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VIEWING HISTORICAL QUILTS

By JUNE McCRARY JACOBS

19302 Giddy-Up FDR Campaign Quilts

1930 Giddy-Up FDR Campaign Quilts

I have loved learning about history since I was a child. I eventually minored in history in college. When I was attending the local community college before transferring to the state university, I took a quilt class taught by an experienced and knowledgeable woman from the community. The instructor shared her love of quilting with us, and this class was where I was first exposed to the history of quilting in America. I felt as if a new world had opened up to me as we learned about the various quilt blocks and styles of quilting (Amish, Hawaiian, whole cloth, appliqué, patchwork, etc.).

 

1937 4-Patch Medallion Quilt

1937 4-Patch Medallion Quilt

EArly 1960s Humpty Dumpty Quilt

EArly 1960s Humpty Dumpty Quilt

My affection for historical quilts has remained in my heart since then. I enjoy attending museum displays of historical quilts and clothing. Each summer I visit the Folsom History Museum’s Antique Quilt and Clothing Exhibit. The director generously allowed me to photograph the quilts on display, and I’d like to share some of the baby/crib quilts displayed in the summer of 2014 exhibit.

 

1970s Animal Kingdom Quilt

1970s Animal Kingdom Quilt

In the past, women have made their quilts for the most part by using scraps left over from their other household sewing. Affluent women were able to purchase finer fabrics such as silk, satin, and velvet to use for their quilts. As an amateur quilter, I’ve used scraps, recycled clothing, worn sheets, and newly purchased fabrics to make my quilt tops and backings. I always use needled-cotton batting from the Warm Company because I love the texture and quality of their products.

 

Blue Gingham Horse

Blue Gingham Horse

1957 Embroidered Quilt

1957 Embroidered Quilt

My favorite historical quilts are those sewn by hand with hand-embroidery embellishments. In the photos accompanying this post, you can see examples of how hand embroidery was used to add depth and texture to some of the figures on the quilts. For example, the red gingham elephant’s tusks and tail, the blue gingham horse’s mane and tail, the yellow gingham giraffe’s mane and tail, and the teddy bear in his blue pajamas and nightcap.

Red Gingham Elephant Quilt

Red Gingham Elephant Quilt

 

1059s Stars & Baby Blocks

1059s Stars & Baby Blocks

I love patchwork quilts using bold colors such as the ‘Stars & Baby Blocks’ Quilt shown with the red ‘Mother Goose Tales’ book standing in front of it. The red in that quilt is vibrant and attractive and it contrasts with the white stars at the centers of the blocks to add drama to the simple blocks. The primary colors of yellow, blue, and red found on the ‘Humpty Dumpty’ quilt shown here work so well together—the figures seem to jump off the quilt!

I’ve been following the ‘Modern Quilting Movement’ for the past few years, and I am a big fan of these exquisite adaptations of traditional blocks and themes. Someday soon I hope to take the plunge and move away from traditional piecing and appliqué to create a quilt made in the ‘modern’ style. Just think, someday in the future these modern quilts will be considered traditional quilts!

 

junemccraryjacobs_author1[1]About the Author: 

 June McCrary Jacobs has loved quilts since she took a quilt class through the local community college when she was twenty years old.  June’s favorite thing about quilts is the care and skill quilters put into making special handmade items for the people they love. June writes inspirational contemporary and historical romance when she is not sewing, designing, quilting, reading, or visiting museums and art galleries. Readers can connect with June at her website/blog:  http://www.junemccraryjacobs.com

 Want to read of June’s posts on this blog? Click here for Through the Garden Gates and her Wednesday Writer posts

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