Wednesday, October 17, 2012

My Allary Quilt

I have 2 file drawers which contain information about all the quilts I've made. For every quilt there is a folder, and in every folder there are sketches, photos, quilt show info, fabric scraps, copies of other quilts for inspiration, and documentation. Granted, I've been a bit lax with the documentation part lately, but in the 90s I was at my peak. The quilt I made for myself in 1995-1996 is titled My Allary Quilt, which was sort of an odd name for a quilt that portrayed all of my interests. At the time I was working for Allary Corp., a sewing notion company, and when fabric samples for their sewing basket line were no longer needed, I was the lucky one who got to take them home.

I started the quilt in September 1995 and finished it in February 1996. It is 70" x 70", with 100% cotton fabrics and Fairfield Cotton Classic batting. It is machine pieced and Jean Biddick, who was living in NJ at the time, machine quilted it for me. 

In July 1994, I purchased Threads magazine and was taken by the article, "Quilting with Novelty Prints" by Shannon Rettig. I was fascinated with the author's examples and how variations in scale changed the overall appearance of the star blocks, especially when large-size novelty prints were used. I really never thought about using novelty prints before but with ample quantities of fabric samples from the office, I started to make my quilt.


I drafted the star pattern that was in the article, and as the author defined a novelty print as anything other than floral or geometric, I began to go through my fabrics choosing sewing-themed ones first--buttons, scissors, sewing implements, sewing machines, etc.  When I ran out of those fabrics I expanded to some of my other interests--biking, gardening, vintage shoes, hat boxes, antiques, etc.

Every night I sewed together one star block and then cut the fabrics for the next one to sew the following evening.  I assembled 16 blocks and didn't have any real plan after that until I stumbled upon the way the blocks were set together in Clarence Lashley's Double X Variation on p. 195 in our book, New Jersey Quilts. The secondary star design in the sashing caught my eye. 

Previously I had purchased a Native American-motif striped fabric at the Fabric Warehouse in Belleville, NJ, because I had to have it. I chose the white/navy stripe, rather than the darker navy/white combination for the first border.  

For the second border, I was inspired by a quilt I saw in the February 1996 issue of Quilting Today that made use of lots of fabrics in a pyramid or triangle design. So much for limiting my fabrics to those I only used in the blocks! I ended up cutting triangles from all the novelty prints that I had--half were darks and the other half lights. And when it was time to add the third border, I chose the baseball card fabric that I had also purchased at the Fabric Warehouse. At one time, I thought this fabric might come in handy if I ever decided to make a quilt about my gr-grandfather, Frank Hankinson, who played ball from 1878 to 1888 and was on the NY Giants championship team in 1883. It was the perfect 3rd border fabric!

For the back of the quilt, I knew I was going to use a fabric panel with a Country Fair theme.  I made a large size star block first (above) then added a cow print and another with bonnets (below) to bring the back out to the correct size. 

I purchased Fairfield's Cotton Classic batting at Acme Fabrics in Pequannock, NJ, and was very pleased with how flat the finished quilt appeared.

In March 1996 I brought the quilt to Garden State Quilters for show and tell. The baseball card fabric was such a big hit I could have sold yards and yards if I had any to sell.

In January 1997 the quilt hung in Allary's booth at the Hobby Industry Association show in Las Vegas and in October/November it was on display at the Northeast Quilts Unlimited show in Old Forge, NY, where it won an Honorable Mention.

In Jan/Feb 1998 it was one of ten quilts on display at Livingston Town Hall. My quilts were featured on local T.V. and I was a guest on the show, January 29th.

From Dec '06 to Feb '07 it was part of an exhibit of my quilts at the new Livingston Community Center.

So, there you have it :) Total documentation. Yes, there is a label, I forgot to photograph it!

Maybe I'll tell you about another quilt sometime :)


  1. I hope so!
    What a wonderful quilt. So fun to look at and study. It has great novelty fabrics. Maybe you should consider putting it in the next GSQ quilt show. I'd love to see it in person

  2. Thanks, Barb! Maybe I will put in the next GSQ show :)