Thursday, November 29, 2012

A Visit with Claire & Ray Vlasin!

I had an afternoon flight out of Lansing on the day that I returned home from Michigan.

An invite from Claire and Ray Vlasin to view their beautiful home and their quilt collection was a welcome way to fill those hours – and my mind—with some amazing quilts!

Claire is a very accomplished quilter herself, and we found ourselves with so much in common!  She loves traditional scrap quilts and is an avid piecer.  She started collecting antique quilts many years ago, and is lucky enough to have a hubby that encourages her and supports her in her endeavor to preserve these priceless heirlooms.

Not only does Ray gift her with antique quilts for special occasions, such as a birthday or an anniversary, he is also an avid collector of beautiful art glass, and his pieces can be seen displayed throughout their beautiful home – the colors of the glass complimenting perfectly the radiant colors in Claire’s quilts.

One special quilt – I wish I had thought to photograph it --- contained photographs of their long life together from the time when they were young, in love, with their whole life ahead of them.  I remember seeing Claire in her nurses uniform after graduating from nursing school.  Her smile in that long ago photo sticks in my mind, and she has that same smile and twinkle in her eye today.

Not only do they revere and collect quilts – they are preserved and stored in a climate controlled room – complete with special racks and a quilt storage unit that Ray designed for Claire.

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This rack holds many of Claire’s quilts and some antique quilts!

Just as with my visit to Michigan State University and the Great Lakes Quilt Collection – these quilts are rolled on museum quality acid-free tubes made of cotton rag.  The covering you see is NOT plastic, but breathable mylar and protects the quilts.  Don’t you wish you could unroll and view each and every one of these quilts? 

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Another rack lines an adjacent wall!

Those quilts looked wrapped up as giant pieces of eye candy!  Which one would you unroll first?  If you look to the right of the photo…you’ll see some drawers…these drawers slide out much like highly designed kitchen cabinets --- each drawer chock full of beautiful antique quilts on rollers.  Look:

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Wow!  I definitely wanted to unroll that tumbling block!
((And we did! I’ll share that in another post!))

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I spy a Carolina lily in cheddar and red!
The blazing star with the pink print background calls to me too…Yummy!

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Oh goodness!  Each drawer so full of treasures!

Evening star, Crazy Ann, bring them to me!

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Close-up of print fabric on the Evening star!  Bright and clear as if it was new!

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Remember Mr Rogers?  One of these things is not like the others?

From the back to the front we have Axe Head or Apple Core, Sunbonnet Sue, Broken Dishes, and ---

I was so honored that Claire had made a quilt from my Crabapples pattern and included it in her archive of special quilts.  Fun to see what fabrics she used too!

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Drawer after drawer of incredible workmanship – a testament to the lives of Quilters Past.

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Each quilt is tagged with information about the quilt, when and where it was acquired, etc.
Rosemary leans in for a closer look!

Other vintage items are stored in archival boxes on the shelves behind.

Did we get to see ACTUAL quilts rolled out?  Yes, we did!  I plan on sharing those with you one at a time so we can fully enjoy them together.  The whole morning was magical!

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Guess what is on THIS roller?!

Be sure to come back for future posts so you won’t miss any of the gorgeous quilts we got to see!

Have you checked back on our Mystery Monday Link-Up?!  There are over 200 people linked and sharing their posts on their mystery progress!  HOLY. MOLY. MYSTERY, Batman!  That’s a LOT of linkies!  Click HERE to check out what is going on all over this globe!

You have until tonight at 11:59pm Eastern time to add your link to this linky --- if you miss it, don’t worry, you can share any progress of any part on the next Linky-Up that happens next Monday. 

One thing I’ve forgotten to say at the beginning of this mystery is to RELAX.  It’s NOT a RACE.  Do what you can.  Sew what you can of each step along the way, but when the next step starts ---stop what you are doing on the previous step and move on to the next one.  That way you will have some of each done and it will be easy for you to go back later and finish what you didn’t get far enough on.  It will keep you current and involved and raring to go with the next step.

Tomorrow morning --- Part 2 is revealed!

No Quilt Cam tonight --- but look for me tomorrow night, Friday evening at 9pm Eastern.  You can be sewing mystery parts while I still plug away on Moth in the Window blocks ;c)


  1. Wow, its like they have their own quilt museum in their home. So neatly stored too. My quilts just live in the linen closet or an extra drawer in a dresser. Can't wait to see some of the quilts unrolled.
    Thanks, Tracy

  2. Absolutely incredible!!!

  3. I don't know which I am more in awe of...the quilt collection or the amazing way they are stored!

  4. Spectacular! What a treasure trove of beauty! Thanks so much for sharing with us and I look forward to more of this story! What a wonderful couple and you must have felt you were in Quilter's Heaven!

  5. Wow! Claire & Ray are so dedicated to preserving such beauty! I know you must feel so privileged to being invited to view their beautiful quilts. I really am looking forward to the upcoming show!

  6. Oh. My. Goodness. I am wiping the drool off my keyboard.


  7. Years ago Claire had a viewing of her collection as a fundraiser for a charity. Although I got an invitation, I wasn't able to attend. Total bummer. At least now I get to peek. Thanks Bonnie.

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  9. Oh Bonnie! You are so very lucky to have seen such a wonderful collection! I would have loved to have seen them and petted them!(with gloves on of course)Thank you so very much for sharing these wonderful quilts with us.

  10. I don't which I enjoyed more...seeing those quilts being so well cared for or that loving couple together after so many years of lives adventures? How special! I can't wait to see more.

    Happy Sewing, take good care of yourself :0)

  11. Oooooh! Thank you so much for sharing this remarkable visit you got to make. I'm eagerly waiting for the other installments. :D

  12. i'm drooling, good thing i'm not there with you. looking forward to the unrolling photos, i'll wear a bib!

  13. What a great way to store/display quilts! Do you have a source for the 'breathable' mylar?

  14. That's an amazing collection she has! Does she show her quilts very often? At guilds, or shows maybe?

  15. Wow it's like early Christmas for quilters! Can't wait to see the close ups. Thanks for the reminder that the mystery is NOT a race. I'm a slow piecer

  16. Wow. I am speachless! Thank you so much for sharing with us Bonnie. Also, thanks to Claire & Ray Vlasin too! Their love of quilts and all their efforts are sooooo appreciated. What a treasure!

  17. Awesome collection and a special made room to preserve them! That is amazing! Looking forward to seeing pictures of those you unrolled!

  18. Anonymous12:57 PM EST

    How wonderful this is!!! Imagine the treasure trove of quilts that just might have gotten lost with use and time, if they hadn't collected them!

    And the storage --serious collecting for sure. You didn't say where in their home the quilts were stored lol. A dehumidified concrete bunker with steel doors comes to mind! As a couple, they could move into an old time bank with a vault. NO kidding. You see folks who have made homes from various sturctures, that are perfect from things like their are interested in.


  19. Unbelievable! What a perfect couple, to work together so well to preserve these treasures!

  20. Anonymous8:52 PM EST

    I am totally gobsmacked at the amazingness of those beautiful beautiful quilts and that they have been preserved and cared for in such a loving way. WOW! The tumbler quilt was exactly the one I wanted to see LOL.

  21. Thank you for sharing your visit with Claire. I could hardly read your posting my eyes were getting very teary, so sad to hear of your loss, my friend.
    I do not have a blog so can not do the "linky' thingy.... I am almost done with step 1 of Easy Street, slowly getting it together.
    Can't wait to get step 2 tomorrow.
    Also been working on 60 blocks for e-quilters "Sandy Relief". Just a small part of tremendous effort.
    Have a good nite. =0(

  22. Nice carpets, great carpet's design and thanks for sharing these articles.
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