Monday, May 26, 2014


 Close-up of a beautiful star quilt.  I didn't find this one in the book.  I have no details about the quilt.  The tour is sensory overload - quickly snapping pictures while quilt treasures fly by.  The fabric colors are still so vibrant on this quilt.

I've updated yesterday's post with info on the current 'Workt by Hand' exhibit in Sacramento, CA.


The excerpts in this post are from The Smithsonian Treasury American Quilts by Doris M. Bowman.

The Copp Quilt from Stonington, Connecticut (pg 23 if you're following along) was one of the first three quilts collected by the museum in the late 19th century.  This is a framed center quilt with cut out corners.  From The Smithsonian Treasury American Quilts, 'Two dresses in the Copp family collection are made of fabrics that appear in the quilt.  One dress dates from about 1800, and the other from about 1815, the time when the quilt was probably made.'

Double Irish Chain (pg 25)
So amazing!  This quilt was started in 1825 and finished in 1830 by Jane Valentine in Cayuga Co. NY.  From the book, 'There are 348 white cruciform-shaped pieces, and 348 pieced blocks made of 10,092 squares, each 5/8 inch.'

Rising Sun Quilt, quiltmaker Betsy Totten (pg 28-29)  From the book, 'The Rising Sun pieced pattern in the center of Betsy's quilt is an eight-pointed star measuring 76 inches across, and containing 648 diamond-shaped pieces of printed cottons arranged concentrically by color.  Appliqued between the points of the star are elaborate vases of flowers and birds, combining floral glazed chintzes with some of the same fabrics used in the star.  A matching floral vine runs around the four sides of the quilt between a swag-and-bow border on the inside, and a chain along the outer edge.  The appliqued flower stems, vine, swags, bows, and chain are only 3/32 inch wide.'

Betsy Totten, born 1791 in Tottenville, Staten Island, NY, married twice but had no children.  The quilt was willed to her sister's granddaughter.  

Groom's Quilt pg 48  Presented to Benoni Pearce for his betrothal.                                From the book, 'This quilt was made for Benoni Pearce in 1850 when he was twenty-eight years old.  The eighty-one squares are signed by friends and members of his family...  Benoni was then a farmer living on his father's farm in Pawling, Duchess County, New York.  By 1860, census records show that Benoni was still farming with his father, but he had acquired a wife, Emma, and two childresn, seven-year-old Augusta and three-year-old Jesse.'
Printed Quilt Center (pg 27)
From the book, 'The central diagonal block of this handsome quilt, specially printed to be used as a quilt center or cushion cover, was one of many produced in the first half of the nineteenth century.  It dates from between 1815 and 1830, as do the rest of the printed fabrics in the quilt, which belonged to Mrs. William Alston.  She lived at Fairfield, her husband's plantation on the Waccamaw River, near Georgetown and Charleston, South Carolina.'
Sunburst Quilt (pg 52)  From the book, 'This quilt was made in the mid-nineteenth century, in Funkstown, Maryland, by Anna Sophie Shriver for her sister, Catherine Shriver Knode, wife of Frisbe Knode.  It is exquisitely worked, with a pieced sunburst pattern complemented by elaborate stuffed quilting.'

One drawer included a beautiful sampler from 1826 made by nine-year-old Mary Howard. 

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Road Trip - Day 4 and 5 (1st Installment)

Day 4 started with a trip to the National Museum of Women in the Arts to visit the 'Workt by Hand: Hidden Labor and Historical Quilts'. They had a 'no photo' policy and the exhibit book was out of stock; but according to this 'A Quilter by Night' blog post, The Brooklyn Museum exhibit must have had a more lenient photo policy - be sure to click on 'Part 2' at the bottom of the post.  I have one thing to share - not the eagle above - that was Day 5, but I'll get there.  I studied my 'favorite' quilt from the exhibit for quite awhile.  Jan discovered that Mary Koval has reproduced the quilt, Lydia, and the free pattern pdf is available here.
Update - thanks to Sandy's comment on the previous post.  The Workt by Hand exhibit is at the Crocker Art Museum in Sacramento, CA thru Sept 1, 2014 - link.

In the afternoon, we visited the Smithsonian National Museum of American History.  We saw some amazing things - the top hat President Lincoln was wearing when he was assassinated, the Star Spangled Banner flag that inspired our national anthem, Dorothy's ruby slippers, the First Ladies' Gowns, and the original Kermit the Frog.  Here are a few of the items on display that resonated with me -

The 1841 pin-making machine patent model, patented by John Howe.  The machine could produce over 20,000 pins a day compared to 20 pins per day made by hand.

This 1870 sewing machine patent model accompanied William T Smith's application for patent No. 99,743.

Day 5 was the best day ever.  It personally ranks just under momentous family events (weddings and births).  In the morning we were on the Smithsonian 'Behind the Scenes' quilt tour - AMAZING.  If you're planning a trip to DC, you have to plan around this - the second Tuesday of the month excluding January and February (I think - check to be sure).  Space is limited, so sign-up early.  We saw many of the quilts from the book The Smithsonian Treasury American Quilts by Doris M Bowman. If you have this book (and you should - used copies on Amazon for $0.56!), dig it out to refer to to get the overall view of the quilts I'll post pics of.   Remember to bring your copy of the book - I wish I had mine with me to get Ms. Bowman's signature.  This event ran long and we just made it to our afternoon appointment - Textile Tuesday at the DAR.  BEST DAY EVER!!!

I'm sharing a couple photos from the Smithsonian but will post more later (maybe tonight).  The beautiful Indiana sunshine is tugging at me!  These photos have been shared on other blogs, so this might be a repeat, but they're all worth a second look!  

The eagle from the beginning of the post is a close-up from the Maryland Album Quilt on pg 53 of the book.  Book excerpt: 'This album quilt was probably made about 1860, perhaps for a member of the Wilmer family of Kent County, Maryland.  Much of its elaborate applique was made three-dimensional by gathering folded strips of fabric and stitching them down in various shapes, while some of the motifs are padded with cotton fibers under the applique.  Twelve of the twenty-five blocks have embroidered, inked, or stamped signatures or initials.'

Also appropriate to the Memorial Holiday is the Stars and Stripes Quilt from pg 57.  Book excerpt:  'Mary Rockhold-Teter of Noblesville, Indiana, made this quilt during the Civil War, when patriotic symbols were much on the minds of Americans.  The design, adapted from the American flag and named Stars and Stripes, appeared in the July 1861 issue of Peterson's Magazine, a women's periodical published in Philadelphia....  Mary made the quilt for her son, George, a Union soldier.  In the quilting she included his name, the names of Generals Scott and Taylor under whom he served, "Genral Lyon," the president of the United Sates as "Abe" and "Ab Lyncoln," the word "Cat," and the year, 1861.  Written in ink on the lining is "George Teter."'

A beautiful block print that was displayed on top of one of the quilt storage cabinets.

This snippet of applique is the border to a 'sunflower' quilt that I didn't find in the book - amazing edge stitching along the applique edge.

 I'll post more soon!

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Road Trip Day 1 thru 3

The ramblings of three quilt buddies on a week-long road trip - Days One thru Three

Day One:  After converging from various points the night before, our trip began with a two hour drive in the rain to visit the beautiful Hagerstown, MD Washington County Museum of Fine Arts quilt exhibit, 'Beauty in a Time of Scarcity: 19th Century Quilts from the Collection of Lewis Allen and Katherine Haag.  Unfortunately, pictures weren't allowed - this was one of the highlights of the trip.  The quilt exhibit included some choice pieces.  We finished the day with power fabric shopping at Zook's in PA Amish Country - we arrived 45 minutes before closing.  We lucked into a 30% off sale - Woo Hoo!  This was our only night at a B&B - Kimmell House in Ephrata, PA, a 1795 Colonial Shaker stone farmhouse - delightful!

Day Two:  Morning fabric/antique shopping (fabric at Sauder's and antiques in Adamstown) before an adventurous drive to the NJ quilt exhibit celebrating the 300th anniversary of Hunterdon County, 'Common Threads:  Quilting Traditions in Hunterdon County, NJ'.  Info on the exhibit can be found here -  The border image above is from this exhibit.

Update:  You can receive the exhibit catalog by contacting Judy Grow (  The cost is $13.50 which includes shipping.  Make checks out to 'Hunterdon Tricentennial'.

The exhibit included two period dresses.  Wouldn't you love to have yards of both of these fabrics?

Unusual treatment for block seam coverage - applique over them to add secondary pattern.

Another beautiful, airy border

Day 3:  A trip to Winterthur Museum to visit the Downton gowns!

  Two quilt treasures were on display in the museum:

This Medallion English quilt was made for Joanna Southcott in 1808.  She was an English religious prophetess with a large following who published on her faith and prophecies in England from 1790 until her death in 1814. 

This album quilt contains 85 different blocks, each with a unique signature.  The quilt was begun in 1851 in Lewisberry, PA by Margaret Potts and was completed in 1858, the year of her marriage to David Reeser Miller.  In 1886 she gifted the quilt to her son for Christmas.  He noted the names and relationship to Margaret of each block contributor.  Margaret made 13 of the 85 blocks - one in memory of her sister.  Margaret's two twin brothers Andrew and William each stitched a block for the quilt at the age of twelve.

This mahogany miniature bed from the early 1800s is complete with original hangings, mattress, bolster pillows and quilt.

At left is the staircase within the Winterthur estate.  I loved this wall of chairs (at right) - wouldn't it be great to incorporate this idea on a blank wall in your home!

The Baltimore Orioles have returned for their Spring Visit