Friday, February 5, 2016

Vintage and vintage-inspired quilts

We're often focused on award-winning quilts and new designs.  Then we realized that we have an album of photos of vintage and vintage-inspired quilts that have never been shown at Quilt Inspiration.  What can be more inspiring than vintage designs, shown in their original glory and/or transformed by modern quilters?  Here is some vintage eye candy to brighten your day (this post is photo-intensive!)

It's a Red Letter Day by Jacquelyn Thompson (Utah), quilted by Kim Peterson

Stunning in its complexity and fine details, It’s a Red Letter Day was made for the Utah Valley 2015 challenge to make a red and white quilt. The quilt pattern is by ThimbleCreek Quilt Shop. Each block has 101 pieces.  The sashing is made of 1200 flying geese blocks.

Kim Peterson's quilting took this quilt to another level.  She included diagonal lines of quilting in the rectangles and squares, and swirls within the red centers of each block, adding movement to the quilt.

Sparkle by Sharon Hansen (McKeesport, Pennsylvania)

Sharon Hansen says, “I was taken with pictures of the [vintage] red and white quilts on exhibit in New York in 2011 and was struck by the graphic impact, so I decided to make a red and white quilt and started with a center medallion."   Sharon created this original paper-pieced design.  The quilt was made with cotton batiks and Quilters Dream cotton batting.  Sharon's beautiful machine quilting really stood out on this quilt:

The gorgeous quilting followed the undulating design of the border.  Sharon filled the space with curved feathers that meet at the four points of the compass.

My Mother's Flowers by Catherine Witzge

My Mother’s Flowers  won the Exemplary Hand Quilting award at the 2015 Arizona Quilters' Guild show, and Catherine Witzge's perfect, precise hand quilting drew a crowd of admirers. Catherine says that My Mother’s Flowers was made from "pieces left to me by my mother; no pattern; hand appliqued 1990; pieced 2014 and hand quilted." She says, "[The quilting] took me just over 3 months, [quilting] 7 hours a day."  Simply beautiful.

Pineapple Applique quilt, 1885-1895, from the International Quilt Festival Collection

This Pineapple Applique quilt, 1885-1895, was hand pieced and hand appliqued by an unknown quilt maker, and machine quilted by Kathy Colvin in 2003. The Pineapple pattern was often used to convey hospitality.  This is an unusual design that uses tiny triangles to depict the texture of the fruit. The two small borders of cheddar and muslin were added in 2003 and the quilt was bound with cheddar fabric. Vicki Mangum dyed the newly added cheddar to match the original.  Kathy Colvin used echo quilting to outline and define the leaves and the ruffled pineapple shape.

Ann's Legacy by Sue Maitre, quilted by Linda Hrcka

This stunning applique quilt won First Prize - Applique Large, along with the Larene Sinema Founder's Award for Exemplary Workmanship, at the 2015 Arizona Quilters' Guild Show.  The quilt is a reproduction of a circa 1818 quilt by Ann Daggs in the collection of the Smithsonian. You can read about the original quilt at Barbara Brackman's website.  The reproduction design, known as Ann's Legacy,  was published in the book Primarily Quilts... 19th Century Inspiration by Di Ford (published in 2014; currently out of print). Sue Maitre says,  "This is my version. What was I thinking?" 

Fantasy, 92-1/2” x 92-1/2”, by the Quail Country Quilters (Cottonwood, Arizona), quilted by Jody Gagnon

Fantasy was the 2015 Quail Country raffle quilt.  Made with batiks, it was awarded Excellent Use of Color at the 2015 Arizona Quilters’ Guild show, along with Second Place - Group Quilt.  "The quilt includes colorful, machine-pieced Cross and Crown blocks surrounded by borders uniquely hand appliqued and embroidered with Nature’s beauties which are also reflected in the quilting."   Some of the appliqued flowers and butterflies were enhanced with embroidery.

Blue on Blue by Reni Dieball, quilted by Diane Pitchford

The shoofly block originated around 1850.  It is a nine-patch variation with half-square triangles in the corners. For her stunning Blue on Blue quilt, Reni Dieball made 168 tiny shoofly blocks (“3”) using the cut-off corners from a king-size snowball quilt. (Anyone who has made a snowball quilt knows that there are tons of cast-off corners!)  Appliqued vines with flowers adorn the corners of the quilt, which was beautifully quilted by Diane Pitchford.

Japanese Fans, exhibited by Goldie Lillard, collection of Diane Pitchford

This vintage quilt, done in cheerful primary colors, features classic 1930's-era prints and cheddar fabrics which are bright and colorful to this day.

Every other fan block is turned from having the "handle" in the lower right corner to having the handle in the upper right corner. The scalloped triangle border, which was often used in this era, echoes the quarter-circle shapes of the corners of the fans.

Star of Bethlehem

We spotted this Star of Bethlehem quilt, done in calicoes and solids, hanging at the end of an aisle at the 2014 Tucson Quilters' Guild show.  The maker is unknown, but she certainly knew how to pick an effective color scheme.  It is completely hand quilted with feather wreaths, and the remaining open space is filled with a 1"grid. We'd love to know the provenance of this quilt.

Vintage Mosaic quilt, collection of Diane Pitchford

The provenance of this quilt is unknown, but the Mosaic #11 block pattern was published by the Ladies Art Company in 1897. The deep indigo prints and beautiful hand quilting bring this design to life.This quilt was purchased at an antique store in 1993. 

Some of the blocks were made with striped and plaid shirting cottons, some of which are pieced together, making this a scrappy quilt that does not appear scrappy.

There is a tutorial for the Mosaic #11 block by Dori Hawks at The Quilter Community :

 Vintage Four Patch quilt, circa 1900, collection of Diane Pitchford

This Four Patch quilt c. 1900, was made by Addie Mae Davis, who mixed low-contrast and high-contrast blocks to make a dynamic design.   Addie Mae was married in the late 1890’s and lived in the home her husband built; he owned the local lumber yard in Orland, California.  There are some fun fabrics in this quilt, such as the blue moon-and-stars shown below.

Mrs. Cleveland's Choice from the collection of Diane Pitchford

Pink looks very attractive when it is paired with black and gray as in this quilt. Mrs. Cleveland’s Choice was first published in the Ladies Art Company in print 1889-1895. This quilt was purchased at the Road to California in 2001.

Candace Moore has created a free downloadable pattern for Mrs. Cleveland's Choice at the Nancy Cabot Sew Along blog:

Mrs. Cleveland's Choice block - Nancy Cabot Sew Along

Marjorie’s Find, top made by Ella C. Anderson Marshall (1888-1930), exhibited by Sheryl Verts, quilted by Karolyn “Nubin” Jensen

With its red, white and blue blocks and crosses, this quilt reminds us of a quilt of valor.  It was exhibited at the 2014 Tucson Quilters' Guild show.  The card reads, "This quilt was found by Sheryl’s mother, Marjorie Zeigler, at a yard sale in Portland, Oregon. Pattern is Album Cross (?)"  The all-over quilting by Karolyn "Nubin" Jensen was done in blue thread, which shows up well among the lighter shirting fabrics:

The quilt has many charms, including blocks that were cut in half at the borders (upper left in the photo below), providing an interesting graphic design:

Image credits:  Photos were taken by Quilt Inspiration at the 2015 Arizona Quilters' Guild show (My Mother's Flowers, and quilts from the collection of Diane Pitchford); the 2015 Springville (Utah) quilt show (It's a Red Letter Day); and the 2013 Houston International Quilt Festival (Sparkle and Pineapple Applique).


  1. What a fabulous Show and Tell. Thank you for sharing!

  2. Great collection! Thanks for sharing.:)

  3. Fabulous Inspirations!! wow all that quilting is so stunning! thanks for making my morning


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