Saturday, October 15

A visit to the Kalona Quilt Museum

Our "Quilting Day-Out" was outstanding thanks to my sister, Judy. Just the weekend before my mom and I came to stay, she and her husband had visited Kalona, Iowa and she knew she needed to bring us back to see the quilts. Kalona is considered the "Quilt Capitol of Iowa" according to tourist info and I would agree! If you are anywhere near this town, you must stop and see the quilts, shops, bakery, etc!
The Kalona Quilt Museum features rotating quilt exhibits and permanent displays of spool cabinets as well as a rock and mineral exhibit. Two exhibits of quilts were on display. One room contains the quilts of Thuy Nguyen and they are exquisite. She is originally from South Vietnam but came to Iowa in the late 1970's. To read more about her story and her quilts, you can check out her website here. The other exhibit was Amish quilts as many Amish farms and families are nestled in the rolling hills of southeast Iowa. It was a beautiful drive the day we were out. It was just too windy for picture taking outdoors!  Photos were allowed at the museum so I will share a few with you......
I believe there were about 18 appliqued quilts on exhibit and mingled in with the quilts were an incredible collection of spool cabinets. I remember the spool cabinet that sat at the back of Ching's Clover Farm Store in Lehigh, Iowa.  I can remember purchasing thread there in the 1960's and often wondered what became of that thread case when the store closed. I have never seen such a collection of thread cases and was absolutely fascinated by them!


I was also fascinated by the detailed work in the quilts that Thuy Nguyen made. My mother and sister and I each had a favorite. I cannot imagine the hours of work that went into the applique. Thuy does all the applique and then Amish women do the hand-quilting and follow the design that she creates for the quilt.
The intricate applique work was just incredible!!!

In contrast to the applique quilts, the Amish quilts were beautiful in their simplicity. I was reminded that I want to make just one Amish style quilt in my lifetime.
I found this one to be especially lovely......

This little vintage baby walker was displayed next to a collection of children and doll quilts. My mother, Mary, was especially fascinated by this early piece of baby furniture.
Just one more spool cabinet to share that was located outside the quilt display rooms.....


It's a wonderful museum and I'm so glad Judy took us their for a visit! To get a little more info on Kalona...........
just go here. And if you visit, be sure and look for the quilt designs that you'll find on the city streets.........




You might also see the occasional horse and buggy.......

And there is even a quilt shop.....

Stitch 'n Sew. And yes, we did go inside and we did do a little shopping. :-)

And next door to the quilt shop is this antique shop in a former church building. It was late in the afternoon by this time, so we didn't visit the antique shop but it will be on the list for next time. We were all a little tired so we headed back to my sister's and I fixed a tasty casserole with biscuits, a nice finish to a lovely day!

11 comments:

Mimi said...

Love seeing the spool cabinets. One has the initials O.N.T. on the drawer. Do you have any idea what that stood for? My mom had a two drawer cabinet, one of which had O.N.T. We often wondered what it meant, and I am still wondering......

Sewing Junkie said...

Coats thread company started a line of 6 corded thread that was suitible for machine usage and the Letters O.N.T. mean Our New Thread. It was the first color fast thread made. I didn't know I had to look it up too. Chris

Pat said...

What magnificent quilts and I also enjoyed seeing the spool cabinets as I'd not really seen any like those before. It sure looks like it was a terrific field trip for you gals!

Diane Wild said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Diane Wild said...

Thank you for going to all these wonderful places and sharing them. I love the thread cabinets and am glad to see they have been collected and preserved. And the quilts are exquisite.

Me and My Stitches said...

Thanks for sharing the museum with us - all the times I've been to Kalona and I've never been in the museum! Did you visit the other quilt shop too? She has lots of fun stuff.

Anonymous said...

The Amish quilts are beautiful for the simplicity of the design matched with the outstanding placement of colors, but the applique is WOW!
I also enjoyed seeing the spool cabinets.
This sounds like a wonderful day. I have added Kalona to the Pella and Hills trip that I am planning for spring. Where else should I go?

the Owl Lady

Vivian said...

Thanks for sharing this Iowa treasure. A daughter lives in Iowa City, and she's often mentioned how close she is to Kalona. Thanks to your photos, I'm definitely putting a museum visit on my to-do list. Those spool cabinets are wonderful!

Needled Mom said...

I love Kalona. It is a fabulous place to visit.

Those spool cases are incredible. I remember purchasing threads from similar display cases. Those are real treasures now.

The applique detail is just gorgeous on those quilts. The Amish quilt is such an interesting size. I am trying to imagine the bed it would go on.

Denise :) said...

Oh gracious, what gorgeous applique work they did! I can't ever imagine being good enough. I guess it's just practice, practice, practice. Loved seeing all the antique pieces, too! :)

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing! Your blog is fantastic. First time visiting and have you marked in my favorites! I live in Iowa (right on the border) and hubby is a Pastor for a small church in Mn. Have always wanted to go to Kalona.....now even more!! Thanks again for sharing your life with us!

the Pastors wife

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