Julie Boatner of Keizer, Oregon e-mailed us on Feb 23, 2014 saying:
“I saw from your website that you had done some research for the pattern for the airplane quilt. I have looked everywhere for the pattern without any luck. Any ideas as to where to get a copy of the pattern for the quilt block? I know that it was originally in the magazine Successful Farming in 1929.”
I was on a ski vacation when the e-mail arrived but briefly replied that, if she joined the museum, I could mail her the same 2 books I had loaned to Nancy Skala 1 year ago. Nancy had also asked for the pattern for the Lucky Lindy’s Plane block. She wrote a lovely guest blog entry on Feb 26, 2013 telling everyone how helpful our library volunteers were. On March 8, 2013, Laura Lane, our collections manager, saw Nancy’s blog entry and added an entry telling that the museum has an airplane quilt with the same pattern in our collection. Nancy made 2 small airplane quilts and showed them at the Maine State Quilt Show in July. On November 6, 2013 she sent us a photo of her quilts and again thanked us for our help.
Just 5 days later, Julie had joined our museum through our website and I mailed these 2 books to her.
Marino, Ragi. Flying high : the airplane in quilts.-- 1st ed.-- Waupaca, WI : Stardust Publications, 1994. 67p. : ill. col. : pb. ISBN 0-929950-18-6 : $19.95
This book tells the history of many airplane quilt patterns and led me to
Better Homes and Gardens. America's heritage quilts.-- 1st. ed.-- Des Moines, IA : Meredith Corp, 1991. 320p. : ill. col. ISBN 0-696-01905-1
This book has a photo of the quilt and complete instructions for making it.
What’s really funny is that the library book I took with me to read in the evening after skiing is "One Summer: America, 1927 by Bill Bryson published last fall. It tells all about Lindbergh’s life and historic flight.
~Martha Supnik, Library Volunteer Coordinator
She sent us this photo of the old quilt and a donation to thank us for our help. She said, “How I wish I had thought to contact your museum a year ago. I've been working on this for over a year, finding fabrics, making & remaking templates, trying to make all fit together correctly.”
I encouraged her to join the museum which she did. Since she’s 60+ and lives outside New England, her membership is only $25 per year. I picked two books from our library that showed how to draft and piece a Lemoyne Star and how to do string piecing and mailed them to her. Penny said if she lived nearby, she’d be our most loyal volunteer and she’ll share the information about our resources with her quilting friends in Ohio.
We look forward to hearing about Penny’s future projects and getting more members from across the country who want to make use of the terrific resources in our library. We think it’s the biggest, most accessible collection of quilting books, magazines, videos and patterns in the country!
Mike's dog-bit quilt (top) and Marianne's crazy quilting (bottom)
I love my volunteer job in the library and research center at the NEQM. I see myself as a matchmaker, helping people with questions get together with the people or written resources that can help them. That’s why my e-mail address is: Questions@NEQuiltMuseum.org
Recently I got an e-mail with photos from Mike in Dunstable, MA whose family quilt had previously been documented by the volunteers at MassQuilts. His problem was that the dog had chewed some holes in his quilt and he wanted to know whether we could send him to someone who could restore or repair it before he passed it along to his daughter. I checked our records which showed that the quilt was already well-worn before his dog got it and was never of museum quality but simply loved for its memories. I explained the difference between the skill and expense of professional textile restoration versus basic repair. Then I e-mailed several people on my list of “resources for repair” with his contact information and the photos. One of the people on that list replied to me and then contacted the quilt owner who took the quilt to her and thanked me for my assistance.
Marianne Hatton, a museum member in Sudbury, MA e-mailed me to ask for advice on books about “Optical Illusions and Dimension in Quilts” for a future class she plans to teach. I sent her a list of suggested titles and she asked me to mail them from our library which I did. A week later, she came into the library, browsed in more reference books from the shelves, discovered even more great titles, and signed them out as well. While she was there, she had time to see the exhibit of contemporary quilts by SAQA members. Marianne teaches a variety of subjects in quilting with a one day workshop coming up on Friday, June 7th about silk ribbon embroidery and crazy quilting at the museum.
Another e-mail came from Cathy in Southern New Hampshire. She had inherited 3 quilts from her grandmother and thought (probably from watching Antiques Roadshow on PBS) that she needed an appraisal to learn more about them. When she asked an appraiser about it, she decided she could not afford to pay $40 per quilt. She asked me if I could find someone less expensive for her. I replied by explaining that a written appraisal requires time and extensive training but is only needed if she wants to insure, sell or donate the quilts. If she just wanted more information about them, she could bring them to show us and we’d tell her what we can without providing the market value which we’re not qualified to do. If she lived in Massachusetts, we would have given her an appointment to have them documented by our team of MassQuilts volunteers.
Some questions come by phone (978-452-4207 X 15). Ruth in Ayer called to ask how to clean the Bicentennial Quilt at the Littleton Historical Society. The volunteer on duty in the library gave her some websites to read and she learned about how to safely vacuum the dust but also how to protect the quilt from fading.
And some questions come in person from visitors to the museum. Susan who teaches in Ipswich, MA asked about quilts and the Underground Railroad. I gave her a page I’ve written to answer this very frequent question that explains the controversy and lists both fiction and non-fiction books on the topic of slave-made quilts before the Civil War.
These five are just a sampling of the kinds of questions we get, all happening just this month.
~ Martha Supnik, Library Volunteer Coordinator
A Great Resource
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.