Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Little Quilts

Through the years I've made some small quilts which I display on a settle bench in our hallway. The quilts date from 1989 to 2008 and are mostly reproductions but there's one quilt that was a challenge between the four authors who wrote A Passion for Quilts: The Story of Florence Peto.

My husband and I actually made this bench a long time ago. It's great for displaying quilts both large and small.

I named this little quilt "Back Pond Geese" because of the Canada Geese that make their home on the pond behind our house. The 1/2 square triangles are all leftover fabrics from other repro quilts that I'd made and the striped border fabric was a gift from my friend Rachel Cochran.

One of my favorite books is Small Endearments by Sandi Fox. This is a reproduction of a quilt that she  featured on p. 13, probably New England, late eighteenth or early nineteenth century. I tea-dyed both fabrics on the front but not the one on the back.

I sewed a selvage strip on the back to identify the large print fabric on the front. It was a 1958 Williamsburg "Plantation Calico" decorator fabric which I purchased at an outlet store probably in the 1970s.

Another reproduction of a New England quilt in Small Endearments, p. 160. I pieced all the larger striped fabrics because I couldn't find any that were suitable. 

One of my earlier quilts--way before reproduction fabrics were on the market--is this lavender and white "Ohio Star" that I started making in 1980 and finished nine years later in 1989. It is entirely hand pieced. My inspiration came from a quilt in America's Quilts and Coverlets by Carleton L. Safford and Robert Bishop.

On a Florence Peto research trip to the Shelburne Museum in November 1997, an early snowstorm confined the four of us--Rachel Cochran, Rita Erickson, Natalie Hart and myself--to our motel rooms where we decided to make small challenge quilts in the Florence Peto-style. Each of us had purchased some fabric on our trip to Vermont so we had fabric. The rest of our sewing supplies were limited--one spool of thread, two pairs of scissors, a few pins, and restaurant business cards for templates. This is my version of our Florence Peto Challenge. 

We had seen a small "fabric" journal from the 1840s and were so inspired we couldn't wait to make our own.  I purchased a small notebook and began to paste in a few fabric samples from our Vermont trip.

The second page has a photograph of a detail of the above quilt and scraps on the right from the next quilt.

In between quilt-related fabrics and photos, I added some fabrics from clothing I had made in 1959. But that's another story . . . 


  1. The bench is perfect for displaying these little quilts. And such an array of them there are. Interesting read today.

  2. Hi Barbara, Bonnie Hunter listed this post on her blog today along with a pictures of the bench that your husband made for you. I only wish I had room for something like that to display my little quilts on. I want to thank you for passing on the idea for a fabric journal. I think that I can find pieces of all fabrics I have quilted with so far, since I've only been quilting since last July. I really liked your lavender and white Ohio Star. It calls to me somehow. Happy Quilting!

  3. Hi Tami, thanks for visiting! I will never forget that little antique fabric journal which inspired me to start one of my own. The original had fabrics cut in animal shapes -- rabbits, birds, etc. It was so charming :)