Frans Vintage Friends


Yesterday was our first meeting under the aegis of our newly renamed leader Fran Fitz-Kennedy. FVF will not, however, be hyphenated. Except for Fran's name nothing has changed; it's all still wonderful. We had a potluck picnic (indoors because the a.m. was threatening) at the mill in Hagerstown, MD. Before we looked at quilts there was some great stuff changing hands. Fran had a few copies of "Echoes from the Hills," a wall calendar for 2005 with photographs from the West Virginia quilt documentation. It has pictures of 12 great quilts including an 1847 Honey Bee, an 1846 Baltimore Album (yes, it was made in Baltimore), a stupendous 1884 Prince's Feather (the whole quilt is a single huge block). Juanita Reed has the calendar for sale for $10.00. I've emailed her to ask if I can post her address. If you belong to AQSG it's in the directory. 

My twin (separated at birth) Suzanne Cawley had patterns for two great quilts in the collection of the Allegany County Historical Society, Cumberland, MD. Several years ago some of the FVFers went to western MD to help Suzanne document the Society's quilts. We talked about how great it would be to have patterns of these two very special quilts. Suzanne and her cronies have done a great job. 

The Isabel Clarkson Humphrey "Bleeding Heart" Quilt is a four-block (84" square). The feathered heart blocks are enclosed in two borders, one of which is a serpentine vine with leaves and heart-shaped flowers. The 1852 Friendship Album Quilt is made of fifteen 12-inch blocks alternating with plain blocks. For $9.00 each you get a full-size pattern for the quilt, basic instructions and a color picture of the original. They are available from the Historical Society (301) 777-8678 or

 Show and Tell was at it's usual high standard. My latest treasure is a real Sampler top from Meredith, NH (Lake Winnipesaukee--when you live in an area like the Eastern Shore where lots of people retire you never know what you might find). I feel as if the maker's whole quilting life is in this piece. She framed blocks and parts of blocks to the size of a 14" Pine Tree block in a turn of the 20th century collection of indigoes, reds, shirtings, plaids and a touch of cheddar. T-blocks, Double Pin Wheels, a School House, LeMoyne Star, Turkey Tracks. There was a Rose Medallion kit quilt with beautiful embroidery and quilting. 

Also from the 1930s was a scrappy Lone Star appliqued to the background--saves all that nasty piecing. We saw curtains trimmed with cute little calico squares and a single gorgeous applique block (a huge heart with oak leaves in a single brick red print) from a box lot at an auction. What the owner downplayed as "just a 9-Patch" turned out to be a collection of 1820s fabrics with a block printed chintz border!

 It was a good day for Log Cabins including a top with an intertwined border that I borrowed to copy and spent four hours figuring out how to graph it. The woman who made this was a lot smarter than I am. There was an 1850s Ohio Star inscribed with fraktur letters, the first fraktur quilt I've seen in that pattern. 

A great Basket quilt was set in a Garden Maze with a machine appliqued border (of a strange designs that looked like Japanese lanterns set on edge). We saw a huge Starburst (diamonds from one side of the quilt to the other), very early, very rare especially since it was made of only five different fabrics. 

We had three Amish quilts: 2 9-Patch and one Lone Star. One top was made of Crazy Patch Flying Geese (early 20th century). You haven't seen bias till you've seen this. It's no mystery why it was never finished. As if I hadn't had enough good things for one day I had supper overlooking the South River in Annapolis and saw the sunset over the Chesapeake on my way home. Cinda on the Eastern Shore


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