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
ARABIAN GOLD by Suzanne Knapp [NEQM 2001.08]
Today's blog entry comes from guest blogger Judy Buswick, whose own blog can be found at http://jtbuswick.wordpress.com/. Judy is one
of our most dedicated volunteers, and she wrote this entry after attending last week's volunteer luncheon at the museum, where staffers prepare lunch for our wonderful volunteers and enjoy their fabulous show & tell!
I didn’t think I’d blog today, but after the Museum’s volunteer lunch, followed by a short Show & Tell, I have to write a few words. Many quilters know that Suzanne Knapp makes beautiful quilts inspired by Persian rugs; today I saw her “Arabian Gold” which is in the Museum’s collection. (It’s also mentioned, though not pictured, in my Sally Palmer Field book.) Seeing it up close is the best, but it's pictured here.
The Museum staff announced that the entire NEQM Library catalog is now online on a searchable database. Someone else mentioned that our library is the largest specialized collection on quilts anywhere! I think it’s accessed from the Web site, but haven’t searched that yet. I did see and started to read the Museum’s blog which has been in existence at least for a year. Quilters should check it out. Laura Lane had some great entries, as did guest bloggers.
I have to tell a little about the creativity that other volunteers showed after our delicious lunch prepared by the staff (of a mere 8 people). We saw Ethel Shulam’s polymer clay buttons that she’d made herself and plans to use with a fabric that she received as a gift from Debbie Janes, who leads workshops where volunteers sew items for the Museum gift shop. Wine bottle carriers, mug rugs, and quilts. Bright and cheery colors. Lots of
applique which Debbie excels at.
Another volunteer Bonnie (I missed her last name) brought a wall-hanging made with tucks and turns, a technique she’d learned from Caryl Bryer Fallert. See web for picture: http://www.bryerpatch.com/images/quiltrecords/Reflection17/Reflection17.htm
Sibyl Tarbell brought in a meticulously quilted small piece with a butterfly motif that mimics the book cover of the NEQM history written by Jennifer Gilbert. Frances Gedzium brought in a square she has made using ribbons,
embroidery, beads, and colorful threads. Since buttons had already been extolled and the closing of Windsor Buttons lamented, Frances noted, “The way you think about buttons is the way I think about threads.” You should see the details in her work up close!
Kim Oey-Rosenthal showed a piece of Indonesian fabric. She sells her homeland’s fabrics on eBay (type in textile.art) or search for ‘bali ikat’ to see her fabrics. Lynne Champion brought in 3 quilt tops she is working on.
I loved her trillium motif, which will eventually have some bottons on it!
Others had things to share and I should have taken more careful notes. But without pictures, I think I will close
for today. The women (and one man) at the luncehon formed a lively group. What creativity! And what a positive,
enthusiastic vibe was in the air!
~ Judy Buswick
I read with interest the recent blog entry by our guest blogger, Nancy Skala. Just by coincidence, the New England Quilt Museum recently acquired an airplane quilt in a pattern very similar to the one Nancy saw at Infinite Variety, the exhibit of red and white quilts in New York City. The pattern for our quilt was also inspired by famous aviator Charles Lindberg. Lindberg had a couple of nicknames, including “Lucky Lindy” and “The Lone Eagle.” The pattern for our quilt was called Lone Eagle Airplane and was published in Successful Farming in 1929.
New England Quilt Museum’s new acquisition was believed to have been made soon after the pattern was published. Instead of red and white, it is made in blue, yellow and white. “Lone Eagle” is hand quilted into the top and bottom border of the quilt and the plain blue alternate blocks have eagles quilted in them. Our Lone Eagle Quilt (2012.17) was part of a donation of 21 quilts by Richard and Susan Doll of Rhode Island.
-Laura Lane, Collections Manager
With Michael James in the Collections Room
I’m just back from the American Quilt Study Group annual seminar,
held this past weekend in Lincoln, Nebraska. It’s an intense four days of study centers, tours and research paper presentations, all related to quilt
history—from last month to the seventeenth century.
One of the tours was to the Textile Center at the University of Nebraska Lincoln Campus. There, Professor Michael James led us through galleries, collections rooms, fashion design studios, and into the room where he prints fabrics for his quilts. It was enlightening for me to hear his story, see how he works, and understand his transformation from painter to art quilter.
Michael James grew up and was educated in art schools in Massachusetts. He started quilting shortly after grad school and quickly became an early leader in the art quilt movement. James has long been recognized as one of the world’s leading quilters, with works in corporate and private collections as well as museums around the world—except in the New England Quilt Museum! We have long wished for a piece of his work for our permanent collection, especially one of the early pieces he made while still living in Somerset, MA.
I was studying one of the many exhibits of quilts to enjoy during the seminar when my cell phone rang. It was NEQM former curator Anita Loscalzo and she insisted that I meet her in the Vendors Room, where she had just found a treasure. A treasure indeed! It was an early Michael James, signed and dated 1986. And, best of all, the price was affordable, considering our very (very!) modest budget for the care and conservation of our collection. (The budget doesn't normally allow us to purchase pieces for the collection. Thankfully, generous supporters of the museum have DONATED virtually all the pieces we own.) My thanks to Julie Silber for keeping the quilt under the table until I could get there! I packed it up carefully and carried it aboard the flight home, on tenterhooks the whole time. When I arrived at the Museum this morning, I unpacked it, hung it in the Classroom Gallery, and surprised our staff and volunteers with our latest acquisition.
As we round out the events of our 25th anniversary year, I think it fitting that we celebrate with the acquisition of an important piece from a New England fiber artist. Do come to the Museum next week to see our latest treasure. We’ll keep it up for a bit, but then it will be put away in the vault to rest until re-emerges for SILK!, our spring exhibition (April 19-July 7, 2013).
~ Pam Weeks, Binney Family Curator
Last month (April 10), we posted an entry here announcing the find of a significant early quilt with New England provenance that we wished to add to our collection. We are happy to announce that, thanks to generous donors responding to our appeal, we have raised the funds to purchase the quilt, and we will be proceeding with the acquisition! Our hearty thanks goes to the donors who stepped forward to make this possible.
However, our need for donations to the Acquisitions Fund is far from over. The newly-acquired Thankful Hall Miller quilt will require conservation to address condition issues and preserve it for the future. We hope
to have this work completed in time to include the quilt in our exhibit opening in October,Great Quilts, Great Stories. Once we reach this target, further donations will support the care and
conservation of quilts in our collection, and possibly support future
You can donate securely online by visiting the Donations page on our website. Or, if you prefer, mail a check today to: NEQM Acquisitions Fund, 18 Shattuck Street, Lowell, MA 01852.
As always, THANK YOU for your support of the New England Quilt Museum!
~ Kate Hanson Plass, Curatorial Intern
c1870 Basket Quilt [1999.13]
Every year the National Quilt Museum issues a challenge to quilters to create a quilt from a specific “old favorite pattern.” The winners of the challenge are featured in the current exhibition at the National Quilt Museum in Paducah. After that, the exhibition will travel.
The National Quilt Museum, which has no antique quilts in its permanent collection, borrows antique quilts from other museums and collections to exhibit with the challenge quilts. New Quilts From
an Old Favorite 2012: Baskets and Antique Basket Quilts, on view from April 6 through July 10 at the National Quilt Museum in Paducah, includes five basket quilts borrowed from the New England Quilt Museum.
A c1885 Mini-Basket Quilt [1991.34] has 306 3 ½ inch basket blocks! It was donated to the New England Quilt Museum by the Binney Family and can be seen at http://www.quiltindex.org/fulldisplay.php?kid=21-41-55 . Another piece from our Permanent collection, Folk Art Flowers [1995.07], is a 1925 hand applique quilt made by John H. Yerger of Sanatoga, PA. It was a gift from Robert and Mary Lou Sutter and can be seen at http://www.quiltindex.org/fulldisplay.php?kid=21-41-F1. Another of our quilts on loan is a c1850 Basket Quilt [1998.08] made by Delia Birdsey Crocker and is one of nine quilts in the Reese Family Collection donated by John R. Reese. (For more information about another Reese Family quilt see the blog entry dated April 10, 2012.) This quilt can be seen at http://www.quiltindex.org/fulldisplay.php?kid=21-41-86. Another piece is a c1870 Basket Quilt [1999.13] from Pennsylvania donated by the Gail Binney. It is pictured in the May/June issue of Quiltmaker Magazine along with a pattern to make the quilt. It is also pictured at http://www.quiltindex.org/fulldisplay.php?kid=21-41-6E . We also loaned a lovely Red and White Basket Quilt [2004.11] donated by Matha Sabin. This c1860 quilt can seen at http://www.quiltindex.org/fulldisplay.php?kid=21-41-7A
Four of these quilts (all except 1995.07) were on display at NEQM in the Donahue Permanent Collection Gallery during Fall 2011.
~ Laura P. Lane, NEQM Collections Manager
The generosity of many donors has allowed the New England Quilt Museum to amass a collection of more than 400 quilts. Large museums often have dedicated funds for purchasing objects to enhance their collections. As a smaller museum with
limited resources, the NEQM has not until now had that luxury.
An opportunity has just arisen, however, to acquire a piece with an amazing link to other quilts in the Permanent Collection. We are therefore establishing a fund to raise the money to purchase and conserve this just-discovered gem, as well as other extraordinary pieces that may from time to time become available but only for purchase.
The first piece we hope to acquire has an extraordinary link to a group of quilts already in the Permanent Collection.
Between 1999 and 2002, Jack Reese donated nine family quilts to the New England Quilt Museum. The Reese Collection includes quilts made by five quilt-makers, spanning four generations from his family tree. The oldest of these was made by Jack’s great-great-grandmother, Thankful Hall Miller. It is a Single Irish Chain pieced with deep blue indigo and off-white cottons, and was perhaps made at the time of her marriage in the early 1820’s. Thankful’s daughter, Vincey Ann Miller Birdsey, made two of the other quilts Jack donated. Vincey’s daughter Lillian married Lewis E. Frost, and the collection includes quilts made in the 1880s by him and his mother, Adeline Lewis. Several of these quilts have attached paper labels with information about the quilt-makers, written in a distinctive hand.
It was a rare and remarkable gift—nine quilts from the same family, with the family history included. Some of these quilts will be included in the NEQM exhibition slated to open in October 2012: Great Quilts, Great Stories.
While doing online research in preparation for the exhibition, I discovered another quilt by Thankful Hall Miller
offered for sale by an antique dealer. The label sewn to it contains the same provenance as the Reese Collection quilts already owned by the museum. Obviously, we would love to acquire this newly-discovered quilt.
We are asking you to be part of this remarkable story. Please consider a donation to our new Acquisition Fund to ensure that this quilt is brought home to join its sisters in our collection.
You can donate securely online by visiting the Donations page on our website. Or, if you prefer, mail a check today to: NEQM Acquisition Fund, 18 Shattuck Street, Lowell, MA 01852.
As always, THANK YOU for your support of the New England Quilt Museum!
~ Pam Weeks, Curator
_ As we celebrate our Silver Anniversary in 2012, we are offering free admission to the New England Quilt Museum on the 25th of each month (when we are open on that day). On those “free” days we will be showing episodes of the nine-part series Why Quilts Matter, produced and hosted by Shelly Zegart.The series includes images of eleven quilts from the permanent collection of the New England Quilt Museum. For more information about the series, there is an excellent website: www.whyquiltsmatter.org. Information about all of the images shown in the episodes is in the “Resources” section of the website.
Episode 2, which the museum will be showing on Saturday, February 25th, has images of three quilts in the NEQM collection. School House in a Garden Maze (NEQM 1991.11, pictured at left) is a c.1900 quilt donated by the Binney Family. Basket Quilt (NEQM 1999.13), a c.1870 quilt also donated by the Binney Family, was featured in the May/June 2011 issue of Quiltmaker magazine along with the pattern to make it. Flag Central Medallion Charm Quilt (NEQM 2005.14) was donated by Deborah Conant Kennedy. This c.1876 quilt is currently hanging in the Donahue Permanent Collection Gallery as part of the Campaigns and Commemoratives exhibit.
The DVD of Why Quilts Matter is available for sale in the New England Quilt Museum shop.
~ Laura Lane, NEQM Collections Manager
This week, a quilt from the New England quilt Museum permanent collection is on display in Tokyo, Japan! Martha Washington’s Flower Garden (NEQM 1989.06T) is on display at Tokyo International Great Quilt Festival 2012 in a special exhibit of hexagon quilts assembled by guest curator Shelly Zegart.
It all started last summer when Shelly put out a call to museums and private collectors for hexagon quilts. I sent Shelly a list of seven of our collection quilts, along with photos, for consideration. She chose NEQM 1989.06T for the exhibit. In late October, the quilt was boxed up and shipped to Shelly in Kentucky.
NEQM 1989.06T is an un-quilted top. It was constructed using the English paper-piecing method, where the fabric is basted around a paper template, then the hexagons are whip-stitched together. This top still has all of its paper foundations, which were cut from magazines. In the exhibit photo, a corner of the top is pinned up to reveal the foundations on the back. The maker is unknown, but the top is c 1930 and was discovered in an attic in Barre, Vermont. The top was donated to the New England Quilt Museum by the Lamoille County (Vermont) Quilters Guild.
The Martha Washington’s Flower Garden pattern features hexagons arranged into large diamond shapes. The pattern was no doubt named after our original First Lady. Although quilts were made from hexagons in Martha Washington’s day using the English paper-piecing method, the pattern was probably not named for her until the colonial revival period in the early twentieth century. There is currently a Martha Washington’s Flower Garden quilt on display in the Depression Era Bedroom at NEQM in conjunction with the exhibit Campaigns and Commemoratives: Quilts for Presidents.
~ Laura Lane, Collections Manager