• 17Jun

    If your antique quilt is in poor condition, there may be help for it.

    Check this website, Heirloom Quilt Restoration at for more information. The restoration process is tailored individually to each quilt, addressing specific needs. There are many kinds of deterioration that can occur with different kinds of textiles, and of course, a quilt’s prior storage and care play a big part in its present condition.

    There is a small fee for an evaluation. However you are always welcome to email images of your quilt to me at no cost. I can’t offer any estimate or specific information without seeing a quilt in person, but pictures are a good way to get some preliminary information without the expense of shipping a quilt.

    Check the pages on the website for lots of pictures of various types of quilt restoration work and quilt repairs. There are examples of different types of repairs to silk crazy quilts, both in the shattered fabrics and in shredded embroideries. One page has photos of different cotton fabric comparisons, and it explains how close to the original fabric color and print a restoration piece should be to the original fabric. And another page gives sequential views of restoration made to a mouse hole, a very common type of damage to cotton quilts. The mouse hole pictured had been chewed completely through all layers of the quilt, and you can see from the pictures how the repair is made and is nearly invisible when completed.

    There are some tips for wrapping your quilt with acid free tissue and protecting individual embellishments. If you have antique quilts in disrepair, the pages here will let you know that there IS help available!

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  • 17Jun

    The 2009 Mancuso Quilt Shows and competitions are well underway, and if you have ever considered attending one of these fabulous exhibitions, this may be the year for you.

    The Denver National Quilt Festival IV is over, and you can view the stunning Best of Show quilt by clicking this link. It was made by Cookie Warner, entitled “Crossing Over”, and is a beautifully serene landscape quilt. The Best of Show at the Pacific International Quilt Festival XVII was “Awesome Blossoms” made by Claudia Clark Meyers and Marilyn Badger. This fabulous quilt is a new take on a dahlia pattern quilt, with wonderful bright colors and an astounding border.  The Best of Show quilt at the Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival XX was “Saffron Spring”, by Barbara E. Lies.

    The upcoming New England World Quilt Show will be held in Manchester, New Hampshire on August 13 – 16, 2009. This venue is the home of the premier of the World Quilt Competition XIII and promises to be a fantastic exhibit.

    Philadelphia will host the Pennsylvania National Quilt Extravaganza September 17 – 20, 2009.

    October 15 – 18, 2009 is the date for the Pacific International Quilt Festival XVIII at Santa Clara, California.

    The final Mancuso quilt show of the year will be the World Quilt Show – Florida, on November 13 – 15, 2009 in West Palm Beach, Florida. This Florida show has the special exhibit of the 2009 World Quilt Competition XIII.

    You can get the Mancuso quilt show schedule for the rest of 2009 at this link. Registration for classes and lectures is available online at the site, as well as quilt entry information and forms. Be sure to watch the deadlines for quilt entries and class registrations. They differ for each show.


  • 11Jun

    The International Quilt Study Center and Museum of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln is a place unlike any other.  The institution is devoted to the research, preservation, and display of  over 2300 quilts, and works diligently to study the cultural, social, and political history which is hidden within the stitches of every beautifully pieced quilt.  Besides the research center and museum, the center also hosts a wonderful website where the collections of quilts can be viewed digitally, giving those who do not have the opportunity to make the trip a chance to learn about quilting history.

    The International Quilt Study Center and Museum got its start when the generous Ardis and Robert James donated their collection of 950 stunning quilts to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 1997.  This donation was backed by substantial monetary support, and the center has grown to become the leader in quilt studies.  The center has published several books, with the most recent one published in 2003.

    While the International Quilt Study Center and Museum welcomes all visitors, it is also a part of the Department of Textiles, Clothing, and Design in the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.  Here, it is possible for a student to obtain a Master of Arts degree in textile history, with an emphasis on quilt studies.

    For the visitor to the museum, there are a variety of tour options.  Guided tours are offered Wednesdays and Saturdays year round.  Group tours are also available by reservation.  Six to eight exhibits are displayed each year, with fifteen to twenty quilts in each exhibit, all researched with diligent care.  For any quilt enthusiast, a visit to the International Quilt Study Center and Museum will be an enriching and valuable experience.

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  • 10Jun

    During the Great Depression, many homemakers needed to use their ingenuity to provide even the most basic things for their families. There may be no art form quite as homey, beautiful, and, above all, economical as a handmade quilt, and the quilts of the 1930s encompassed all of these qualities. Quilting became an avidly pursued hobby among Depression era women, not only for the warm and sturdy bedding it provided, but also as a practical way to pursue their creative needs while providing for their families.

    Fabrics during the Depression Era were made with the new, modern chemical dyes, which made it possible for manufacturers to achieve new, lovely colors in their printing process. New brights that did not fade and smooth pastel colors were some of the new colors which could be attained with the chemical dyes. The prints often featured small flowers, cute characters, and whimsical designs. These were in stark contrast to the often bleak circumstances in which many people were living. The quilts made with these cheerful fabrics were innovative, often with a focus on applique designs. Sunbonnet Sue and Overall Sam became very popular appliqué designs during this time period, and we see many other appliqué quilts with butterflies, flowers, or animals on them. Women sometimes incorporated embroidery into their quilts; one style of appliqué during the 30s was done using a black thread buttonhole stitch to outline the appliqué pieces on the quilt blocks. There was great interest in hexagon designs like Grandmother’s Flower Garden and all its variations. This was also the period when Wedding Ring, Double Wedding Ring, and Pickle Dish types of curved piecing were popular. These patterns made use of very small scraps of fabric, so scrapbags and old clothing were sources for quilt fabrics when there was no money for new. Applique was often on white blocks, and bleached flour and sugar sacks could be used for this purpose as another way to save money.

    While women of the Depression Era did not hesitate to include their own innovations in their quilts, many of the designs came from newspaper articles and women’s magazines. These publishing sources fed and capitalized upon the quilting craze by distributing patterns and selling pre-cut cloth and supplies. The new designs, combined with the ingenuity and creativity displayed by women in the Depression era, created a very unique and cheerful style still easily recognizable today.

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  • 09Jun

    Quilt patterns may offer instructions for different size quilts, and usually the sizes are given in inches. Standard sizes such as twin, full, queen, or king are often arbitrary.

    If you are making a bed quilt for a specific bed/mattress, here are the basic measurements you will need:

    * Measure the top of the mattress from side to side and head to foot.
    * With so many different thicknesses of mattresses available now, you must measure the thickness and add that twice, once for the “drop” on each side. Add 4-6″ extra for an additional 2-3″ coverage on each side. Be sure that your quilt will cover the springs and the entire bed frame, or will come to the top of the dust ruffle if you have one.
    * Add the mattress thickness plus additional coverage to the length for the drop at the foot of the bed.
    * Decide if you want the quilt to include a pillow-fold, and add at least an extra 24″ to the length to accommodate that.

    Other details you will need to consider when you design your quilt are the type of bed frame. If there is a solid footboard, you may need to adjust the length. A four-poster type of frame may require that you split the corners at the foot so the quilt will hang neatly on either side of the post.

    You may decide to make a full length quilt that will hang to the floor all around. Usually a full length quilt is finished at 1-2 inches from the floor.

    If you are using a pattern or published design, and the size doesn’t match your needs, there is a simple way to adjust the size of the quilt. Trying to resize the blocks to fit will be very difficult in most cases, and it makes following the instructions confusing. An easy way to enlarge the quilt is to simply make the border wider, or add another border to make the size you need. If you need to add a pillow-fold to the length, add another row of quilt blocks to continue the design.

    If you need to make the quilt smaller, omit borders or make them narrower. You can also omit rows of blocks if it doesn’t spoil the overall design.

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  • 08Jun

    The New England Quilt Museum has been working to preserve our nation’s textile and quilting heritage since it first opened its doors in 1987. Located in Lowell, Massachusetts, this museum proudly displays over 225 quilts and various historic textile and quilting paraphernalia. It displays quilts both antique and contemporary, from the oldest and most historic to the newest and most revolutionary. Some contemporary quilts are commissioned by the museum, while others, both antique and modern, are donated by the supporters of the New England Quilt Museum.

    The New England Quilt Museum hosts many exhibits, as well as housing its own permanent gallery. Currently, the work of Radka Donnell is being displayed in the exhibit called “The Work of Touch.” These beautiful quilts embody the artist’s vision of self-expression and spirituality. Upcoming exhibits have diverse subjects, such as “Massachusetts - Our Common Wealth: Quilts from the Massachusetts Quilt Documentation Project” and “Master Pieces: Haberdashery Textiles in Antique Quilts.” Exhibits of the museum’s own quilts are rotated so that a visitor has an opportunity to see new parts of the collection at each visit.

    Besides its exhibits, the New England Quilt Museum offers guided tours and classes on various quilting and crafting subjects. This is not limited exclusively to quilting, as one current class offers to teach the art of making ribbon flowers, but the avid quilter will find useful classes and techniques here to expand their art. Anyone interested in expanding their knowledge of quilts and quilting should pay a visit to the beautiful New England Quilt Museum.


  • 07Jun

    After a decline during the 1940s when women were working outside the home during World War II, the craft of quilting experienced a slow resurgence during the 1950s and 1960s. In the 1970s, about the time of the American Bicentennial, a new age of quilting began. The serene joys and practical applications of quilting quickly enticed many crafting enthusiasts and quilting became a passionate hobby for many. Because quilting can be both a solitary pastime or one shared with other quilters, it can be enjoyed by all kinds of people. Quilt shows and contests across the country allow quilt makers to congregate and display their work, often competing for sizable prizes.

    Quilters today are afforded the modern convenience of watching quilting programs on television. The most popular TV programs about quilting draw tens of thousands of viewers on the Home & Garden Network (HGTV). Programs such as “The Carol Duval Show” on HGTV discuss a variety of handicrafts, including detailed segments on quilts and quilting. Quilters can also tune in to HGTV for the show “Simply Quilts,” by Alex Anderson, which is dedicated solely to quilting.

    If you are an avid quilter who also loves to travel, attending quilt shows in person may be for you. Check on the internet for the numerous websites for quilt show production companies, each of which offers information about quilt shows and contests they sponsor. There are also websites with information on quilt shows around the world.

    The American Quilter’s Society sponsors the “premiere” quilt show annually in late April in Paducah, Kentucky. The AQS has recently begun additional shows in DesMoines, Iowa, and Knoxville, Tennessee. Along with the displays of outstanding quilts in these juried and judged shows, there are dozens of classes taught by some of the finest quilters in the world. Vendors sell all kinds of quilting equipment, and quilt shows are a good way for manufacturers to introduce new products.

    David M. & Peter J. Mancuso, Inc. specializes in quilt festivals. Shows covered by this firm include the Pennsylvania National Quilt Extravaganza, the Denver National Quilt Show, the Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival, the Pacific International Quilt Festival, in addition to many others. The company’s website has lots of information about each show as well as the classes available at each venue.


  • 06Jun

    Feed sacks are cloth bags in which animal feed or flour, sugar, coffee or other commodities were packaged. The bags were made in many different sizes to accommodate goods sold in different weights. Originally the feed sacks were made to hold anywhere from one pound to twenty-five or fifty pounds. In 1937 there was a standardization of the sizes, which made product packing, shipping, and storage much easier. The standardization also made it easier for quilters to judge how many feed sacks they would need to sew a project.

    Feed sack quilts were made as early as the first part of the 19th century, utilizing the precious woven cloth that was a bonus from store-bought goods. There were different quality sacks, with grain bags being the coarsest and sugar and flour being made from a finer cloth. The early bags were not colored, and women dyed them to meet their needs. Some early bags were printed with heavy ink labeling which had to be removed. Sometimes it required soaking in kerosene or rubbing with unsalted lard to soften the ink before washing the bags in lye soap.

    During the 1930s and the Great Depression, printed designs began to be used on feed sack fabrics. Frugal housewives collected bags with identical prints and used the fabric for everything from curtains to clothing to quilts. Many times a swatch of fabric was sent to town with a husband buying feed, and he was given instructions to bring home the sacks that matched.

    Manufacturers of feed sacks soon began competing with new printed fabrics and colors, using a wide variety of designs and even popular cartoon characters of the day. The feed sacks became an important marketing ploy for many years, continuing until the 1960s.

    In some areas of the country you can still buy feed, grain, and flour in cloth bags, although they are not the finely printed types like those from the early 20th century. Perhaps with our new, greener economy we will see a return of the fabric bags?

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  • 05Jun

    The People’s Place Quilt Museum is a popular tourist attraction located in Intercourse, Pennsylvania. The museum is on the second floor of the historic Old Country Store and is known for exhibits of Amish and Mennonite quilts. The museum has received national and local acclaim since it’s opening in 1988.

    The People’s Place Museum works in conjunction with many nearby shops and galleries. The first floor Old Country Store offers only locally crafted goods. It is designed to support the local craftsman and highlight local creative talent. Customers and tourists will be thrilled with the beautiful and versatile crafts.

    You may also visit The Book Shoppe while at the People’s Place Quilt Museum, which offers a large selection of books about the Amish and Mennonite ways of life. You can find books on Amish cooking as well as books on Amish quilting. While touring the complex don’t forget to make a stop at the P. Buckley Moss Gallery, which is entirely devoted to the work of artist, P. Buckley Moss.

    The museum’s current special exhibit is entitled “A Showcase of Quilts: Dazzling Contemporary Creations”. It offers an in depth look at creative modern day quilts. While previously the focus has been on older works (pre-1940), the current exhibit is giving recognition to some of the best examples of contemporary quilt design. The People’s Place Quilt Museum is open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

    Admission is free.


  • 04Jun

    Though quilt-making is not as necessary as it once was, it is a relaxing hobby as well as an artistic outlet. Modern technology has touched every part of our lives, including quilting.

    Quilt design software programs are becoming more and more popular in the quilting world. These programs allow users to design their quilts on their home computers, print patterns, obtain yardage estimates, and find sewing instructions. The Electric Quilt Company has created several exciting computer software programs specifically for quilters.

    One of the best selling quilt design programs is “Electric Quilt 6″, aka EQ6. This is a sophisticated design program that is known for being very user friendly. This software can be used by advanced and professional quilters as well as beginners and hobbyists. Electric Quilt 6 offers one of the largest selections of patterns, fabrics, colors, quilt layouts and borders. And the drawing boards allow you to create your own quilt blocks from scratch.

    If you are new to quilting as well as quilting programs, “Quilt Design Wizard” is the perfect program to get you started. Quilt Design Wizard offers simple straight or horizontal patterns that are easy to follow and perfect for those new to quilting. Though the patterns are simple, the software still offers a wide variety of color, quilt layouts and options, such as the option to practice with quilting stencils and embroidery.

    Another popular product is “Quiltmaker”. In the latest version you can test your creativity by combining and overlapping various quilting designs, ultimately allowing you to produce something unique and innovative. You can custom size your patterns, choose from an array of popular quilting designs and push yourself to make the most interesting and exotic quilts.

    If you are searching for a quilt design program, research your options and purchase a program that is right for your skill level. If you’re ready to buy, you can check out the options here for a variety of software from the Electric Quilt Company.


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