Subject: curiosity question From: Donald Beld <> Date: Sun, 3 Mar 2013 08:56:47 -0800 (PST)

Hi everyone--I have a condition called myathenia gravis--which results in w eakened muscles and in most cases, double, blurry vision (me!). I have b een told by many of my fellow quilters to use a needle threader as sometime s (seeing two eye holes) it takes me a long time to thread the needle.

Just curious--how long have needle threaders been around? Any recommenda tions on 19th Century look alikes, if there are any? Got to stay true to my craft!

thanks, Don


Subject: Carol Miller From: "Mary Waller" <> Date: Sun, 3 Mar 2013 11:15:08 -0600

Carol Miller, the founding mother of, passed away February 22. I believe Carol was a member of this list. An obituary is at er < ler&lc4710&pid163233154&mid5434043&localeen-US> &lc4710&pid163233154&mid5434043&localeen-US.

Carol's husband, Roger, shared this sad news in the Quilt University March 1 newsletter. Roger also wrote that QU will continue to offer online classes, and current classes are up and running.

Quilt U students have been discussing support for inducting Carol into the Quilters Hall of Fame. You can read the discussion in the "Student Lounge" section of QU's "Student Commons".

Mary Waller

Vermillion SD USA



Subject: Re: curiosity question From: Date: Sun, 3 Mar 2013 13:06:07 -0500 (EST) X-Message-Number: 3

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I have used needle threaders for decades - the inexpensive kinds that come usually three in a package. I tend to loose things so loosing one of these is no big deal. Don't feel bad about using them either, I just have some farsightedness which makes me need help with those blasted small eyes. Mitzi from Vermont p.s. - I found also that 'spitting' on the thread you are trying to use doesn't help very much either (other than leaving a mess on the thread


Subject: Neelde Threader From: Date: Sun, 3 Mar 2013 13:09:38 -0500 (EST) X-Message-Number: 4

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Clover Desk Needle Threader is my favorite. Love to take it on trips by car or airplane. Even if you don't have a steady hand, your needle gets threaded.

Sue Reich Washington Depot, Connecticut ----------------------------------------------------------------------

Subject: Interesting needle threader idea From: "Linda Heminway" <> Date: Mon, 4 Mar 2013 06:02:26 -0500 X-Message-Number: 1

Don Beld asked about needle threaders and how long they have been around. As far as I know, they are of Victorian design but some say the origins were in China. I'm not sure, but I do thank the first person to ever think of it and I use them too, even without a medical condition. The eyes of the tiny betweens I like to sew and quilt with are hard to see and get thread through. I like the newer design ones that I find a little hard to find and when I do see them, I tend to buy a few packages. Once in a while the small wire will pull out of them so it is necessary to always have a few. Plus, I have a multitude of sewing kits for various things I do and each is equipped with threaders. The ones I like have a tiny razor inset into them that cut thread and, by the way, they can be taken on an airplane if one were to try hand piecing and not have scissors. My main reason for answering this is to share a tip, though, with you all. I am a huge van of the Sewing and Quilting Expo that comes each year to the DCU center in Worcester MA, it travels around the country and if you ever have a chance to attend, do go as it is just brilliant. I love a certain vendor who is often there who sells antique buttons and beads as well as lace. She also has feed sacks, vintage fabrics, old quilts, old quilt blocks and a number of things I drool over. I'd go to The Expo, quite honestly, just to see her and I'd be content to travel there just to see her and no one else. I'm a "closet" crazy quilter, who just hasn't finished much stuff to show off to anyone, but I have tons and tons of silks, brocades, velvets and all the goodies to make tremendous projects, but time is not on my side. I always end up doing other things, darn it.

I purchased some antique beads and pearls strung on a small wire (by the way exquisite, truly the nicest I have ever seen) the patina of the pearls varied and they were pink, green and gold toned and I almost couldn't bear to use them. I paired them with the most delicate and reflective Swarovski vintage crystals I have ever seen, surely among the first put out by them. Price was no object that day, and I don't even want to think about what I paid for them, but have them I must. I was making a crazy quilt theme reversible jacket at the time that was crying for the vintage beads and laces that I have attached to it. When I was trying to attach the vintage pearls to it, I couldn't get any of my needles to go inside these pearls as the holes inside of them were drilled so fine. I tried every needle I had and went out to my local bead shop and bought the finest/thinnest needles she had. Nothing worked and, darn it, those pearls HAD to go on that jacket. What finally worked for me was doing some experimentation in the house and I literally cut a few bristles off a new paintbrush from hubby's workshop and folded them in half with fine silk thread (also vintage) in the fold and then I could pull the thread through the center of the pearls and attach to the silk brocade on the outside of this jacket. Sadly, the jacket is wearing out and I seldom wear it as it is too delicate to take the action of my movements and certain beads and silk threads are beginning to come off and there is wear on the edge of the sleeves that tells me its days are numbered. I may deconstruct the jacket (I now find fault with the workmanship anyway as I have "grown" since then) and preserve all the pearls and beads for another project at some point, but I have a few more wearings it can tolerate. In fact, today is guild meeting and perhaps that jacket ought to come out for a bit of show off time? ; ) If my husband only knew what the ultimate cost of that jacket was, he'd make me insure it. Oops... I just thought I would share my needle threading related story here as there could be more of you out there with a similar problem if you are restoring a vintage crazy quilt that cannot find anything to go through certain beads or pearls that will work. I was amazed that in whatever time period those pearls were drilled that there were such tiny holes. I wonder if a jeweler would have special tools even back into the 1800s or earlier that would make such small and perfect holes. Happy March to all, and may you find the luck of the Irish leads you to a vintage dream quilt this month, Linda Heminway Plaistow, NH


Subject: needle threader From: Andi <> Date: Mon, 04 Mar 2013 05:49:11 -0600 X-Message-Number: 2

I can't speak directly to the historic aspect of Don's question, but I have a set of silver or silver-plated sewing tools from my great-grandmother, a milliner. It consists of a pair of 2-inch scissors, a thimble, a needle case, and an awl. The decorative workmanship is magnificent. She was in business from 1901 through the 1950s; there is no needle threader in the set. (Aside: She was 19 when her husband died before their first child, my grandmother, was born, so she became a single parent who supported the two of them with her millinery skills, owning her own shop, never remarrying, living to the age of 87.)

My all-time favorite is the Clover double needle threader. Others tend to break, twist, or warp on me. I get what Sue says about being useful in the car -- that's about the only quilting time I've had in recent years, so I rely on two other items to help with threading for handwork: Clover Goldeye needles (helps me see the eye) and the thread itself -- heavy silk, quilting, or metallic. Mitzi is correct - wetting the thread swells the fibers you're trying to pass through the eye. Some say wetting the eye helps. Others say that being sure you thread leading the old end of the thread, not the end you just cut off the spool. I think what matters most is being sure the eye size is appropriate for the thread type.

Here's my question: Why can't sewing machine needles have "gold eyes?" I know some machines are self-threading, but my beloved Featherweight is not one of them.

Andi in Paducah


Subject: Iowa/Illinois Quilt Study Group From: Date: Thu, 28 Feb 2013 09:43:17 -0600 X-Message-Number: 3

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IOWA ILLINOIS QUILT STUDY GROUP MEETING Saturday April 6, 2013 Kalona Historical Village 715 D Ave. Kalona, Ia. 52247

STUDY THEME: Celebrating 10 years

STUDY LEADER: Merikay Waldvogel: Merikay was inducted into the "Quilters Hall of Fame in 2009," and has written several books: " Patchwork Souvenirs of the 1933 Worlds Fair, "Soft Covers for Hard Times" and "Southern Quilts; Surviving Relics of the Civil


Quilt tour of the English Gallery "The flowers that bloom in the Spring,Tra la" and tour of the Amish Gallery.

Catered lunch

Show and share: Bring celebration quilts in the morning and any quilt in the afternoon.

RESERVATIONS ARE REQUIRED for the meeting, due to the catering of the lunch. Fee for the day is $30.00, is non refundable and due by March 22. Increase in meeting fee which includes lunch, is due to the rising costs of everything.

For those of you who will be in the area on Friday April 5, an evening meal at 6 pm in the Museum is being planned. Cost is $14.00, reservations are required and need to be made by March 22.

PIECES OF TIME MAGAZINE - a quilt and textile history magazine, published twice a year is sent coast to coast by subscription. Cost is $30 per year and CD's of previous meeting are available for $7 each. Advertising space is available to anyone, including personal quilt related ads and advertising from area shops. Cost is $20 per issue. To subscribe or for more info, contact Susan Mardock, 1339 Park View Drive in Story City,IA 50248-1816 or e mail her at<>.

If you are interested in submitting an article for publishing in the magazine, please contact Marilyn Woodin, P. O. Box 340, Kalona,IA 52247, Phone 319-656-2555, or e mail<>.

Mail to: Juanita Seward, P. O Box 105, Wellman,IA 52356-0105. If you have any Questions my phone number is 319-646-2537 or e mail<>



Subject: Re: needle threader From: Sally Ward <> Date: Mon, 4 Mar 2013 12:47:51 +0000 X-Message-Number: 4

Sorry Don, can't help on needle threader history, but since we are sharing -

Grandmother's tips for threading a needle:

Cut the end of the thread at an angle If you must lick, lick the eye of the needle (why does that seem more icky than licky the thread? But it does make a difference) If it won't go through, turn the needle round. Because of the way the eye is drilled out it has a 'leading' edge and a 'wrong side' edge.

Sally Ward


Subject: Re: needle threader From: Xenia Cord <> Date: Mon, 4 Mar 2013 07:51:12 -0500 X-Message-Number: 5

And since we have wandered so far afield from sources and information on antique needle threaders, there are self-threading needles available. I don't know if they come in sizes small enough for quilters, however.



Subject: Re: curiosity question From: Date: Mon, 4 Mar 2013 01:44:02 +0000 (UTC) X-Message-Number: 6

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Don't know anything about needle threaders, but wanted to respond tothe news about your condition. What a difficult thing it must be to lose your eyesight--just be sure you don't lose your visions.

----- Original Message ----- From: "Donald Beld" <> To: "Quilt History List" <> Sent: Sunday, March 3, 2013 10:56:47 AM Subject: [qhl] curiosity question

Hi everyone--I have a condition called myathenia gravis--which results in weakened muscles and in most cases, double, blurry vision (me!). I have been told by many of my fellow quilters to use a needle threader as sometimes (seeing two eye holes) it takes me a long time to thread the needle.

Just curious--how long have needle threaders been around? Any recommendations on 19th Century look alikes, if there are any? Got to stay true to my craft!

thanks, Don



Subject: Re: needle threader From: Sally Ward <> Date: Mon, 4 Mar 2013 13:43:22 +0000 X-Message-Number: 7

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This is intriguing....

'needle threader circa 1870'? Sally Ward --Apple-Mail-1--302170004--


Subject: Iowa Illinois Quilt Study Group meeting From: "Catherine Litwinow" <> Date: Mon, 4 Mar 2013 08:19:51 -0600 X-Message-Number: 8

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IOWA ILLINOIS QUILT STUDY GROUP MEETING Saturday April 6, 2013 Kalona Historical Village 715 D Ave. Kalona, Ia. 52247

Mission Statement : The mission of the IIQSG is to create and establish a place for sharing research and learning about quilts and related textiles, to network with local, state, national and international historian and to encourage historical preservation of quilts with an appreciation of the social, historical, cultural, and aesthetic influences of quilts and quilt makers. ____________________________________________________

STUDY THEME: We are 10 years old

Agenda for Saturday April 6,2013

9:00-9:30 am Registration at the Kalona Quilt and Textile Museum inside the

Welcome Center at the Historical Village.

9:30-11:30 am STUDY LEADER: Merikay Waldvogel: Merikay was inducted into the

"Quilters Hall of Fame in 2009," and has written several books:

"Patchwork Souvenirs of the 1933 Worlds Fair," "The Sears

National Quilt Contest," Soft Covers for Hard Times: Quilt Making

and The Great Depression", and "Southern Quilts; Surviving

Relic's of the Civil War."

11:30-Noon Quilt tour of current Museum exhibits: "The flowers that bloom in

The spring, tra la" (Celebrating Gilbert and Sullivan operas.

Noon -1:00 Catered lunch

1:00-2:30 pm Show and share by attendees

2:30-3:00 pm Closing remarks

3:00 pm Pieces of Time distribution. Agenda is subject to change on

meeting day due to variables such as scheduling, weather, etc.

******************************************************************** RESERVATIONS ARE REQUIRED for the meeting, due to the catering of the lunch. Fee for the day is $30.00, is non refundable and due by March 22. Increase in meeting fee which includes lunch, is due to the rising costs of everything. It has not been increased since 2006.

For those of you who will be in the area on Friday April 5, an evening meal at 6 pm in the Museum is being planned. Cost is $14.00, reservations are required and need to be made by March 22. Form for both days is included in this notice.


Bring any quilt to show and share that was made for a "celebration."

PIECES OF TIME MAGAZINE - a quilt and textile history magazine, published twice a year is sent coast to coast by subscription. Cost is $30 per year and CD's of previous meeting are available for $7 each. Advertising space is available to anyone, including personal quilt related ads and advertising from area shops. Cost is $20 per issue. To subscribe or for more info, contact Susan Mardock, 1339 Park View Drive in Story City,IA 50248-1816 or e mail her at<>.

If you are interested in submitting an article for publishing in the magazine, please contact Marilyn Woodin, P. O. Box 340, Kalona,IA 52247, Phone 319-656-2555, or

e mail<>.

Something to think about: The celebration continues for our 10 year anniversary and on August 3, 2013 our guest speaker will be Julie Silber. Julie is a conservator/dealer and former curator of the Espirit Collection and she has written several books. She is recognized as an authority on Amish quilts.

Mail to: Juanita Seward, P. O Box 105, Wellman,IA 52356-0105. If you have any

Questions my phone number is 319-646-2537 or e mail<>




Subject: Canadian Red Cross Quilts From: Sally Ward <> Date: Mon, 4 Mar 2013 14:48:02 +0000 X-Message-Number: 9

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Because I received quite a number of private replies about the CRCQs, I contacted the three ladies currently carrying out research and asked for most up to date information about their work, which I have pasted below. There is only one catalogue available from a number of exhibitions, and it is from one which covered Sewing in Wartime, so it is not solely the quilts. I don't have a copy so can't tell you any more. It is however still available from the Quilters Guild Museum in York.

One of the ladies kindly wrote this resume for me, and if anyone wants more information, or - better still - has some information to share with them - I can put you in touch. Although there are the excellent research projects already mentioned on this list, there remains a frustrating lack of documentation of the production and shipping of these quilts. One of the ladies actually said it is as if there is 'a conspiracy not to mention them' among the prodigious lists of clothing and footwear in the Bundles for Britain. Despite best efforts, they have not yet made a major breakthrough with the history from the Canadian side.

I have already told them how welcome a book would be...

Sally Ward


During WWII many thousands of quilts were made by women organized throughout Canada by the Canadian Red Cross.They were sent across the Atlantic and distributed to hospitals, maternity units, armed forces, refugees and families whose homes had been bombed out. In the drab world of blackout materials and grey blankets the warmth, colour and patterns of these quilts gave joy to the recipients and were treasured for years.

To date we have documented over 180 quilts held in private hands, museums and our own collection and frequently use ours when giving talks. They have also been included in several notable exhibitions including a single CRCQ featured in the 2010 V&A Exhibition, which will be travelling with the exhibition to Brisbane, Australia from June-Sept 2013. An exhibition at the Quilters Guild Museum & Gallery in York has a catalogue featuring quilts from the collection ( There is a major exhibition currently at Maidstone Museum, Kent until March 23rd, but no catalogue.

In the first instance, it is important that we preserve and record details of fabrics and designs from a particular era of Canadian quilting . However , more significant is the social history of those women who formed groups to give their time and sewing skills for the war effort together with the poignant stories of those who received a quilt with the distinctive label 91Gift of the Canadian Red Cross92. Out of this comes a better understanding of those who experienced the conflict at home and abroad thereby providing a moving and emotional journey through an important period of our collective histories.



Subject: Re: Linda's expensive jacket! From: Arden Shelton <> Date: Mon, 4 Mar 2013 12:16:44 -0800 (PST) X-Message-Number: 10

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Linda: we would love to see a photo of this wondrous jacket. I love your description...especially about the Expo vendor and the "price was no objec t"....I have so been there....arden (Ms) Arden Shelton Portl and, OR________________________________ From: Linda Heminway <i>To: Quilt History List <> Sent: Monday, March 4, 2013 3:02 AMSubject: [qhl] Interesting needle threader ideA I love a certain vendor who is often there who sells antique buttons and beads as well aslace. She also has feed sacks, v intage fabrics, old quilts, old quiltblocks and a number of things I dro ol over. I'd go to The Expo, quitehonestly, just to see her and I'd b e content to travel there just to see herand no one else. I'm a "clos et" crazy quilter, who just hasn't finishedmuch stuff to show off to any one, but I have tons and tons of silks,brocades, velvets and all the goo dies to make tremendous projects, but timeis not on my side. I always end up doing other things, darn it.I purchased some antique beads an d pearls strung on a small wire (by the wayexquisite, truly the nicest I have ever seen) the patina of the pearlsvaried and they were pink, gree n and gold toned and I almost couldn't bearto use them. I paired them with the most delicate and reflective Swarovskivintage crystals I have ever seen, surely among the first put out by them.Price was no object th at day, and I don't even want to think about what Ipaid for them, but ha ve them I must. .... ---352802979-576908398-1362428204:2560--


Subject: Re: curiosity question From: Date: Mon, 4 Mar 2013 15:53:57 -0500 X-Message-Number: 11

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Needle Threader

In answer to the question of the history of needle threaders, I think that traditionally children with young eyesight were used to thread the needles. You can see this in some of the paintings of quilting bees. I know it works for me, sometimes. Other times, I too must use a wire threader.

Suzanne Antippas New York NY


Subject: Nancilu Burdick From: Gaye Ingram <> Date: Mon, 4 Mar 2013 18:37:45 -0600 X-Message-Number: 12

I am trying to locate contact information for Nancilu Burdick. I've tried the last information I have, and mail is returned. She is not listed in current AQSG Directory.

Thanks in advance.

Gaye Ingram

P.S. Please copy to my gmail address: Suddenlink is playing its spring games with us here again.


Subject: If you are coming to the Lancaster Spring Quilt Show From: Date: Tue, 5 Mar 2013 10:33:31 -0500 (EST) X-Message-Number: 2

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I have $1.00 off coupons available compliments of Schiffer Publishing, Ltd. Please email me privately if you would like a coupon. See you there.

Sue Reich Washington Depot, Connecticut web sites: go to www.coveringquilthistory go to www.majorreichaward go to



Subject: Trivia about needle threaders From: Pepper Cory <> Date: Tue, 5 Mar 2013 10:31:14 -0500 X-Message-Number: 3

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Being associated with the Colonial Needle Company, I've picked up some fascinating bits of needle-related history. The very inexpensive threaders that have a small metal disk on one end are called 'coin threaders.' Supposedly, the lady's profile stamped on the disk (she looks faintly like a 20s flapper) started out as Queen Victoria's profile in the 19th century. The little disk was stamped over an old English penny and thus showed the queen's profile. Later in the 20th century, the disk image degraded into a general feminine profile. The coin threaders then and now are inexpensive and not meant to last forever. The thin wire can pull out. Other threaders were for heavier threads (like wools for crewelwork) and more substantial. I find the metal advertising threaders from the first half 20th century to be fascinating and can illustrated anything from funeral homes to brands of flour. Pepper

-- Pepper Cory Teacher, author, designer, and quiltmaker 203 First Street Beaufort, NC 28516 (252) 726-4117

Website: and look me up on



Subject: Needle threader for sewing machine From: Susan Seater <> Date: Tue, 05 Mar 2013 21:07:32 -0500 X-Message-Number: 5

Andi, Since soon after I got my Bernina in 1986 I've been threading it with this product (no connection). I think it is so easy to use and keep beside the machine that I was sad when Bernina added a built-in needle threader and therefore changed the pressure feet to accommodate it. I am still using the original tool but got one for each machine I added to my sewing room since then, including a janome whose built-in threader is temperamental. I got them at local stores (not ones that also sell machines), and then Clothilde, and now Nancy's, about $5 each I saw today.

Susan Seater in Raleigh NC


Subject: Re: Needle Threader From: Suzanne <> Date: Tue, 5 Mar 2013 04:49:30 -0500 X-Message-Number: 6

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Donald, if you do have someone happy to thread needles for your hand sewing at times, there's a trick. They can thread 10 or more needles at a time onto the uncut thread on a spool. As you run out of thread on one needle, you can put it aside and draw the next needle and all the thread you need off the spool, snip the thread and continue. Not that you'd want to do this all the time (unless you have very accommodating housemates), but when someone wants to help, it keeps you from having to ask all day.

I don't know where I got this, but it works for children learning to sew as well and it might be that my grandmother, a busy mother of six on a farm, did it. She was the best grandmother anyone could have, but she hated to be interrupted and asked to do things a child could do for herself, and the grandkids caught on to this very quickly.

Suzanne Antippas New York NY



Subject: Re: Trivia about needle threaders From: Suzanne <> Date: Tue, 5 Mar 2013 15:16:11 -0500 X-Message-Number: 7

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Pepper, do you know about when these first appeared? Very interesting information.

Suzanne Antippas New York, NY


Subject: Double Vision From: Date: Wed, 6 Mar 2013 11:43:26 -0500 (EST) X-Message-Number: 1

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Don, Have you checked with your Ophthalmologist regarding the double vision. I am thinking that I read in a journal a while ago that there are lenses that can help modify the double vision. Your neurologist or rheumatologist might be able to give you more information. As a gynecologist, this is totally out of my field. Best regards, Janet H in Fort Worth

And yes, I use the Clover threader that has a wire loop on each end. They are by my sewing machine table, the table by the best lamp in the house, in my purse, and in the side drawer of the desk at both of my offices. I use the Jeanna Kimball # 11 needles when doing applique. Couldn't begin the tread the needles without my Clover friend. JH --part1_6338.2274aa8d.3e68cc2e_boundary--


Subject: Re: Double Vision From: Donald Beld <> Date: Wed, 6 Mar 2013 09:37:55 -0800 (PST) X-Message-Number: 2

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thanks for the suggestion, Janet. I appreciate it. best, Don ----------------------------------------------------------------------

Subject: Tantalizing quilt mention in a primary document From:

Over the years as I've read primary documents I've set aside references to quilts. This one is especially tantalizing but I doubt I'll ever have time or ability to try to track it down. The quote is from Susie King Taylor's Reminisences of my Life: A Black Woman's Civil War Memories. "In 1898 the Department of Mass. W.R.C. gave a grand fair at Music Hall. I made a large quilt of red white and blue ribbon that made quite a sensation. The quilt was voted for and was awarded to the Department President2C Mrs. E.L.W. Waterman2C of Boston."Just now fooling around on the internet I found this reference to a fair but of course I don't know if it's "the" fair that Mrs. King mentions in her memoir: The womens relief corps cleared $250 by their recent fair at City Hall.94 Adapted from The Springfield Republican. (found at snippets-march-1-1998/) I also found a document at the historical society that is called an advertisement that mentions: The Old North Church Salem Street Boston : fair at Horticultural Hall Tuesday Wednesday and Thursday Nov. 29 30 Dec. 1This was on the historical society site at: 58&SEQ3D20130306194142&Search_Arg3D%281898~Women%27s~Relief~Corps~Fair%29&Search_Code3DFT%2A&CNT3D10&PID3DWFSpTvzQlrVB05vWYtxSi3QP4F8tY&SID3D4If I lived within driving distance of Boston2C I'd drive there pronto and start looking for references to Susie King's quilt ... but I live in Nebraska ... sigh.Stephanie Whitson


Subject: RE: Tantalizing quilt mention in a primary document From: Susan Seater <> Date: Thu, 07 Mar 2013 12:28:38 -0500 X-Message-Number: 1

Dear Stephanie, I won't be the first to tell you that Springfield is the capital of MA and is not close to Boston by Eastern standards. So unless the Springfield newspaper mentioned Boston, it is unlikely that they refer to "the" fair. (The town of Holyoke is near Springfield, but that document said Boston.)

Wikipedia says, "The Boston Music Hall was a concert hall located on Winter Street in Boston, Massachusetts,[2][3] with an additional entrance on Hamilton Place.[4] One of oldest continuously operating theaters in the United States, it was built in 1852 and was the original home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. The hall closed in 1900... In addition to concerts, the hall presented important speakers of the time." There is a picture of the interior of the hall in 1852. A major celebration of the passing of Emancipation was held here in 1862.

Hope someone takes up your research challenge.

Susan Seater in Raleigh NC


Subject: Boston and Springfield From: Stephen Schreurs <> Date: Thu, 7 Mar 2013 11:06:57 -0800 (PST) X-Message-Number: 2

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Ummm...Boston is the capital of Massachusetts. Always has been. If you ask some of the old Boston Brahmins, it used to be the capital of the world.

Springfield is in the more western reaches of Massachusetts, nowadays, about 2 - 2 1/2 hours from Boston. While Boston is on the Atlantic, and as as a result faced the world from a more or less seafarers point of view, Springfield is along the Connecticut River, and as such, was an important hub for inland commerce in 4 directions.

Susan Schreurs ----------------------------------------------------------------------

Subject: Fw: LOST QUILT From: Laura Fisher <> Date: Sat, 9 Mar 2013 13:01:52 -0800 (PST) X-Message-Number: 1

Ms Wonson emailed me with the request below concerning her lost quilt , so I thought it should be postedon QHLso that anyone withguidanc e might contact her directly, or perhaps you know someone who has the quilt (wouldn't that be amazing).>----- Forwarded Message ----->> From: Gilda Wonson <>>>To: "" <> >>Sent: Friday, March 8, 2013 11:55 PM>>S ubject: lost quilt>>>>>>Ms Fisher,>>My name is Gilda Wonson and I have been searching for a quilt that my grandmother gave to my parents w hen they were wed in 1944. It was made by my grandmother's quilt guild that was associated with her church. My ex-husband sold it without my permissio n at a Flea market in Houston Texas around 1968-69. When I tried to retriev e it, the antiques dealer that had purchased it refused to return it and as ked such a large amount that I couldn't afford to buy it back. I have since remarried and have been searching for it since 1975 with no luck. I really don't know how to look for it. I have asked dealers at quilt shows, but th ey say it would be impossible to find it. The quilt had my parents name and the date of their wedding on it. I think my grandmother also signed it, bu t I'm not sure. Can you help at all...? Maybe point me in a direction to lo ok for it? Thanks for your time, Gilda Wonson.>>My email address is gwon and my phone number is 210-313-7044. I am currently living in Utah, but my cell has a Texas area code. Thanks again, Gilda


Subject: FW: PAAQT: lost quilt From: "Sally Ambrose" <> Date: Sun, 10 Mar 2013 09:22:39 -0700 X-Message-Number: 1

Hi all,

I have had a plea for help in finding a lost, or stolen, quilt.

The person who called me is not the owner and her information is from her daughter who lives near the owner in Omak, WA. Due to the proximity to the Canadian border it is possible that this quilt could be found in Canada as well as USA. Or, the present 'keepers' might try to have the quilt appraised. Below is all the information available.

1917 (dated) Crazy quilt that is full size (caller's term) with gold embroidery or fabric on one corner and a red flag (faded?) on another corner. The background fabric is red and white. The owner had taken the quilt into a shop that sold fabric and quilting items to see if some of the deteriorating of fabric could be repaired. The shop owner said she could. After several weeks the Quilt owner checked on it and was told the work had not been started. He called when he had not heard from her but his calls were not returned. When he finally reached her, the shop owner stated that she could not find the quilt after searching and searching. He patiently waited and then received a check in the mail for $100.00. Yesterday, I received the call for help. My initial response was to advise "Do NOT cash the check but take it to the Omak police right away". My next offer was for me to post to appraisal colleagues about this lost 1917 Crazy Quilt. The rightful owner is distraught, as you can imagine.

Please keep your eye out for this quilt especially those of you in the Pacific Northwest and Canada. Thanks for your help. I have posted to AQSG and PAAQT. Sorry for duplications of emails. Sally Ambrose, ISA CAPP and AQS Certified Appraiser-Quilted Textiles

Confidentiality Notice: This e-mail message, including any attachment, is for the sole use of the intended recipient(s) and may contain confidential information. Any unauthorized review, use, disclosure, or distribution is strictly prohibited. If you are not the intended recipient, please contact the sender by e-mail and destroy all copies of the original message



Subject: Center for the History of American Needlework From: Judith Knorr <> Date: Sun, 10 Mar 2013 16:13:24 -0400 X-Message-Number: 2

I found a reference to this organization while going through some old quilting magazines (Lady's Circle Patchwork quilts, July, 1989). I am wondering if the organization is still functioning or if it is the precursor to another organization that is in existence today. The information says it is a national nonprofit educational institution with research facilities and other forms of useful information for needlework artists. They published a quarterly newsletter and worked to develop and encourage public recognition for the art of the needle. The membership was $15./yr (in 1989) and the address given was P.O. Box 359, Valencia, PA 16059. Just curious as I had never heard of it.

Judy Knorr



Subject: Re: Center for the History of American Needlework From: Date: Sun, 10 Mar 2013 21:11:51 +0000 (UTC) X-Message-Number: 3

Check with the PA Secretary of State or whichever state office there is in charge of registering business organizations. You can probably search online.


Subject: lost quilt From: "Linda Heminway" <> Date: Mon, 11 Mar 2013 06:29:10 -0400 X-Message-Number: 1

Sally posted about the missing crazy quilt.

Sally, I presume there are no photos of this quilt? That would be quite helpful. I also think she should be keeping an eye on e-bay. It is irresponsible of this shop owner to have lost the quilt. I really wonder about that. But, she might not have "lost" it, it could have been stolen by a customer or employee, which is a horrible thought.

I also want to say that recently I slammed my finger against a stool and counter and bend my mother's engagement ring that I wear on my right hand and had to have the ring cut off me and had to leave it at a jewelers for repair. I had a claim ticket but I never asked what would happen if the ring was stolen or lost while in their hands. I did get the ring back a few weeks ago and it is repaired and I am glad to have it again. But, this situation really did make me think. If you drop something of value (even if it is only sentimental value to you) for repair, perhaps any of us should be thinking of asking that question before leaving it in someone's hands. I should even check in with our dry cleaner, I guess. They destroyed a few of my husband's shirts and replaced them, which was good, but what if something like an expensive sport coat were lost? An agreed upon value might be a good idea. I'm really sad about this story and I hope this woman does get her quilt back. It could be anywhere. How awful. I have heard of lost or stolen quilts many times and it is always heart breaking to me as those quilts are part of families and heirlooms in many cases, irreplaceable. There is also a lost quilt, come home web site you might want to look for.

Keep us informed please. Linda Heminway Plaistow, NH


Subject: RE: need contact information From: "Kathy Moore" <> Date: Wed, 13 Mar 2013 21:36:49 -0500 X-Message-Number: 3

Thanks, Kathy

-----Original Message----- From: [] Sent: Wednesday, March 13, 2013 7:47 PM To: Quilt History List Subject: [qhl] RE: need contact information

Karen, I only know she started inthebeginnings fabrics. Try I don't know if that'll work but it's all I've got.

Warm regards, Sharron

~~~~~~~~~~~ Sharron K. Evans Phone: 281-350-3498 Spring, TX ~~~~~~~~~~~

On Wed, Mar 13, 2013 at 5:30 PM, Kathy Moore wrote:

> I am hoping someone on this list can help me locate Sharon Yenter. I sure need to contact her about a quilt she owns.

Can you help me?

Kathy Moore

Round Rock, TX ----------------------------------------------------------------------

Subject: UGRR, again! From: Pat Kyser <> Date: Fri, 15 Mar 2013 21:08:49 -0500 X-Message-Number: 1

There was a lecture at our library by a black man who talked about the UGRR and quilts. It was not a spoof; he was dead serious. Bow tie pattern meant to get dressed up before you left to escape, double wedding ring (yes, you read that right. He even had one on the stage) urged slaves to jump the broom and marry before they escaped, wagon wheel meant the escape would be by wagon, etc. etc. He said the color kerchief a woman wore and whether it was tied back or front let blacks know whether that person was approachable. He said the escapes started at Gee's Bend (I live in Alabama) and went to the town in each county that was a proper name, like Geraldine. Once they got to Huntsville, he said the escaping slaves were boarded up in crates and shipped by railroad to Chattanooga and points north. Oh yes, and if a woman's gingham dress had three rows of gathering on either side of the waist, it meant she was approachable. I went prepared to try to talk with him afterward, but by the time he finished, I decided it would be like attacking Uncle Remus. People left expressing amazement at all they'd learned!! That myth out there has a life of its own and is far too big now to attempt to refute it. Pat Kyser


Subject: UGRR From: "Linda Heminway" <> Date: Sat, 16 Mar 2013 06:58:10 -0400 X-Message-Number: 1

To Pat and all: I cringe when I read about people going around lecturing and continuing the myth. It sounds as if the quilt code has been further embellished nowadays. I am sure there were things people did to show support at the time, but with nothing ever written down, how do we truly know? Evidence is so important. When people have brought this myth up at my quilt guild, I have not felt like challenging their beliefs in front of people at a show and tell, but what I have done has given me some satisfaction. I have taken it upon myself to print several copies of these fact sheets:


I leave them at the literature table at the guild meetings and, oddly enough, they all disappear. So, someone is reading the truth, at least. I bring back fresh copies every now and then and this commentary of yours reminds me that it's time to print more and bring them in again. I have noted that since I have put the fact sheets out over the last few years, that show and tell doesn't seem to have the UGRR quilts anymore, coincidence or does it mean I have had some successes? What I would do is print several copies of this and if your library has a bulletin board or literature table, just quietly leave them there for people to take and view. If the Hidden in Plain View book is on your library shelves, I might even go as far as to place a copy or two of this fact sheet inside the front cover very quietly. I wouldn't ever deface a library book, but simply placing the sheet inside the cover is just a simple way to get people to think before they believe. I might even donate the Barbara Brackman book that disputes the quilt code to my local library as well. They love gift books, after all. : ) It is much better to just put the facts out there than to dispute a "nice" person who is just uninformed and furthering a myth in person in front of a group of starry eyed believers. Sadly, this myth grows and I guess it is romanticized by those who do not know any better and want to believe in it.

Soon after the Hidden in Plain View book came out, a quilt guild in NH actually did a quilt show and challenged their members to make UGRR repro quilts and promoted it in the newspapers. I didn't go to the show and have truly wondered if an entire group promoting this myth, especially a group dedicated to quilting and furthering the art and history of would take the time to know the facts. This was several years ago, but I have wondered if the guild has corrected their beliefs? Sadly, this issue continues and you just can't tell people sometimes as they believe what they want to believe. There is also the touchy subject of racism when it comes to this. It is so hard and you walk on egg shells with this subject. I have wondered if the Hidden in Plain View author has felt that people are racist if they dispute the contents of her book? At any rate, I have found that just making this one fact sheet available has been helpful to me in terms of setting things right. It is non-confrontational and just puts the facts out there in a very believable way. Oddly enough, people choose to still believe this and make money on it. Linda Heminway Plaistow, NH


Subject: another link? From: "Linda Heminway" <> Date: Mon, 18 Mar 2013 08:49:54 -0400 X-Message-Number: 1

I posted a link the Fact Sheet on the "Quilt Code" and someone emailed me that the link did not work.

Well, I found another link and I hope it does work:


Please let me know if you cannot find it with this link, or do a search on line for "The Myths of Quilts on the Underground Railroad". If you cannot get the link to work maybe someone else can provide one that does work? I wonder if there was so much controversy over it that it was taken down?

I also was emailed by a woman who asked my permission to print what I wrote and use it to help clarify things in her antique shop and community. I told her yes. I want to clarify that I am no expert, with no "title" as some of you have here. I am here to learn from those who know much more than I do about quilt history of all kinds. I love learning more and more from you all. I thank you for what information you have provided. My thoughts about clarifying this by simply providing a fact sheet that disputes what has become folklore myth (with no documented proof) rather than being confrontational are not what I would call genuine, but my way of handling it that seems to have helped. With my guild it has been easy and I have not gotten into big arguments or discussions with people about it as my one and only time having such a discussion was really unpleasant. The discussion was not "pretty". A woman who smiled a great deal and was so proud of her UGRR quilt showed it at show and tell. After the meeting, I decided it would be a good idea to tell her about the book being highly disputed. Boy did she get angry and said "It's in a book". I complimented her quilt and workmanship and tried to be as pleasant as I could. I could have gone on and on with her about it, but my choice was to walk away and not anger her further that day. I learned a lesson I guess. I mailed her this fact sheet afterwards and told her it was her right to believe what she wanted to believe. I felt badly as I did not want to burst her bubble about her lovely quilt and it was truly lovely but I did feel it was my duty to let her know. Big mistake, I guess.

I laughingly think of a current TV commercial that is on nowadays with some woman saying "It's true" about something because she "saw it on the Internet" and of course we all know that no one is allowed to put anything untrue on the Internet, right? The commercial ends with her meeting a blind date, a guy who is supposedly a "French model" and he says "Bonjour" in the most American sounding French accent I have ever heard and is certainly not a model based on his appearance. It's a cute reminder to us all that just because someone writes a book about something and presents information as factual, it does not mean it is true.

But, because that book exists and because people go around doing lectures, society will have this to contend with long after we are all no longer here to defend it. How we determine to present facts will certainly be what helps to rectify this situation. I, for one, hate verbal confrontations with anyone. In the case of this one woman, she had a beautiful "UGRR" quilt that she had made with stars in her eyes and referenced the book in her show and tell and also more than likely on her quilt label. The fact that I had to butt in and tell her that the book was based on a myth and there was no proof really was unpleasant. I did wait until after the meeting to approach her and did not do so in front of others. But, her remarks about the book and just because of its existence were justification for her anger towards me. I have never heard from her again since I mailed her the fact sheet, by the way. She is probably still angry with me, but I did what I felt I should do. I also feel badly about making her unhappy in some way when it comes to the work she put into her quilt. We all know how much of our hearts and soul go into making a quilt and if felt it was noble in terms of the UGRR and history, I really felt bad. I learned a great deal from this one confrontation and people's feelings. Non-confrontational truth is the way to go.

After that incident, I chose the less confrontational route, those fact sheets have been on our guild literature table ever since and they disappear. But, maybe that one woman takes them all and tears them up at home? How would I know? : )

Linda Heminway

In Plaistow NH where in the week of the first day of spring (long awaited) we are expecting 10" of snow.


Subject: RE: UGRR, again! From: "Kathy Moore" <> Date: Sat, 16 Mar 2013 09:00:50 -0500 X-Message-Number: 2

But, refute it we must!

Kathy Moore


Subject: Re: another link? From:

Mornin' I too have had many encounters with this 'myth' - I have been a volunteer at the Shelburne Museum for almost 10 years (in the quilt building) and boy!, have I heard stories regarding this UGRR Ior these) stories. I have found it better also not to try to convince those who believe. Won't even try to relate some of the Gee's Bend stories (?) that are now going thru the circles.......

Mitzi from Vermont where we to are getting ready for 12" or more of snow by tomorrow mid-afternoon.


Subject: Re: qhl digest: March 16, 2013 From: Beth Donaldson <> Date: Sun, 17 Mar 2013 11:34:18 -0400

What makes me curious about the Underground Railroad quilt story is where did the people who believe it hear about it.? Was it a story told in their families or did they first hear of it after Hidden In Plain View? So far, the only originator of the story I know of is the lady who was the source for Hidden In Plain View. I would love to hear if the story existed independently. Has anyone heard of this story before Hidden In Plain View? Beth



Subject: Re: qhl digest: March 16, 2013 From: Laura Fisher <> Date: Mon, 18 Mar 2013 16:06:14 -0700 (PDT) X-Message-Number: 5

seems like centuries ago someone shared with me that a black center square in a Log Cabin quilt meant this was a safe house for runaway slaves, thi s 'fact' from a PA quilt picker. Don;t know where he got it.Laura Fisher atFISHER HERITAGEtel: 212/ 838-2596cell:917/ 797-1 260web: www.laurafisherquilts.comfisherheritageyahoo.comfind us o n facebook: Laura Fisher


Subject: Re: qhl digest: March 16, 2013 From:

I had never heard of the UGRR before the book. It will make a very good research project for someone someday won't it. Maybe it will one day be viewed alongside that cherry tree and a young George Washington. I'm just reading what is apparently the first scholarly biography of Betsy Ross ... and looking forward to the discussion of that story through the eyes of a historian. It's always something.Stephanie Whitson



Subject: The UGRR myth From: Sue Reich <> Date: Mon, 18 Mar 2013 19:50:39 -0400 X-Message-Number: 7

First, there was Hidden in Plain View. Then, there was Oprah. After the au thor went on Oprah, the story went viral. Every year at this time, the worl d of quilt history tries desperately to put out the fires. Any other ideas? Sue Reich

Sent from my iPad


Subject: Canadian Red Cross quiltmaking. From: Date: Mon, 18 Mar 2013 19:44:44 -0400 (EDT) X-Message-Number: 8

Below is a link to my web site featuring Canadian Red Cross and I.O.D.E. quilts sent to Britain during World War II. Thought you all would like to see them.

Sue Reich Washington Depot, Connecticut web sites: go to www.coveringquilthistory go to www.majorreichaward go to



Subject: Re: qhl digest: March 16, 2013 From: Date: Tue, 19 Mar 2013 02:44:44 +0000 (UTC)

Log cabin quilts did not exist until after the Civil War, yes?,C2theref ore after the time of slavery.

So that story never worked.

Polly Mello

Elkridge, Maryland ----------------------------------------------------------------------

Subject: Log Cabin pattern From: Pam Weeks <> Date: Tue, 19 Mar 2013 06:30:00 -0400 X-Message-Number: 1

Hi All,

At the New England Quilt Museum, and thanks to Lorie Chase, we use one end of our newly refurbished CLassroom Gallery for "Study Pieces," lessons in quilt history. We feature bits of textile or quilt history via pieces from our education collection, or those brought in by the guest "scholar."

Collections Manager Laura Lane put together a great lesson in *Log Cabin*quilts for this time slot. We have examples from c. 1860 through several of her quilts recently made. There are sheets explaining the different sets, and examples to touch, as well as 5 quilts hanging.

What's not up for this bit of history because it will be installed next month for *SILK!*, is our silk *Log Cabin *dated 1858. I've seen at least one published diary entry from the Civil War era mentioning a Log Cabin quilt made for the fair. So, the pattern was seen before the CW, and named Log Cabin.

Laura's lesson points out that the pattern is represented in Egyptian tombs, and I think I've got it right when I say that strips of fabric were used in Log Cabin fashion to wrap mummies? Better check that one with Laura.

Well, time to walk the dog and shovel the snow--again!

Pamela Weeks Binney Family Curator New England Quilt Museum 603.661.2245 (cell is always best!)


Subject: Re: The UGRR myth From: Date: Tue, 19 Mar 2013 06:49:07 -0400 (EDT) X-Message-Number: 2

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I blogged about it last year, and a friend did this year. When I hear abou t it, I refute it. Beyond that, I'm not sure what we *can* do...maybe some one who's done a lot of research, like Leigh Fellner or Barbara Brackman, n eeds to write a *popular* book refuting it? Or try to interest a journalis t in writing an expose?

Lisa Evans


Subject: UGRR From: "Linda Heminway" <> Date: Tue, 19 Mar 2013 08:39:57 -0400 X-Message-Number: 3

I want to say that I had heard of the UGRR, of course, but had never heard of quilts being associated with it until this book. I saw the woman who wrote Hidden in Plain View on Simply Quilts with Alex Anderson several years ago and her words were that the story was handed down in her family over generations and never written down. She reasoned that the slaves were not allowed to read or write, so they told the story from one generation to another. Of course, stories can be embellished. We all have heard of the old theory that if you sit a bunch of people in a circle and whisper something in one person's ear and they are supposed to tell the story to the next person around that details are usually completely changed by the time it gets to the end of the circle. It happens. I wouldn't doubt that there was a small grain of truth in the story within her family but we all know that certain blocks she insists certain quilt blocks like Double Wedding Ring and Sunbonnet Sue did not exist until after the Civil War. I am sure she has been deeply hurt by the comments made about it being embellished and fictionalized, but the truth is important and we much have factual documentation in order to believe her story. Again, there could be some grain of truth, but without documentation and real quilts that tell us something, we cannot take anything as true. Another source for some of the folklore is the Elm Creek Quilt book series: I have read several of the books and the one called The Runaway Slave or something of that nature really brought some of those quilt codes fourth. It also mentioned, as I recall, something about hanging a quilt on a clothesline, etc. But, these books are fiction and we all have to remember that. But I think some people truly feel that it was based on truth, somehow? It enhances the believe Hidden in Plain View brought fourth. Sue, I agree Oprah did her share to promote and romanticize this, but then Alex Anderson had her part in this as did these other fictional books. Then, others have jumped on the bandwagon. Note that I drive by an old home in NH that is rumored to have been an UGRR location and that there are supposed to be tunnels under it and whatnot. I have always wanted to knock on the people's door and ask them, but it is a private home and not my business. But, if I ever drive by and they are out in the yard raking or something, I might be brave. I don't think there would be quilt related info there, but I am truly fascinated by the valid and real history parts of all of this. There could be nothing there and it could be rumors, but I wish for something there and I wish to see it with my own eyes one day.

I do love this topic and anything Civil War related.

Linda Heminway Plaistow NH, with MORE snow...


Subject: UGRR From: Kitty Ledbetter <> Date: Tue, 19 Mar 2013 07:46:40 -0500 X-Message-Number: 4

Laurel Horton is a good source on the myth and its author.

Kitty Ledbetter


Subject: UGRR quilt in Hartford, CT From: Date: Tue, 19 Mar 2013 09:53:29 -0400 (EDT) X-Message-Number: 5

There is an UGRR quilt in Connecticut. It was made in 1995. I was responsible for the Francis Gillette House block in Bloomfield, CT. The sites on the 4 quilt panels are well documented, UGRR landmarks within the state of Connecticut. If someone wants to capitalize on the Underground, this quilt is at least factual.

Sue Reich Washington Depot, Connecticut web sites: go to www.coveringquilthistory go to www.majorreichaward go to


Subject: Re: qhl digest: March 16, 2013 From: Date: Tue, 19 Mar 2013 14:07:53 -0400 (EDT) X-Message-Number: 6

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Try telling that to some believers! Mitzi from VT

In a message dated 3/18/2013 11:00:36 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time, writes:

Log cabin quilts did not exist until after the Civil War, yes?, therefore after the time of slavery.

So that story never worked.

Polly Mello

Elkridge, Maryland


Subject: RE: Myths and legends From: Karen Alexander <> Date: Tue, 19 Mar 2013 16:25:39 -0700 X-Message-Number: 7

I had a chance to bring up the quilt code mythB2 myself at a Book Discussio n group recently. The novel we were reading was about how faulty memoriesB2 can be, even of our own life experience----or maybe ESPECIALLY of our own life experience, according to the author. Afterwards a woman came up to me and thanked me for sharing about the codeB2. She said she has been very intrigued by the story but at the same time, realized she had some doubts about it but as yet hadn’t done anything to try to prove or disprove it’s veracity. I encouraged her to google and read a couple of sites we are all familiar with.

When someone brings up quilt code story, I usually respond, Aren’t legend s and myths fascinating! And they serve an important purpose among humans, too.B2 Because they truly are and they do! And I take it from there depending upon how the person responds. As Robin Moore wrote in "Awakening the Hidden Storyteller", "You honor the life that has been given you by remembering and telling your stories."

This is from 2007. One gentleman’s view:

I found his written story about his experience very informative. He did his homework. When the speaker realized he had done his homework and was taking a different position from hers, she refused to give her talk after he had to give it himself.

Karen Alexander


HONOREES OF THE QUILTERS HALL OF FAME ----------------------------------------------------------------------

Subject: RE: Myths and legends From: Barb Garrett <> Date: Wed, 20 Mar 2013 06:45:59 -0400 X-Message-Number: 1

Thank you, Karen, for that link -- very well written, and as you say, he did his homework.

When I'm in a "quilt group setting" or with an individual quilter and the topic comes up, it's usually Eleanor Burns' pattern book that is quoted, not Hidden In Plain View. I can't count how many quilters have stated versions of "But Eleanor wrote a book about it so it has to be true. She wouldn't have published a book if it wasn't."

Barb in southeastern PA


Subject: Log Cabin pattern history From: Pepper Cory <> Date: Wed, 20 Mar 2013 09:58:20 -0400 X-Message-Number: 2

Hello all, There may indeed been some quilts in what we now call the Log Cabin pattern made in the US before 1860 and our scholarship should allow for that possibility. The one dated in the 1850s is a true rarity and I would make sure that the age of the fabrics used confirm that date. But was it called Log Cabin back then? Or is Log Cabin a name we've adopted since? My theory is that the basic pattern likely traveled from northern England and the Isle of Man to the US in the great tide of immigration of the 1830s and 40s. Sharing patchwork techniques during a long and boring voyage might have been a pastime with the women--you know how quilters love to share! The Isle of Man version is called 'Roof Tile' and is the center square on backing surround by folded strips and pieced/quilted at the same time and then the blocks joined at the back with whip stitching. What happened when the pattern came here was it met traditional American quilting methods and the folded patchwork Roof Tile became the Log Cabin and often a one-layer quilt top then completed in the usual quilting manner. Note that wools and silks were often worked in the backed block manner. Point of history: in a reprint of Caulfeild and Saward's The Dictionary of Needlework (published 1882 in England), the authors take pains to refer to this pattern as 'American but more properly Canadian Loghouse quilting and only recently introduced to England.' The directions given are quite specific as to the size and methods. The whole block measures 5" square and the center square ('of some dark shade but not black') only 1 1/4". The logs are to be '-of narrow ribbon and four rows being required-'. The narrow ribbon is selected so two shades are light and two dark etc etc. Given those directions and the name in print, we can see that many subsequent Victorian Log Cabin quilts do display smaller blocks and incorporate ribbons. In the meantime, American quilters were developing the homegrown style of Log Cabin and stitching merrily along. The Log Cabin, as a symbol of Pioneer America, was even dated and somewhat romanticized by the 1840s. Witness the presidential campaign of William Henry Harrison ("Tippecanoe and Tyler too") His rival Van Buren tried to paint Harrison as a backwoods hick and an out of touch old man '-who sat drinking hard cider in his log cabin-'. (Never mind that Harrison was a Virginian born into a wealthy and prominent family.) Van Buren's strategy backfired when Harrison and his running mate immediately adopted the image of the humble log cabin and the cider barrel as their special own logos (talk about branding!) and trounced Van Buren thoroughly in the election. That said, I do the Log Cabin pattern both ways: American style as a quilt top and Manx-style as folded patchwork. Here's a blog I wrote about the Manx version


Cheers Pepper

-- Pepper Cory Teacher, author, designer, and quiltmaker 203 First Street Beaufort, NC 28516 (252) 726-4117

Website: and look me up on


Subject: Facts vs Myths From: Date: Tue, 19 Mar 2013 14:17:48 -0700 X-Message-Number: 3

Hidden in Plain View would never have gotten such a strong foothold in the quilt world if dear old Eleanor Burns had not chosen to perpetuate the myth with a quilt, in day probably (yet another myth). The reason it comes up each year at this time is that Feb is Black History month and teachers are looking for a bit of feel good curriculum. It would be fun to develop a Black History study guide that taught discerning myth vs fact and encouraged kids to think about how myths are continued. The guide could be targeted to grade school and high school history educational outcomes. If the curriculum had some sizzle and was easily duplicated, perhaps quilt guilds could be encouraged to provide it to teachers in their communities. To further dream, it would make a great student project at Lincoln. I'd donate to AQSG to get it spread around and I'm betting there are teachers who would write articles and help get it included in schools across the country. Wouldn't it be great to celebrate the talented Black quilters that really did exist during the slavery period and after. Somebody dream with me.


Subject: Re: qhl digest: March 16, 2013 From: Date: Tue, 19 Mar 2013 11:34:58 -0500 X-Message-Number: 4


I googled the phrase "oldest log cabin quilt" and didn't find that answer but I DID read Wikipedia about the Quilt Code and was amazed because it seems to be right and fairly well done. Ha. At any rate if you haven 't read it you might want to.Stephanie Whitson


Subject: RE: UGRR From: Date: Wed, 20 Mar 2013 07:13:13 -0500 X-Message-Number: 5

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I place the blame for the spread of the UGRR myth within the quilt world on Eleanor Burns. With a book and a TV show about it she is the source of a lot of the mis-information amongst quilters who are on the fringes of the study of quilt history. I was appalled when the Quilters Hall of Fame chose to recognise her last year--yes she has done a lot for quilting but IMHO she did so much damage to quilt history by marketing this myth! As to trying to refute the myth--last summer I happened to have a conversation about it with a vendor's husband at a quilt show. He was amazed at what I was telling him about the inconsistancies about the story2C etc. but was very open and willing to listen. I could tell that his wife2C listening from the background2C knew what I was talking about. But this guy got so excited about what I was telling him he asked me to wait and then came back with the president of his local quilt guild--he wanted me to tell her why this story was myth not truth and thought I should come talk to the guild. The guild president politely listened to what I had to say and then told me "Yes2C I understand what you are telling me2C but it's such a great story that I choose to believe it"!! I hear similar things from so many people and am so amazed that they would rather believe the lie. So sad. . . Virginia Berger



Subject: Re: Log Cabin pattern history From: Date: Wed, 20 Mar 2013 11:37:11 -0400 (EDT) X-Message-Number: 6

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Great history lesson for today - thanks a lot. The 'Log Cabin' was one of the first quilt tops I learned to make many (!!)years ago. As a volunteer at the Shelburne Museum in their yearly quilt exhibits, I get the Log Cabin questions a lot....... Mitzi from Vermont (where today I awoke First Day of Spring ) where I was greeted with 10" of new snowfall.


Subject: Re: Facts vs Myths From:

I've have that dream also (not as good as yours).....I have seen many award winning quilts made by black Americans.......Won't get into the more modern myth of Gee's Bend Quilts - some of those 'stories' could curl your hair as to their beginnings..... Mitzi from Vermont (where I was greeted this morning to 10" of snow on the ground - first day of Spring my butt!).


Subject: RE: Facts vs Myths From:

Linda your idea is a great one. Fight fire with a bigger fire ... you've given me something to think about2C since I occasionally speak to home school groups about teaching American history ...Stephanie Whitson


Subject: UGRR From: Kris Driessen <> Date: Wed, 20 Mar 2013 12:02:30 -0700 (PDT) X-Message-Number: 9

I am rather surprised that the black community isn't up-in-arms over this myth. How insulting to think that slaves were so stupid they needed a quilt block to tell them to go north! (Setting aside the fact that most slaves *didn't* escape due north.) I can see the possibility that a quilt may have have been used as an indicator that a conductor was coming, but even that seems a bit of a stretch. The idea that a slave would use their spare time (and fabric) to make a quilt full of symbols that had to be verbally explained just doesn't make sense. I wish that teache rs who wanted to celebrate Black History Month would choose to honor real people instead. Never mind the conductors of the UGRR. How about the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry during the American Civil War, the 9th and 10th U.S. Colored Cavalry regiments during the Indian wars and the Spanish-American War, the 369th Infantry Regiment of World War I and the 92nd Infantry Division of WWII, all with exemplary records?How about Ha rriet Tubman, George Washington Carver, Jackie Robinson, Martin Luther King ? I found a whole web page of black inventors here: http://blackinven They are the ones who should be used as role models, not some silly myth that would fall apart if anyone would bother to think it through .(Kranky) Kris


Subject: Re: Facts vs Myths From: Date: Wed, 20 Mar 2013 19:31:23 +0000 (UTC) X-Message-Number: 10

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Vera Hall here in Maryland has a wonderful talk about blacks in the Civil W ar, complete with quilts of famous black persons from that time, Harriet Tu bman, Elizabeth Keckley, Frederick Douglas.

Polly Mello

Elkridge, Maryland


Subject: What did the African American community have to say Before "Hidden in Plainview" was published From: Karen Alexander <> Date: Wed, 20 Mar 2013 15:09:14 -0700 X-Message-Number: 11

Here is a good resource about what African Americans themselves were saying/making about quilts and the Underground Railroad. This took place in 1997 and 1998. Remember HIPV wasn't published until 1999.

One would think that someone would have made a quilt about the secret quilt code for this project, if in fact any of them knew of such a code. There is some good UGRR history in this project, but there is no mention of the UGRR secret quilt code in the project.


As to what American American quilters think of the code today, from what I have personally heard, they are on both sides of the fence as well. The most outspoken about the lack of documentable history for the code is Dr. Carolyn Mazloomi. (Dr. Mazloomi is the founder of the Women of Color Network). You can see what she has to say on the matter in the series "Why Quilts Matter" that Shelly Zegart released in August 2011. The UGRR quilt code is one of the subjects Shelly tackles in the series. You can see Dr. Mazloomi on the second disc of the series, 9th segment, under "Quilt Scholarship: Romance and Reality". Here is a link to the ordering service, if you are interested. As I have posted before on this list, I am a big fan of this series.

Here is what Wiki has to say on the matter with lots of references that you can check out:

People don't like to be told they are "wrong". I think the point is to get people intrigued enough in the "mystery" of the issue that they want to read and learn more. Linda Laird, you have a great idea. Surely there are are enough teachers on this list who could work together to create such a curriculum. In fact, I think some individuals may have already introduced such "re-adjusted" UGRR quilt code curriculums locally. They've just never turned it into a national project.

Karen Alexander


Subject: Re: What did the African American community have to say Before "Hidden in Plainview" was published From: Karen Alexander <> Date: Wed, 20 Mar 2013 15:12:16 -0700 X-Message-Number: 12

On 3/20/13 3:09 PM, "Karen Alexander" <> wrote:

> As to what American American quilters think of the code today, from what I > have personally heard, they are on both sides of the fence as well.

My apologies for the typo in my recent post. It obviously should have read "African American quilters" That's what I get for typing without my glasses on!

Karen Alexander


Subject: library classification HIPV From: ikwlt <> Date: Wed, 20 Mar 2013 15:07:25 -0700 (PDT) X-Message-Number: 13

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one of the big reasons the myth continues (imho), we are too nice. the only recourse i can think of is a way to get HIPV catagorized in the library under "fiction" rather than history. then when it is used as A reference the book could be pointed out to be fictional and the discussion go on from that perspective rather than a personal "attack" which we all would shy away from. any librarians (or anyone really) k now if this could be possible?patti>I went prepared to try to t alk with him afterward, but by the time he 3D>finished, I decided it wo uld be like attacking Uncle Remus.>People left expressing amazement at a ll they'd learned!!>That myth out there has a life of its own and is far too big now to 3D>attempt to refute it.>Pat Kyser3D> --856753768-1076145283-1363817245:77120--


Subject: RE: UGRR From: "Kathy Moore" <> Date: Wed, 20 Mar 2013 20:07:56 -0500 X-Message-Number: 16

Kris, you obviously haven't heard Carolyn Mazloomi on the subject! There are others who protest, but like all of us, we and they are just shouting into the wind.

Kathy Moore


Subject: A Modest Proposal From: Gaye Ingram <> Date: Thu, 21 Mar 2013 5:40:59 -0500 X-Message-Number: 2

How to rid the world of the UGRR lie (for it is not a myth as that term is properly construed)?

I have an idea that is educationally and culturally sound: rid public schools of Black History Month. In fact, let's dump all the "diversity months." Our children need to know how to be American. We integrated public facilities, including schools, 50 years ago, and it's time we acted like it. Our children see blacks and whites interacting routinely; they have mothers who go off to work. It's time we got back to one of the purposes of public education---passing along the real history of our nation in history classes without sociological agendas. Deal with slavery as it arises naturally. Ditto for women. And maybe just leave the gay-straight agenda to parents, not schools, at least until the schools can do a better job teaching math, science, reading, writing, and thinking than they are currently doing. Let's focus on our common purposes, our common humanity, brotherhood.

And while we're at it, maybe we could rethink that phrase "the black community." Would we dare say "the white community" without irony? "National Review" and "The Huffington Post," both owned by white investors, are designed for entirely different viewpoints. Are we to believe that black people have only one viewpoint? The phrase "black community" is a construct of politicians, who acquire more power than they deserve by having everyone assume they speak for everyone whose skin is black. That is racist, and we shouldn't encourage it.

The world in which Nathaniel Hawthorne's stories are set is foreign to all 21st-century readers. They must enter it through skills that are taught through reading instruction. And if they have those skills, they will learn about human beings---how corrosive hate is, how love redeems a life, how courage is possible and how we all try to run from our sins and errors. These are human lessons. Alice Walker's "Everyday Use" is about the value of family and the alienation that occurs when one loses vital contact with family and traditions. This story is about problems that touch all human beings. That's what makes literature great, what makes it last.

I understand personally what it means to encounter nothing with which one is familiar in grade-school reading texts. I grew up a country child in the Deep South, believing "real life" took place in small New Englandish towns with pies cooling in open kitchen windows, brilliantly colored leaves required burning in the fall, and where Scotties named Mac and cats named Muff cavorted inside neat picket fences with their tidy owners, Bob and Nancy. Nobody in those stories had feist dogs or one-acre front yards or acreage for a horse. There were no Mary Beths or William Wallaces. No burning summers. No pine trees. And I felt that to be anybody much, I probably needed to get myself to where Mac and Muff lived. So I know how a black child feels if her reader gives her only a lily-white suburbia. Everyone needs to see the world he himself knows occasionally in school books.

My own children's readers had a variety of characters from a variety of backgrounds once they got past the animal stories of kindergarten. And they also selected books from the school library, which had a wide range of books. In fact, they had every background except the one in which they lived. But their teachers were skilled, the effort was not so much literature as learning to read well.

And right now, our children are not learning to read well. They are not learning to think critically. They are not being taught to recognize the most common logical fallacies. And if statistics are accurate, they are not learning math and science particularly well.

So I suggest we rid our curriculum of diversity-training months, thereby relieving teachers of finding some activity---any activity---geared to those and letting them focus on basic educational goals.

A rally toward that end would have shock-and-awe power.

Wild in Louisiana, Gaye Ingram


Subject: Dreaming with you From: "Linda Heminway" <> Date: Thu, 21 Mar 2013 07:23:37 -0400 X-Message-Number: 3

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I too, hope for something "cool" that teachers could use during Black History Month rather than the UGRR quilt codes that we are disputing. I wish that would happen.

I was wondering if, as Facebook is "viral" and if anyone had the time, it would be interesting to create a Facebook page or web presence dedicated to truth and suggesting projects that are factual for kids and uninformed quilters that are actually based on fact. I don't know if our Quilt History group has part of its web page where it can be seen by the public and those of us with ideas could write in ideas and it could be communicated to educators?

I loved Sue Reich's quilt that she talked about and the link she provided, by the way.

I'm going to put on my thinking cap and give some of this thought.

By the way, not trying to be racist at all, but I have always wondered why we have a Black History Month and do not have Asian history, or Irish history month or some other culture of immigrants who have come to the USA? I realize Blacks were brought here unwillingly as slaves, I'm not stupid, but we have had immigrants and others here as well as many other races and ethnic groups who are endless in our melting pot of a country. Why is it there are no other celebrations? I guess we celebrate the Pilgrims, kind of, on Thanksgiving, but is there anything else I am missing?

Getting back to a project for school children, a Facebook presence would be something if it were controlled by historians who would correct UGRR suggestions that were not factual. We might actually have something to offer as alternatives.

I'm dreaming "out loud" here.

Linda Heminway

Plaistow, NH


Subject: Diversity and Black History month From: Sue Reich <>

Gaye, I would love for us to take up the challenge to rid public schools o f Black History Month and all the "diversity months."

Today, my grandchildren go to school in the racially diverse Boston school s where busing forced desegregation 25 years ago. Their classrooms are mini United Nations with every ethnic group represented. One little girl in Zac h's kindergarten class has half her family living in Africa. There are many Jewish children from the surrounding community of Jamaica Plain. And for m any of the children, Spanish is their primary language and their families ca me here from all over Central and South America. After spending time in the classroom, I can tell you these kids do not see skin color. When grandma goes to visit, I frequently ask the question "What did you le arn in school today." Throughout the month of January and February, my grand son's answer was slavery. Really, two months devoted to slavery! His level at math and reading seems about right but his printing is woefully behind f or an almost 6 year old. Penmanship is a grueling, painfully slow, repetiti ve exercise that takes time and concentration. Most likely, in a classroom o f 24 children with an occasional aide, attention to such timeless activities of learning cannot be addressed. The counter attack on the UGRR myth has to begin at the grass roots. It w ould also help to have Oprah on board. She was very quick to call out James Frey with his book "A Million Little Pieces" for fraud and public betrayal. She must have knowledge of the fraud perpetrated by Hidden in Plain View. Yet, she remains silent over all these years. Sue Reich


Subject: RE: Dreaming with you From: Date: Thu, 21 Mar 2013 10:46:06 -0400 X-Message-Number: 5

I would love to see how a German History Month would go over...not! Candace Perry


Subject: Re: quilt code lesson plans From: <> Date: Thu, 21 Mar 2013 7:23:59 -0700 X-Message-Number: 6

I usually try to keep quiet when this issue roars up a few times a year. I use to teach and there was a lot of emphasis on using "hands on" activities and integrating different subject areas. The reason the quilt code has caught on as a lesson plan is be cause it integrates math, history, reading (Sweet Clara Book), writing, code breaking (higher level thinking skills??), and HANDS ON ACTIVITIES (making quilt blocks) etc. If you want to fight this myth in the schools then you develop lesson plans that integrate several subject areas and include hands on activities. Perhaps one on myths? Post the lesson plans in your blogs and on your websites where teachers can easily obtain them for free or with out copy right issues. The problem with other history lessons is that they are usually not that interesting to kids. Sure they are to us... but think back to when you were in 3rd or 4th grade. Were you interested in learning more names or facts??? I think I was more interested in designing clothes for my Troll Dolls. Now teachers are also competing with computer games. If you can think of an interesting way to present a subject that includes "hands on" activities, write about it. You need to give the teachers an alternative to a lesson plan that successfully engages the students. Once the students begin getting interested in the UGRR it gives them a link and then the real historical figures begin to come to life.

Gale Slagle (I taught Science, we just disected frogs)