Thursday, May 10, 2012

JBV, Circa 1830

I’m glad I’m doing these New Paltz quilts in short bursts…it gives ME a chance to slow down on the photo editing and revisit each quilt. It also gives you a chance to slow down for the same reason --- and instead of dealing with photo overload as happens with workshop albums, concentrate on ONE THING.

So sometimes, yes --- less is MORE!

When I arrived in the archive room, the girls told me that I could choose ANY quilt I wanted to. ANY QUILT. How do you choose what you want to see?!

The quilts are in archival boxes on shelves in storage rooms--- ((You can see some behind the gals in the photo)) and on the end of each box is a piece of paper with a description and a photo of the quilt. As much as I wanted to see them ALL – I was limited to about 2 hours before I needed to hit the road, and so I was looking for out-of-the-ordinary things that bring the maker’s personality to light.

I am kind of an out-of-the-ordinary girl myself, you know? So when I saw the box for this one, I knew it had to come out!

((And I’m sorry, again I was trying hard to take pics with gloves on, and that just doesn’t work with a touch screen phone!))

Small stars. I love stars! Ohio stars are SO classic, and yet I am always drawn to them. This quilt was made around 1830, and it is not one of the best quilts in the collection. In fact, it is quite wonky in areas…..but….

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I wasn’t taking notes, so I don’t remember who JBV is ---but it was really neat for me to be able to point out some things to the curators that even they didn’t notice before. For instance:

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See that wonky half star after the V? It’s not pieced into the quilt as the others are…..it’s appliqued on. This half star is set “straight” when the others are all on point…even the one on the other side of the J was pieced in, and is a half star on point…don’t you wish you knew WHY!?

Maybe the intials weren't centered "just right" and not having that star there left a big empty space? But why set it straight instead of on point? Oh -- I love a mystery in a quilt! And I love IMPERFECTIONS! Quilts that are "too perfect" are boring to me.

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The quilting was nicely done, but the stitches are not miniscule, and a lot of the stars are more wonky ---but to me, this shows character! Could it have been a learning piece by a new quilter? Were the stars made by different people? The stars in the bottom row of the pic you see above are of the same fabric as the JVB initials. There was more of this fabric print in the quilt than any other, but there are others:

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Can you see the stitches on this one? Quilted not quite in the ditch, but not 1/4” away either ---love that ombre stripe!

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Look at this one! Here you can see that it IS an Ohio star by the outline of the block, not an evening star as it looks in the quilt ---what a great early print!

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But THIS ----THIS is the reason I fell in love with it – and I’m sorry for the blur! ORANGE GINGHAM SETTING TRIANGLES! and of course they are cut with the bias to the outside. The edge is bound with fringe ----I just loved this!

Back to yesterday’s Treadle Tower post ---for those who were SAD to see this – think about it. I’d rather see treadles made into art, or used as couch table bases than melted down in the scrap heap, which is what happens to most of them when they are done fulfilling their purpose.

Someone thought they were beautiful enough to make a statue from them. For an avid vintage machine lover such as myself ---I’m TICKLED to see them there. How many people walk by thinking “Hey, my grandmother or great grandmother sewed on a machine with one of those ---“ It’s a GOOD THING.

I’m off to go teach at a local guild in Greensboro today! I hope to make some more local quilty friends! Tonight is my trunk show there, so it’s a very long day. The best part is, I’ll only have 25 miles to drive to get myself back to my own bed tonight.

Happy Thursday, Everyone!


  1. Anonymous8:48 AM EDT

    So is the fringe original to the quilt do you think? Or added at a "fix" it time? Hand sewn? or machine? or can you remember? Some how the fringe seems "off".

  2. Anonymous9:33 AM EDT

    I just love Ohio Stars...and I have never seen a quilt with fringe on the edge. Bonnie, I just love traveling with you!! tehe

    Teresa Nelson tlnelson755@centurytel.net

  3. Anonymous9:47 AM EDT

    Maybe that wonky star was a daughter's attempt at learning to appliqué. From the picture I could see that there was the half star on one side of the initials and not on the other...that would bug me too. Maybe she got ready to quilt it and noticed that and just HAD to do something about it, but couldn't figure out any other way to get it in there! :-) Love these...I am really getting interested in the history of quilting and these are so cool. --Katie

  4. Thank You, Bonnie for showing us these wonderful old quilts. I love to see how they did not do the 1/4 in. around those blocks. Just like my Mother did. We have gone a long way. I think you need to stay home and rest a bit.

  5. Did you learn anything about how this collection was put together and if the quilts are local New York quilts? This quilt is really interesting even more so with your careful examination and explanations for us.
    Thanks Bonnie for taking the time to put that together, I know you have a million things going on in your life.

    Happy Sewing, I hope you are going to be home for Mother's Day :0)

  6. I just wanted to thank you for sharing these, one at a time so we can just take it all in. I love seeing old quilts, the wonderful hand quilting and their imperfections. It still amazes me that they are as accurate as they are considering they didn't have the gadgets available today, or wonderful quilt shops to buy their stash at.

  7. Anonymous9:46 PM EDT

    Hi Bonnie --Thanks for sharing the older quilts. It just goes to show that no matter how the quilts end it is a master of greatness. I agree with you if a mistake is made so what? Just makes it interesting and mistakes do happen. One thing I wonder about is where do you get all the energy? You have inspired many many quilters. Thank you for the scrappy ideas. Joyce

  8. Dear Bonnie- I LOVE the older quilts! Although I have done only 3 quilts and 1 table runner so far (Im still a basic quilter..2 years experience)...Im more interested in either bright crazy colours, OR the other extreme, the used older fabric + recycled and pre-loved fabrics..These already have a history and I love re-using them..thanks the wonderful notes and photos..all the way from Brisbane, Marietta


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