Monday, March 14, 2011

Bed Turning!

After 6 days of teaching in Pigeon Forge, I finally got a chance to head to the other building for the show, visit the vendors mall, see the quilts, and catch the LAST bed turning on Saturday before heading out of town!

I love antique quilts. They are my greatest source of inspiration, and I had a front row seat to view these beauties!

I love the stories, and the more well worn and loved the quilt is, the better I like it. Unused quilts may be prettier, may be worth more…but to me, the life of a quilt is in the using. The people it covered, the dreams it captured, the lives it witnessed from OUTSIDE the trunk or the linen closet.

The bed turning of quilts was great….there were quilts from 1890 or so on forward to about 1950. The fabric diversity was great, as was the workmanship, from simple, utilitarian, to amazing applique!

My only regret is that the bed turning was set against a back drop of windows, which made good photography impossible. EVERYTHING looks washed out. I don’t have the desire to keep playing with photoshop to try to make things look better, but less realistic than what the camera actually captured!

So here we go:

The pic you see above is of a wonderful utilitarian style signature quilt…the names recorded in embroidery, made in the 40’s or 50s. FUN and graphic with great fabrics!

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I only took pics of the quilts that caught my heart….as you can imagine this Ocean Waves did! I love how the cheddar triangles alternate with the purple-or-green ones now turned gray. The quilting design really showed on the musilin ground. I LOVE this quilt..but I know I would go nuts trying to piece it out of only 3 fabrics. I know my limitations! I’d make one block and call it done..LOL

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You can see the light behind the windows….it really washed out this pic, but this is one of my fave pieced ones in the collection! It’s a New York Beauty variation, and those spikey wedges are such tiny slivers! I loved the purple alternate block fabric too….Completely scrappy, you can guess why I like this one!

Here is a close up:

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Isn’t it great? I love how the quilt has light spikes on a darker arc..I usually think of things the other way around, and I love quilts that change value placement.

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This one was fun! It’s a big and chunky hexagon mosaic made out of feed sacks! She really worked with her fabrics to have enough to go in each round, in some rounds alternating between two fabrics within that color round. It took soe planning!

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THIS BEAUTY!! I wish I could see this up close and personal…the applique was phenominal….I love the whimsy of these flowers, and of course the row of half blocks at the right made me Giddy with a capital G! I remember this one having something quilted in between the blocks, and then the blocks themselves were echo quilted…

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Again, pardon the wash out from the windows….these fabrics were BRILLIANT! I love the little green diamonds that march between the flowers and the gold paths. The diamonds were so TINY!! The workmanship was exquisite…

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What would the 30’s era be without a large and chunky scrappy Double Wedding Ring! I love the chunky square-ish rings….I’m not crazy about the perfectly round rings of “normal” wedding ring quilts. But this one, that included everything from the scrap bag was fun. None of the rings are the same size or shape…I guess it quilted out!

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This was one of the oldest quilts in the collection. It’s all wools and flannel and form what they said it weighed a ton! the fabrics go from black to navy to brownish red, and I love that the reddish tones are kind of settled in one area. It’s a thing that I find in antique quilts, that we fight to avoid today….we are so concerned with everything being spread around evenly…heaven forbid we stick all the red ones in one corner for effect! I believe this one also had flannel as the batting, and it must have kept many family members warm on cold winter nights!

The 2 lectures for the Smoky Mountain Quilters of Franklin NC went really well today! And I had the middle of the day to be on my own and wander around town. After lunch I filled in the time with such activities as finding a birthday card for DH and mailing it off, visiting the quilt shop, the antique mall…..heading over to the Greenway for a 2 miles walk along the river, and sitting in my car to finish the binding on the Little Monkey baby quilt ((Gotta send that off soon!)) and sewing some hexagons! It was very relaxing..and energized me for the lecture tonight.

Tomorrow? It’s Pineapple Blossom Day!


  1. What fun quilts. Thank you for sharing.

  2. Thank you so much Bonnie, what a joy to see and imagine the families, people and the stories that these quilts have experienced.

  3. I REALLY REALLY REALLY enjoyed the pictures of the antique quilts. I am like you, Bonnie, I love the worn and well-loved quilts the most!

    sao in Midlothian, VA

  4. These quilts are very inspiring! I just ordered your first Shirttails book. Can't wait to get it! I've also just last night started cutting and organizing my scraps. I love scraps, but have always been so overwhelmed by them. Thanks for helping with that problem! Love reading your blog.

  5. I was there too! :) Not on Sunday, but we saw the B group of quilts on Friday and the A group on Saturday. They were just breathtaking.

  6. Thank-you for sharing the pictures.

  7. wow, thanks so much for showing these gorgeous antique quilts, such beauty, awe and inspiration!

  8. ooh, totally partial to that NY beauty with the spiky bits!!!! so glad you got to see all these.

  9. Thanks for sharing, Bonnie! Those quilts are inspiring. Amazing what was done without all of the speedy techniques we have today. Enjoy!!!

  10. I love the NY beauty and the pineapple! They are always my favorites!

  11. Great quilts for the bed turning!! The quirkier the better!!

  12. I was also at Pigeon Forge with 3 friends. We had a blast shopping, etc. We went to Bonnie's dinner lecture on Wednesday evening and it was super. It was a highlight of our trip.

  13. Fun bedturning! Really like the NYB...

  14. Thanks for sharing the antique quilts. I have one
    identical to the yellow/green grandmothers flower garden. My hubby rescued it as it was about to be put in a dumpster at a neighborhood cleanup. It is in perfect condition.

  15. I also love antique quilts, in Europe they hard to get, so each time I'm in the USA I try to buy old quiltblocks or tops, and use them to make new quilts. I love working with those old fabrics. bye bye Caro

  16. I like knowing that I am not the only one to use flannel as a batting. It is so easy to work with and amazingly warm. Love the quilts.


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