Monday, July 7, 2014

We did it again! Quilt Documentation at Strawberry Fest

It's one of our favorite events at the Wisconsin Museum of Quilts & Fiber Arts--Quilt Documentation Days!  Quilt owners bring their quilts, we record the information they have about the makers, we do a detailed description, take pictures and sew on labels.  The information is entered online into the Quilt Index, as our volunteers have time.
[If you love old quilts, you will want to check out the Quilt Index, at the address below:
Quilt Index
There are thousands of quilts there, with pictures and stories.  I often find inspiration for my quilts there.]
This funky tulip was one of my favorites this year.  Huge blocks, great colors, sashed with yellow, what's not to love?
This quilt from the 1930s was made for a brother who died.  The other family members didn't want the quilt, and were going to donate it to Goodwill, until the current owner asked to have it.
This is not an easy pattern to make!  It's Brackman #1532, Endless Chain or True Lover's Knot.

This amazing quilt was made from blocks that were saved for 90 years, before being put together and quilted.  The family created a hard cover book with a detailed history of each of the women who worked on it, with photographs.
All of these little berries are stuffed!

We only saw one Grandmother's Flower Garden this time.  It was this sweet baby quilt, made from the leftover pieces of a larger quilt.

Lots of silk quilts this time!  There was this one, with triangles made of colored silk pieces alternating with black,
and this one, also with colored silk triangles alternating with black, but pieced more as a flying geese.  Do you see how she made a "border" with the triangles on the sides?  They look gray here, but they are actually light blue.

And check out all the crazy quilts!

Most of the crazy quilts we saw were made of silk, but there is one made of cotton (see above).  The cotton one is crazy-pieced on the front AND on the back.

Here are some of the amazing details from the crazy quilts:

As if this wasn't enough, we saw wonderful pieced quilts, like this:

We really love it when a maker signs and dates her quilt!

These quilts date from at least a hundred year span.  We document new quilts, as well as old.  It's terrific to be able to talk to the quilt maker herself/himself.

All of these quilts were wonderful.  It is always so exciting to see each quilt as the owner takes it from its bag/pillowcase, etc.  But we were absolutely unprepared for this one:  a Baltimore Bride's Quilt.

As you can see, we decided not to hang it for photography, mainly because it measured 100 in. square, which is too tall for our room.  We photographed it on a table.
Pictures cannot do it justice.  The workmanship was amazing.  Elaborate, graceful appliques, tiny applique stitches, lovely border--I do not know enough superlatives.  How many times in my life will I get to closely examine a quilt like this?  I don't mind admitting, I was absolutely stunned.  And did I mention we measured 13 stitches per inch on the quilting?  (There was no batting in this quilt, however.)
The quilt is still in the family of the maker, and is being lovingly cared for.

As always, our volunteers made this event happen, and we are all grateful to them beyond words.  Thank you to Carol, (our go-to expert), Richard, JoAnn (who was actually a customer and just recently had her knee replaced), Mary, Donna, Karen, and Brenda, and to the museum staff who always support us.

Next documentation day is Nov. 15, at the museum.  Most of our appointments are already filled!


  1. Thank you for sharing with us. I first saw a quilt like the one numbered A 1040 almost 30 years ago and said I'd make one like it some day. I haven't done it yet--but just seeing this makes me happy! (I used to hand piece, but rarely do now.)

  2. Great job everyone. Can't wait to see these in the Quilt Index.


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