Nothing comes between me and my strip quilt.

On this day in 1965, American actress and model Brooke Shields was born in New York City. At only 14 Shields did a controversial commercial for Calvin Klein jeans with the tagline, “You want to know what comes between me and my Calvins? Nothing.”

Mamie Lee Bryan made this strip quilt that includes a jeans pocket between 1976-1999. “This quilt was documented during a research project to identify and document practitioners of traditional customs in the communities of North Carolina and Virginia along a section of the Blue Ridge Parkway. The project was conducted by the Library of Congress’s American Folklife Center in cooperation with the National Park Service.”

View this quilt on The Quilt Index to read more about it’s history, design and construction. Be sure to use the zoom tool for a detailed view.

Sources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brooke_Shields

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Posted by Amy E. Milne
Executive Director, Quilt Alliance
amy.milne@quiltalliance.org

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Uplifting friends.

On this day in 1913, a New York socialite named Mary Phelps Jacob received a patent for her invention of the modern brassiere, a streamlined alternative to the unhealthy and painful corset.

Michigander Libby Cassin of Ishpeming began this quilt around 1930 and finished it in 1995 with the help of by her friend, Veronica Paeske, of Escanaba, Michigan. This “Square in a Square” quilt was machine pieced using “scraps left over from “The Gossard,” a factory in Marquette County, Michigan that made ladies undergarments such as bras and corsets.”

The quilt was documented as part of the Michigan Quilt Project by the family member who inherited it.

View this quilt on The Quilt Index to read more about it’s history, design and construction. Be sure to use the zoom tool for a detailed view.

Sources:
http://inventors.about.com/od/bstartinventions/a/brassiere.htm

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Posted by Amy E. Milne
Executive Director, Quilt Alliance
amy.milne@quiltalliance.org

Treasure from the trash: Wisconsin scores!

On this day in 1848, Wisconsin entered the union as the 30th state.  The territory had passed from French to British to American control starting in 1634, when the area was a major center of fur trade. Wisconsin citizens finally approved statehood so they could gain from federal programs that were helping neighboring Midwestern to prosper.

This Mexican Rose Variation quilt was made by an unknown quilter around 1870 in Wisconsin. According to the Quilt Index record: “It was donated to the Wisconsin Museum of Quilts and Fiber Arts by Nancy Stecker. Her husband found it inside a trunk he took from the Town of Cedarburg Dump in the 1970s. The appliqued border on this quilt is very similar to the border on the other quilt found in the trunk.” It was documented by the museum during the Wisconsin Quilt History Project in 2009.

View this quilt on The Quilt Index to read more about it’s history, design and construction. Be sure to use the zoom tool for a detailed view.

Sources:
http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/wisconsin-enters-the-union

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Posted by Amy E. Milne
Executive Director, Quilt Alliance
amy.milne@quiltalliance.org

VW Love

On this day in 1937, the German government, then under control of Adolf Hitler, formed a new state-owned automobile company. The original name was Gesellschaft zur Vorbereitung des Deutschen Volkswagens mbH, but the company was renamed that same year simply Volkswagenwerk, that translates to “The People’s Care Company.” Ferdinand Porsche of Austria was called in by Hitler to build an affordable, fun car (sales price was about $140 in U.S. currency at the time).  The German government sold 60% of Volkswagen stock to the public in 1960.

Linnea Robbins of Schoolcraft, Michigan made this quilt titled “VW Love” in 1998, for her daughter Melissa. “I always wanted one of her quilts and she came up with this design and surprised me with it for Christmas,” wrote Melissa. “When I started driving, I fell in love with Volkswagens. My Mother knows this and has such a creative streak in her. My Mom always uses these bright, vibrant fabrics and she used some vintage ones because she knows I am interested in “older” things.”

The quilt was documented as part of the Michigan Quilt Project.

View this quilt on The Quilt Index to read more about it’s history, design and construction. Be sure to use the zoom tool for a detailed view.

Sources:
http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/volkswagen-is-founded

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Posted by Amy E. Milne
Executive Director, Quilt Alliance
amy.milne@quiltalliance.org

Quilts on Memorial Day: To Honor and Cover

As I search and browse The Quilt Index for quilts and stories to feature here, I so often come across records that mention soldiers, nurses and others serving in foreign and domestic services. Quilts made by family members to comfort their loved ones (and strangers) during or after battle, quilts made to honor noted countrymen and women who served, quilts made by tailors from uniform scraps, and sometimes even quilts made by someone who served themselves, are documented in this database of more than 54,000 quilts.

The quilts I’ve chosen to share below are from ten different Quilt Index contributors, including museums, state documentation projects and organizations, who documented and preserved the history of the quilt, the quiltmaker and the story of the quilt for this and future generations. Click on the images to visit The Quilt Index and view the basic record page for each quilt. To see the full information available for each record click on the [See Full Record] link at the bottom of the basic record page.

Thank You Clara Barton
By: Holmes, Ann
Date: June 1, 2012
Location Made: Asheville, North Carolina
Project Name: Home Is Where the Quilt Is
Contributor: Quilt Alliance

It is amazing all that she accomplished for our country. Establishing a public school; “Angel of the Battlefield” during the Civil War; spent four years to identify over 22,000 missing soldiers; established the American Red Cross and served as president for 23 years; at 83, president of National First Aid Association. She certainly patched many lives together! Her work was not considered women’s work and never had the right to vote. Clara died in 1912.

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Nontraditional
Top By: Kobler, Elizabeth
Period: Pre-1799
Date: ca. 1778
Location Made: Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia (WV) USA
Project Name: Permanent Collection
Contributor: DAR Museum

Donor History: Wool quilt pieced from tailor Barnette Kobler’s scrap box by his wife, Elizabeth Kobler, circa 1778. Barnette Kobler tailored Revolutionary War soldiers’ uniforms. Barnette Kobler had his tailor shop in Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia from 1774 to 1777. Barnette Kobler’s parents died in an Indian raid. Barnette Kobler, along with four of his siblings survived the attack and was taken into the care of his neighbors. Since his guardians were tailors, Barnette became apprenticed to the tailor trade.

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Four Freedoms
Top and quilting By:
Stenge, Bertha
Date: 1943
Location Made: Chicago, Illinois (IL) USA
Contributor: Illinois State Museum

Inscription: “Freedom from Fear, Freedom of Worship, Freedom from Want, Freedom of Speech.” Handmade during World War II. Appliqued Minute Man soldier in center, surrounded by hand-pieced 5-pointed stars.
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War Between the States

Quiltmaker: Unknown
Date: 1860
Location Made: United States
Project Name: Michigan Quilt Project
Contributor: Michigan State University Museum

Top pieced by the wife of a veteran of Sherman’s March. Made for a soldier in hopes of his safe return to Pennsylvania from the Civil War. The color represented the colors of the North and South.

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Feathered Star
Top and Quilting By: Kinkead, Rowanna; Kinkead, Nan; Kinkead, Polly Ann
Date: c. 1855
Location Made: Rogersville, Tennessee (TN) USA
Project Name: Quilts of Tennessee
Contributor: Tennessee State Library and Archives

This quilt (and Rocky Mountain Rail Road) made for Nan Kinkead’s dowry/hope chest when she came home from college, Holston Conference Female College for Women, Asheville, North Carolina, 1856. The feathered star was loaned to a young confederate soldier during the Civil War, when he hid out in a cave in back of the house. The farm was called Cave Hill Farm because of the cave there. The quilt was found some years after the war in the cave, stuck in a wall nook.

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LeMoyne stars/ 9 Patch/uneven/ Square in a Square etc, Sampler
Quilter Group: Boston women (donated to NEQM by Hobart M.Harmon)
Date: 1865
Project Name: NEQM Permanent Collection (MassQuilts Documentation)
Contributor: New England Quilt Museum

Made for Harmon’s great-great-great grandfather James George, a soldier in U.S. Army, Civil War; “H” company, NY Infantry volunteers.

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Schoolhouse variation
Pattern Names: House Quilt
Top By: Griswold, Levi
Quilted By: Griswold, Levi’s aunt
Date: 1890-1925
Location Made: Yarrow, Missouri (MO) United States
Project Name: Iowa Quilt Research Project
Contributor: State Historical Society of Iowa

Levi made the quilt when he was about 15 years old. He was awarded Distinguished Service Cross in WW I where he was killed in action.

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EIGHT POINT STAR, EIGHT POINTED STAR
Top By: AYERS, SARAH & WILLIE
Date: 1905
Location Made: United States
Project Name: West Virginia Heritage Quilt Search

Made for brother, William Daniel Ayers (Friar Hills, Greenbrier County, WV); died in 1927. Given to his daughter Kate Ayers McMilion, until 1936. Given to Ina McMillion Montgomery, daughter of Kate. William was a Confederate soldier.

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Spanish American War Commemorative Flag Quilt
Pattern Names: quilt is an original
Date: 1890-1910
Location Made: Laramie, Wyoming (WY) United States
Project Name: Wyoming Quilt Project, Inc.

Handwritten names of persons who served or raised funds for Spanish American War. stripes of the quilt Names on red stripes are not legible. Names included here are written on the white stripes.

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Friendship, Friendship Applique Quilt
Top By:
Inman, Mary
Period: 1850-1875
Date: End of Civil War
Location Made: North Carolina (NC) United States
Project Name: North Carolina Quilt Project

Made other quilts; Children: One child was named Christian Orella; Squares were given by friends and quilted when soldiers returned; Quilting was followed by a dance that night.

View all of these quilts on The Quilt Index to read more about it’s history, design and construction. Be sure to use the zoom tool for a detailed view.

Please help us spread the word about the Quilt Index to everyone you know who loves/makes/owns/collects/studies quilts and history.

Wishing you all a nice Memorial Day!
Amy

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Posted by Amy E. Milne
Executive Director, Quilt Alliance
amy.milne@quiltalliance.org

Q.S.O.S. Spotlight, 5/26/2013

One of my favorite questions that’s occasionally asked as part of a Q.S.O.S. interview is “In what ways do your quilts reflect your community or region?“. I love to read the great diversity of answers to this question–some quiltmakers are eager to explain how the colors of the natural world or traditions of their state appear again and again in their quilts, while others say their work is something that could be done anywhere and isn’t specific to a certain place. Judy Coates Perez, a quilter interviewed at the 2011 International Quilt Festival in Houston, Texas, shared a stunning quilt with an underwater scene inspired by Texas’ early (very, very early!) history. Judy talked in her interview about how this quilt–and many of her quilts–are influenced by the world around her:

Image“This quilt is ‘Primordial Sea’ and I made it in 2005 after living in Texas. We lived in Austin, Texas for seven years and while we were there my son became obsessed with fossils. We spent a lot of time looking around in the creek beds of Austin [Texas.] collecting fossils and it led to many discussions about the geological history of Texas and how it used to be underwater and why there were seashells in the middle of Texas.
I would think about, ‘wow I wonder what that was like? What was a primordial sea like?’ After thinking about that I decided to make a quilt…

CC: Aside from the quilting community that you’re in, is there any particular way that you think that where you have lived has influenced the way that you quilt?
Image
JP: It completely influences the imagery. I have so many pieces that are about where I’ve lived and that are about experiences that I’ve had. A lot of my work is very multi-cultural. When I was a kid, we moved out of our house when I was 13 and put everything in storage. I lived in Massachusetts at the time. We drove to Guatemala and spent a year traveling. We went all over the United States, Canada, Mexico, and Guatemala. We rented a house in Guatemala for six weeks and really got immersed in the culture. That has been a huge influence in a lot of my work: the colors, the imagery, that all comes into play. This quilt, ‘Primordial Sea’, is really about my life in Texas. I have another quilt that’s a big agave plant that’s about my time in Los Angeles when one of our homes that was up on a hill in a canyon. Often where I’ve lived has influenced my work in the imagery or colors or something about it.” 

You can read more stories from the International Quilt Festival (and hundreds of other locations!) at the Quilters’ S.O.S.- Save Our Stories page on the Alliance’s site.

EmmaParker

Posted by Emma Parker
Project Manager,  Quilters’ S.O.S.- Save Our Stories
qsos@quiltalliance.org

Thelma Radcliff.

On this day in 1991, “Thelma and Louise” debuted in movie theaters. In this reworked version of the typically male-dominated road trip movie, heroines Thelma and Louise drive a 1966 green Ford Thunderbird convertible in the climactic final scene (about which I will not tell you, just in case you haven’t seen it, but the quilter I’m going to tell you about next has a clue in her last name).

Thelma Radcliff, a retired occupational therapist from Troy, West Virginia, made this cheerful Monkey Wrench quilt in 1940. It was machine and hand pieced and machine quilted with scraps and new fabrics. The well-used quilt was documented by the maker during the West Virginia Heritage Quilt Search in 1992.

View this quilt on The Quilt Index to read more about it’s history, design and construction. Be sure to use the zoom tool for a detailed view.

Sources:
http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/thelma-and-louise-featuring-1966-ford-thunderbird-released

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Posted by Amy E. Milne
Executive Director, Quilt Alliance
amy.milne@quiltalliance.org