By Nancy Skala
Attending quilt shows can provide ideas, energy and inspiration, which is just what happened to me while viewing the more than 600 red and white quilts in March 2011 at The Infinite Red and White Quilt Exhibition in NYC. I was especially drawn to a simple quilt comprised of white airplanes on a red background. The pattern, Lucky Lindy’s Plane, appeared in The Kansas City Star newspaper shortly after Charles Lindbergh made his solo flight over the Atlantic in 1927. It is a simple pattern but where to find it? It would be a perfect baby quilt for our little grandson who is due this August.
I began by asking local guild members if they had the pattern but with no success. Next I researched it on the Internet. Lucky Lindy’s Plane was there all right but was in the shape of a windmill not the plane silhouette I envisioned. It was obvious more than one pattern was listed under that name. There were many resources on the Internet but none proved to be what I wanted. The more difficulty in getting this pattern the more determined I was to find it.
After a few days searching I knew I had to kick it up a notch. I first called the National Quilt Museum in Paducah, KY but they were closed that particular day. Next I called the Missouri History Museum in St. Louis, MO. Lindbergh chose this museum as a repository to house his artifacts and memorabilia. No one answered but I left a message on the answering machine. They never returned my call.
Then it occurred to me that I had overlooked a more regional resource, The New England Quilt Museum (NEQM) in Lowell, MA. The NEQM has a library which was so helpful in my quest. Martha, a library volunteer, offered to research this project and get back to me….. and she really did! She inquired if I had a museum membership because members have access to materials and are eligible to receive books, articles, etc. mailed directly to them. The Pine Tree Quilters Guild (PTQG) will loan library books to their members as well.
As the museum website says:
“The New England Quilt Museum is one of the best resources in the northeast for researching quilt and textile topics. In the near future they are hoping to make the library catalog searchable online. For general questions about specific books, topics, or patterns e-mail should be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.”
If you haven’t had the opportunity to visit the NEQM it’s well worth the trip.
“Everyone can visit the library to:
• Browse and research over 2000 reference books
• read current issues of quilt magazines
• find information on quilt guilds and quilt shows in New England
• try current quilt software
• create fabric labels on the computer”
When you become a member of the museum you have access to much more than the library. PTQG members receive a discount on memberships because PTQG is a NEQM sponsor. The museum hosts special events, lectures, provides suggested reading material, a quarterly newsletter, Layers, and an opportunity to have coffee and discuss quilts with the curator. They also have an extensive gift shop featuring items to meet the needs of any quilter. 2012 is their 25th anniversary so they are offering the Silver Thread Challenge. Check it out online.
The New England Quilt Museum ….. what a great resource!
And Martha, the librarian, enjoyed researching the project so much she is thinking of making Lucky Lindy’s Plane for her grandson as well.