Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Quilt Auction from Three Generations is Bitter-Sweet

Over 300 quilts from the same family were auctioned last Saturday.

Last Saturday there was a quilt auction in our community. However this was not an ordinary quilt auction. Upon the death of a dear quilter in our town the quilts of  three generations of quilters in her family were auctioned. When I walked into the gymnasium were the quilts were displayed  I was overwhelmed with a feeling of awe. It was as if I should genuflect knowing that it took three lifetimes to create these wonderful works. The quilts, from daughter, mother and grandmother were all hung for viewing. They were a delight to see and represented a walk through the history of Kentucky Quilting.

 I only had intentions of buying one quilt when I walked in that morning but I just couldn't resist. Eight hours later I walked out with quilts that represented different eras of quilting. I just wrote the check and didn't look back.

The earliest quilt I purchased is a quilt thought to be from the 1840s.  It  has a  hand  carded cotton batting and the intermittent cotton seeds can be seen from the backing. The quilt came from Wayne County, Kentucky and was handed down from the grandmother's family. A 1000 Pyramids Quilt with a wide variation of  fabrics caught my eye. The fabric in this quilt, made in the 1930s, spans at least four decades. I also included in my newly formed collection a two color quilt, two cross-stitch quilts from the 50s or 60s made from kits, and two applique quilts from the 50s or 60s made from kits.

Not many of the 300 plus quilts auctioned that day had labels or were signed. So I urge all quilters to always include a label on your quilt with at least quilter's name, date and location. One of the quilts I purchased was signed. The mother took what looks like a Sharpie Marker and wrote her name in a corner of the quilt on the back. This signed quilt is a Sampler Quilt. It included leftover blocks of some of the other quilts that were auctioned that day.

My other purchases include a 1930s String Quilt, a Double Irish Chain from the 1960s and a Tulip Variation Applique Quilt from the 1950s. My favorite quilt is a Basket Quilt from the 1930s with applique and embroidery with wide green sashing. It looks to be an early version of  "quilt as you go."

Did I mention that all of these quilts were hand quilted? Amazing stitches. Plus the daughter took great care of these quilts refolding each quilt several times a year. I learned  the quilts were stored out of the light so for the most part the colors are bright.

Sadly the hard work that went into each quilt was not recognized and I purchased all of these quilts for much less than their true value. Now it is my duty to give them a good, loving home and continue to show these quilts the respect that they deserve. I have already contacted a person that will give me tips on cleaning and storing antique quilts. But my first task is to create labels for each quilt so their history does not get lost. I will try to post some of the photos of these amazing quilts for all to see and enjoy.

It was truly a bitter sweet day.  

This wonderful basket quilt from the 1930s has applique and embroidery.
This two color quilt, Robbing Peter to Pay Paul, still has the quilting pencil lines.

The Thousand Pyramids quilt from the 1930s is scrappy, with the fabric spanning several decades.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Quilty Fun Scrap Buster

Quilting fabric often has a secret life. Like the three big bags of scraps that have been growing under my bed for the past seven years. I though it was time to bust out the scraps and make something. Luck would have it that my friend Kim who blogs at told me about the "Quilty Fun" book by Lori Holt and a great Quilt-Along.

  • So I am quilting along in hopes of reducing my scrap pile to something a bit more manageable. The Quilt Along is in its third week and I am all caught up. Photos of  completed blocks can be posted on the Flickr Quilty Fun Sew Along site. And get this.... There's a drawing each week with prizes for the folks that post photos of their completed blocks . Now who doesn't love a chance to win a prize?

 So here's hoping that I win a prize before it is all over. If you think you might like this quilt-along check out the blog on You'll need Lori Holt's book too and can get it super fast from Fat Quarter Shop. Mine came in two days.

These are my completed blocks and the Quilty Fun book by Lori Holt.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Early arrival moves baby quilt to the front of the pile

This quilt finished 46" x 56".

I thought I had eight more weeks to get this baby quilt finished but the baby had different plans. After a friend delivered her baby early I decided Saturday would be spent finishing the quilt top for her new son. The top was completed earlier this year in anticipation of a new arrival. I always like to keep a baby quilt or two in progress because I believe every baby needs their own quilt. So after I learned it was a boy the quilt top featuring fabric with fun bugs, birds and creatures would have a home. This was a great quilt to try out some new quilting stitches as well. I gave each strip in the quilt a different quilting pattern.

I quilt using my home sewing machine and find baby quilts the right size for gathering all the fabric and batting in the throat of the machine. I also featured some of the cute fabric in this quilt by fussy cutting the images. After doing so I realized that these images need to stand out. So I used a few of the 200 and more programed decorative stitches that came with my machine. Different stitches were used to highlight each fussy cut image. When was the last time you used those great stitches? Other than the blanket stitch my machine stitches are certainly underutilized.

I have also posted some closer images of  my quilting and stitches. My challenge to you this week is to think about using the great decorative stitches that your machine has to offer.

Fussy cut bugs in a jar with decorative stitches.
More fussy cut images with decorative stitches.
I was able to try some new quilting patterns.

Fun boy fabric featuring caterpillars and ants.