Quilt Study Groups

The Eastern Shore Quilt Study Group met on Wednesday. The theme was baby and doll quilts. In our unscientific sample Little Boy Blue was the big winner. We saw him in many variations: embroidered, painted and appliquéd. One LBB top had a border of a feedsack in a chick and egg pattern.

I showed my pajama factory Double Four Patch made of a wide variety of 1950-60 pajama prints, many in several different colorways. My favorite is tiny helicopters. An 1870s Log Cabin from Vermont is made of 1'2" logs--a real beauty. A crisp indigo and white Crosses and Losses was made in Indiana in 1889. The prize for pretty goes to a pristine 1930s appliquéd Tulips (all facing an elaborately quilted center) in luscious pastels with pink and apricot borders.

There was a scrappy Ohio Star with yellow setting blocks that appeared to be a child's first effort at quiltmaking. Among the doll quilts were a darling redwork of squirrels and geese, Sunbonnet Sue as various fairy tale characters and a one made of cigar flannels featuring baby animals (a collection I'd never seen before).

A baby quilt from about 1890 was probably made of blocks left over from different projects with strips of Flying Geese added; the back was pieced of 2" squares. Another unusual example was wool Bricks with an appliquéd scene of the cow jumping over the moon.

A real treasure was a red and green quilt made of a single (large) concentric 6 pointed stars with Corinne 1857 embroidered in the center. One lucky member has both her father's (1922) and mother's (1934) baby quilts. Father's quilt is white on white and mother's a Star in a blue print with great quilting.

An embroidered Kewpie Doll quilt came from Eckley, PA and an exquisite 1840 Lemoyne Star with a dog tooth border and tape binding from Sturbridge, MA

Once the baby quilts were exhausted other things came out of the pillowcases. The showstopper was a chintz appliqué (1830) from Columbia, SC. Even here in "quilt heaven" we don't see many of those.

A Swastika quilt always promotes discussion. The one we saw in cadet blue was made in DE, probably about 1910. Two very nice Sussex, Co. DE quilts (Evening Star and Churn Dash) illustrated some generalizations we're forming as the DE documentation project progresses. We see large pieces, utilitarian quilting, many flannel backs, often no sashing or borders. We need to see lots more quilts.

From the MD side of the peninsula was an 1860 Double Irish Chain in red and green made in St. Michaels, MD. and a scrappy Puss in the Corner with a fabulous variety of 1840s fabric, 6" blocks in the center with 4" blocks on point in the border.

Mary Harvey's Album, circa 1850, obviously Baltimore inspired, has a charming border of flowers in vases. I'm wondering what we should call these quilts influenced by the Baltimore Albums but made elsewhere in MD. What do you think of "Suburban Albums"? (G)

At the very end I got my PA fix. Two nearly identical Basket quilts. The pieced Baskets have two curved (urn-like) handles, they are set zig-zag with orange sashing. When the owner heard that the quilt in the shop had a mate she tracked the second one down and bought that also. Smart woman!

Barb Garrett is working on an exhibit at Historic Poole Forge in Lancaster County which will coincide with Quilters Heritage Celebration (March 24-30) and Mary Kerr is curating an exhibit at the Mid-Atlantic Show in Hampton, VA in Feb. of examples from her Vintage Revisited project. Cinda