December 17, 2019

Just Wanna Quilt Blog

I'm starting something new! I've put up my first post as a contributing blogger on the Just Wanna Quilt blog. Just Wanna Quilt is: a research project to investigate all the who-what-why questions of the quilt world, a research project to clarify copyright and other legal aspects of creating art and craft, a super fun quilt adventure, and a great group of vibrant and interesting quilters. There's a podcast (which I've been interviewed on) and sewing challenge projects and lots of great discussions in the facebook group, and etc. etc. Woo hoo!  Thanks to Prof. Elizabeth Townsend-Gard for brainstorming this wonderful adventure!
Here's my inaugural post:

When Elizabeth interviewed me on the podcast a while back, she asked if in doing my repair business I’d come across any quilts that might be copyrightable. She also asked how many quilts are signed, since we keep being told how important it is to sign and date our quilts. I’ve since gone through my stack of paperwork, and here are the stats:

In nearly 30 years of doing this on my own (I did some through a shop at first), I’ve worked on 398 quilts!!! I sure was surprised at the size of that number!

Of those:
22 are dated
18 are signed (sometimes with just initials)
60 are heirlooms that also include family stories and photos of the makers
--On a pair of twin size quilts.... 
...with a block I’ve never seen before, a cute little cabin and pine tree. 
--Indigo and white baskets. 1888.
The great-granddaughter of the quilter brought this to me for repair, and shared a family photo:
--Improved 9-patch.

Out of those 398, there are 25 that I would consider maybe one-of-a-kind. Some of them may have been kits or patterns published in needlework magazines. A few are two-block quilts, which may or may not be a unique pairing. So, these two categories would need further research to be certain of the uniqueness. Three are art quilts, and three are signed, artisan-made bedspreads. One is a community’s anniversary quilt with appliqué pictures of local landmarks. One is a star design claimed as an original by the maker.

The most common pattern that's come through my studio:
I’ve worked on 42 crazy quilts! (I wonder if this says more about the longevity of Victorian era silks than it does about the actual numbers made. Also, since these were made as specialty, decorative items and not for daily use, maybe more of them have survived. But I also have worked on cotton and wool crazy quilts from the 20th century.)
-- Silk crazy found in Indiana, dated 1905.
-- Victorian crazy, with badly shattered silk fabrics and gorgeous embroidery.

Next in popularity:
Log cabin - 18
Assorted stars - 18
Grandmother’s flower garden - 17
9-patch - 14
Double wedding ring - 14
Baskets - 12
One-patch/squares - 12
Dresden plate - 11
Lone star - 9

And the rest……
Trip around the world, Whole cloth
4-patch, Embroidered, Sunbonnet Sue
Hexagons, Triangles
Bow tie, Butterflies (3 appliqué, 1 pieced), Sampler, Yo-yo
Appliqué flower wreath, Boston commons, Cathedral windows, Checkerboard, Fans, Floral appliqué, Redwork, String star, Sunburst
6-point stars, Attic windows, Bricks, Cowboys, Dahlia, Improved 9-patch, Irish chain, Ocean waves, Pine tree, Pinwheel, Pre-printed patchwork, Rail fence, Rising sun, Spider web, String quilt, Trees, Tulips, White on white
Album block/signature quilt, Aunt Sukey’s choice, Bear’s paw, Biscuit, Bittersweet, Broken dishes, Broken spider web, Buckeye beauty, Burgoyne surrounded, Card trick, Carpenter’s square, Ceasar’s crown, Cigar flannel flags, Colonial lady, Corn and beans, Diamond field, Diamond star, Double 4-patch, Double 9-patch, Drunkards path, Dutch tile, Dutchman’s puzzle, Faithful circle, Friendship dahlia, Hands all around, Hawaiian, Love ring, Maple leaf, Mill wheel, Missouri daisy, Nine-patch checkerboard, Nosegay, Old Italian block or snowflake, O, Olive’s tulips, Peony, Periwinkle, Pineapple, Pointed tile, Pomegranate, Potholder, Prayer quilt, Prince’s feather, Red Cross fundraiser, Roman stripe, S, Sailboats, Schoolhouse, Single wedding ring var., Snowball, Snowflake appliqué, Spools, Square in a square, Target, Whirling hexagons, X

If you want to read further on any of these topics:
Dated quilts  (I include lots of photos of the fabrics as a resource for fabric/quilt historians.)
— Individual patterns are listed in the sidebar on the right.
Well now, that was fun!
 --Lighten Up!side Down. 
Self-portrait, except that I can’t do cartwheels. Using fabrics inherited from a quilting friend’s stash, remembering and dedicated to her joy. 41" x 42". 2001.


  1. Very interesting stats, Ann ! Quilt historians may also find interesting - with respect towards popular vintage and antique designs that were retained in the families - long past the time of their original making - and why (if known).

    1. Kinda makes you wish quilters always wrote down their design process, doesn't it? When I started counting, I was sure sure sure that Grandmother's Flower Garden was going to win out. I was totally surprise that it was the crazies, and by the wide margin over everything else.