Barb Garrett

 

Biographical Information 
Barbara has been quilting since 1969 when she made her first quilt - a "Trip Around The World" quilt that she copied from a quilt she saw at the Mennonite Quilt Auction in Morgantown, PA. While this quilt was made the old fashioned way -- tracing each piece around a template and using scraps from her mother's sewing box -- she now prefers using a rotary cutter and carefully selecting fabrics to acquire exactly the look desired.

She has a strong preference for traditional patterns and antique colors in her quiltmaking. She uses fabrics that recreate the older looks -- 1800 to 1930 -- making both full size and doll quilts, and using both antique and reproduction fabrics. She began her collection of doll quilts which she titled "With A Mother's Love: An Historical Overview of Quiltmaking" when she realized she truly enjoyed playing with the fabrics and color combinations and could make many more different quilts by making smaller ones. The collection grew with her desire to try other color combinations, or other patterns, or other settings. There are presently about 140 quilts in the collection.

Barbara has been actively involved with Quilt Documentation projects in southeastern Pennsylvania including Montgomery, Berks, Bucks, Chester and Delaware Counties. In 1996 she was one of two co-consultants for the quilt documentation project for Schuylkill County and in 2000 for the York County Quilt Documentation Project. She is one of the co-authors of the York Documentation Book, "Quilts, The Fabric of Friendship", published by Schiffer. Two of her doll quilts appear in "A Quiltie Ladies Garden Journal" which was published by the Variable Star Quilters of Souderton, PA in 1996. A full size quilt appears in "America's Best Quilting Projects", published by Rodale Press in 1996. A queen size quilt made entirely of feedsack fabric appeared as the featured demonstration quilt on a segment of the television program "Simply Quilts". She is also the featured guest on an episode of "Simply Quilts", speaking about Pennsylvania German quilting traditions.

She has attended many symposiums and conferences relating to the history of quiltmaking, and her favorite quilt books are those that discuss the history of quiltmaking, especially the ones which have been the result of documentation projects. She presently offers a lecture, illustrated by her doll quilts, which traces the history of quiltmaking from circa 1780 to 1940, dividing it into 3 time periods -- the pre Civil War era, the years from 1870-1920, and the Depression Years. The lecture provides facts, stories, and myths about quilting and gives information about the types of quilts, patterns, and fabrics that were popular in the various time periods. It also details how the social situations of the times both affected and were affected by women's quiltmaking. Many major and minor events in our country's history are reflected in our quilts. She includes the many things she has learned during her involvement with quilt documentations and visits to exhibits and museums.

For this lecture Barbara uses approximately 90 of her original doll quilts. These are not miniatures, i.e. using 3/8 inch squares, but rather are quilts that a mother might have actually made for her daughter's doll using the scraps left over from the full size quilt she just finished for the family. Some quilts are copies of actual antique doll quilts, while others are interpretations inspired by both crib and full size quilts. She also includes information about where she got her inspirations and a little about how she designed her patterns. From the popularity of her lecture and the quilts themselves, "With a Mother's Love" is now evolving to also become a design and publishing company of the patterns for these quilts. The collection presently includes patterns for thirteen of the quilts used in the presentation. Each pattern reflects quilt-making traditions practiced throughout U.S. history and includes historical information about the specific quilt. As time permits, Barbara will be developing patterns for many of the present quilts and will be creating new quilts and their patterns.