilts. I have a small collection…it used to be larger, but you know how quilts move here or there. I know just a little about these quilts, and I long to know more

This week at the Discovery shop a collection of embroidery books, knitting pattern books, hand craft books like the macramé things of the 1960’s and the shell things of the fifties were donated to the store. Best of all was the nice collection of quilt books that came along with them. Most of these are technique and pattern books, and there’s about fifty quilting magazines to mix in with the armload of knitting ones all now in a big basket.

I found one book and one magazine with clues and names of some of Americas best quilt historians. That’s exciting. Knowing that many of these quilts, such as the ones in the Mary Gasperik collection offer…”an incredible record in material culture at a time when few women left such records for study and research. These quilts and her story are not just important for quilt history, but also for women's history and for American history,” wrote -- Merikay Waldvogel in July of 2008.

Imagine one woman making more than 100 quilts, and having them recorded in one place for posterity. I’ve done hundreds of drawings and paintings, and only now have I managed to photograph a few for my records. This woman’s family was unique in that they realized what a great history treasure they had in their hands.

I found whole series of pages listing quilt museums. More pages of quilting history. I confess, I spent much of my evening happily digging for new quilt history links.

Double Wedding Ring pattern, mid 1930’s.

The History of American Quilt Making Part l: An Interview with Merikay Waldvogel

Collecting Antique Quilts Part ll An Interview with Merikay Waldvogel

The Quilt Index: A research reference Tool

Gasperik Collection A digital quilt history

America’s Quilting History

National Quilt Museum


  1. What a coincidence! A friend invited me to attend a quilt show last Saturday to be followed by lunch at a cafe, but I declined for various reasons. Wish I'd gone.

  2. Your books and magazine were quite a find. I love quilts, have only made baby quilts. I have a dolly quilt of tiny squares made by my great grandmother and two quilt tops she made as well. I feel like I need to know how to better take care of them. You are a person of many interests and talents.

  3. As you probably remember, I'm a sucker for quilts myself. Not only do I have lots of books and how tos, I have a motley collection of home made quilts from my mother and grandmother. So sad that neither of my daughters are really into quilts. On the bright side, I think my 5-year-old granddaughter is. I just hope it lasts. (Your quilts are gorgeous!)

  4. We love quilts too. I guess we just marvel at all the work that goes into making one. I love the idea of a quilting bee where everybody comes together to sew one. That must have been so much fun. These quilts are just gorgeous, Maggie.

  5. That double ring pattern is a beauty. I've never been drawn to making quilts but I've known a few women who just love it.

  6. I love these old quilts and would love to brouse around your store. I recognize some of the patterns you show today, like the double wedding ring. Thanks.

  7. If you are ever in Ohio, please let me take you to Amish country to see the beautiful quilts. I'm planning a trip down there this summer and hopefully have photos!

  8. It must be so exciting to read the stories of the quilts. The Amish quilts Kay mentions must also be fascinating.

  9. Fly's in the buttermilk shoe fly shoe..skip tomilou my
    I love quilts too...both of the ones you have shown are beauties--
    The book sounds like a treasure all by it's self!

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