Monday, September 15

Connecting with quilts, Part I

When visitors entered the library, this is what they saw first ........

There are about twenty-four hand-pieced and hand-quilted placemats in that collage of little quilts. They are all samples that I made when I offered Beginning Quilting in community education in Prior Lake and at a nearby Michael's store. I enjoyed getting folks enthused about doing something creative. I enjoyed it so much that I began offering the class as a volunteer in the Scott County Libraries. Over a period of a couple of years, I taught students from age 7 to 73 the very basics of quilting and encouraged them in their work. There's more to this story but I'll save that for a later post. (I'm keeping a notebook of "future posts" now, sort of like "future quilt projects" so some will get done and some won't - hee, hee!)

Take a walk through the quilts with me...........

I selected these baby quilts from my collection and placed them on my freshly painted picket fence quilt rack. My mother purchased the baby quilts at auction and gave them to me and my brother bought the doll quilt for me. The baby quilt has "Mother" embroidered on it and the baby's name - Stella Nelson. I wish there was a way to connect that baby to this quilt!

More than one person commented on the informal display of the quilts because they felt it made them more inviting. I like it, too. Some of these quilts were too worn to even look good hung on racks. By draping them over chairs, visitors could still see the pattern of the quilts and the quilting style and, for many, remember quilts their mothers or grandmothers made that were just like so many of the quilts that I shared.

On the opposite side of the 1930's quilts were examples of a couple of quilts from the 1920's and one I call "the Puzzle Quilt that is likely made in the 1930's. The Puzzle Quilt is the one on the left and was purchased at auction by my dad in Dayton, Iowa and was given to me as a Christmas gift a few years ago. The center quilt was made by Granny Blair and the quilt top on the right was made by my Aunt Bell and was likely done from a kit ordered from the Spiegel catalog.

And it wasn't just quilts that caught the eye of the visitors. Kids and adults alike were drawn to Mr. Sock Monkey and his little friend Calico Gal. Would you believe that I bought those at a garage for 25 cents each!?! The young woman who was selling them said that her great aunt had made one of each for her and her two sisters. And I am thinking "and why are you selling these treasures?" and then I paid her the 50 cents and left with my treasures.

The Henderson Library is located in what was once a beautiful Episcopalian Church (pictures of the library will come when I can get some taken on a sunny day). The building retains it's original stained glass windows and even when an addition was added a few years ago, the building still maintains it's original style. Located at the back of the library are these two window seats and they made perfect places for a couple of quilting vignettes. In the picture above there are four quilts that usually are stacked on a shelf in my grandson's room at our house (see here). The two on the left were gifts from my friend Judith. She also enjoys going to garage sales and found these at one in Minneapolis. Again, a young woman was selling things she deemed no longer useful and yet she was sentimental about these as they had been made by her grandmother. I don't know what Judith payed for them but she bought them with the intention of giving them to me because she knew I would take care of them and share them with others. The handquilting on the two quilts is really fine. They are very worn but when folded just right they look lovely on the shelf. The folded Monkey Wrench/Hole in the Barn Door (depends on who your're talking to) is one from my mother. I've talked about this one before as I just love the yellow polka dot fabric. And the green star quilt is from my brother and was an auction purchase. I have no dates on these quilts but suspect they are from 1930's or earlier, especially the red and white one. The pillow on the right was made by my mother when she was young and I made the heart pillow from a quilt block made by my mother-in-law.

This window seat provided a spot for quilts from the 1950's to 1970's. The colorful Nine Patch on the bench and that wonderful log cabin on the chair were made by my great Aunt Marian sometime in the 1950's. She gave them to my mother several years ago and I bought them from her when my folks held their auction in 2000. I made the two folded quilts. That yellow, green, paisely "could only have been made in the 70's" quilt was in fact made in the early 70's from the scraps left from shirts that I made for my husband. We lived in Dumont, New Jersey at the time and there was a little shop on Main Street that I loved to visit. I quit sewing shirts and pants years ago. The red, white, and blue patchwork quilt is made from scraps from clothing I made for me and daughter, Collette, and was made in the 1980's. The pillows were used on her bed when she was a kid. They look like new but the quilt is really worn and that's a fine thing!

I had prepared a handout with some quilting history for visitors to enjoy and when I pulled quilts to display, I realized that I was able to cover every decade from 1900 to 2000. These quilts are some I made in 2001. There were five in the series and while I designed them and pieced them, it was the machine quilting done by my friend, Sara Peterson, that really makes them shine. Just double-click on the pictures for a close-up view. I taught the series as a class in community ed but have never published the patterns. This winter I plan to make new samples, test my directions and publish the patterns for sale.

One gentleman asked what you would do with these quilts because they weren't very big and I said, "well, I use these as quilts on my dining room table and then put flowers in the center because it looks so pretty". Hmmm, that sounded just fine to him. :-)

The Flying Geese quilt and the Log Cabin quilt on the left were new quilts made this past year by Barb Miller of Henderson.

They were great examples of modern machine piecing and machine quilting.

I love crazy quilting and fancy fabrics! This piece on the table on the left is made from men's ties and would look best as a wall-hanging. Had I placed it better on the table it would actually not look to bad as a table topper. And then if Cathy, the head Librarian would give me that plant to set it on then I would have a very attractive addition to my own living room. Oops, I'm getting off track here...........back to the quilts.

One of the nicest features of this library is the fireplace which just gives the room a comfortable feel. I placed three quilts near it that border on being crazy quilts. The log cabin quilt on the right is from the quilt collection of the Sibley County Historical Society. The two by the fireplace are quilts that my dad bought and gave to me. I wrote about these quilts on my post Saturday night and you can find them here .

In the middle of the room , I placed a table and put four of my favorite quilts on it. I set up my Aunt Bell's old wooden ironing board and placed my mother-in-law Ora's quilt tops on it. The story on these quilt tops can be found here for the blue and white Jacob's Ladder and here for the Scrappy Jacob's Ladder and the Yellow Sunflower Dresden Plate quilt tops.

These four quilt tops have a story all their own and I think I will save it for another day this week.
In the background behind the center table, I placed these two old and worn quilts that are still fascinating when it comes to studying the variety of fabrics that is contained in each quilt.

These two beauties are also worn and were on loan from the Sibley County Historical Society. I am determined that one day I will recreate the blue applique quilt and maybe the red and green one, too.

That's the end of the tour for now. I have a library meeting to get ready for now so will have to "proofread" my posts later tonight. I had hoped to present these photos in a "slide show" but I have pretty much figured out that right now I cannot figure out how to set up a "slide show" on my blog. I am going to have to call in some help (like my son, maybe) to see if he can help me with this aspect. Oh, this technical stuff just isn't as much fun as it is to make and collect quilts!!!


Linda said...

Wow - that is all I can say! Wow!
You have done a wonderful job! Everything is set up so nice! Creates a wonderful homey atmosphere! The quilts are BEAUTIFUL! Thank you for sharing!

Chookyblue...... said...

hi all the pics you load go into Picasa web albums and you can make a slide show out of them........make a new folder and COPY all the quilt show pics to that and create it.......thanks for sharing the pics.........

Nanette Merrill and daughters said...

I really enjoyed the quilts all grouped by era. What a great idea. And what a fabulous amount of work!!!!!!! Seriously. Its like a trunk show on steroids. I'm in awe of the time and patients to get them all there, in place, visit with the people and talk about them, and then pack them up and put them away! Holy Cow. My favorites were the puzzle quilt your dad gave you, the grandmother's flower garden and the wedding ring. They were all wonderful, of course, but I do have my favorite styles and colors. Thanks for sharing Sandi. That is such a great building.

Nanette Merrill and daughters said...

I knew I forgot to say something. I wanted to tell you I love the picket fence quilt rack. It is so cute and fresh looking. I've never come across anything like that. Its darling.

"Peace can be found in the piecing of a quilt."
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