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Quilt Market 1

Hi Stitchymites! I’m fresh back from Quilt Market today…. Yep I was gone a total of 6 days including travel, with about 36 hours flying time built in. Needless to say I am KNACKERED but I’m popping by to share a few of my favourite quilts from the International Quilt Show with you.

As we learned last week, Market is for trade, Festival is for retail customers - but the actual quilt show itself, the quilt EXHIBITION, is shown over both events - which means that the retailers can see the quilts too. For me it’s one of the very great privileges of going to Market, because the vast space with hundreds of quilts hanging in it is generally next to empty at Market, and you can wander in there with no one else around you at all. Even when I have a stand I try to go over to the show really early one day and squeeze the quilts in. After all, the quilts are why we are all in this business in the first place.

If you know anything about me you will know how much I love antique quilts! I’m a history fiend of several genres, and quilting history is one of my great passions. There was a small but lovely exhibition from the International Quilt Study Group hanging this year, and I recorded a little tour of some of the ones I loved best. I’m only going to post one today but I did quite a few, and some of the other quilts from the show too - I’ll post some more over the next few weeks.

This is a signature quilt, or Album quilt, that was made around 1860 in Pennsylvania. The maker is unknown.

Most quilts that have signature blocks date back to the mid 1800’s, and are thought to have stemmed from the fashion for autograph books amongst ladies at the time. Often the quilts were made as a gift for someone, or by someone, who was moving away or going west. At that time in history people were spreading out over the United States, and blocks with the signatures of friends and family were a keepsake of the people left behind. Sometimes they were made for a special occasion, such as a wedding - or sometimes presented to an honoured member of a community as a thank you or an award. These quilts were treasured because of the special meaning behind them, which is why there are many of them still in existence, and in beautiful condition.

As signature quilts grew in popularity, they were also used for fundraising. A place on the quilt was sold for a small amount, such as a dime, and the money collected for the church, or charity, or a particular organisation. Fundraising quilts often have many more signatures than those made for personal reasons.

The names on the quilts were sometimes inked on - as with this quilt. Over time the ink has faded and the names aren’t able to be read - later quilts with embroidered names have survived much better.

This quilt has the lovely distinguishing feature of the larger block in the centre that was obviously a dedication of some kind to the person it was made for. Whoever he or she was they were obviously a treasure member of the community to have such a detailed and labor intensive quilt made for them.

The applique on the quilt is obviously my favourite feature… wonder how you guessed that :) Borders like this make me itch to start a new quilt! I can’t help myself.

Here’s my little video tour - I hope you enjoy it, and I’ll see you next. Wednesday for some more! Please pop any questions you you have about the quilts below and I’ll try and answer them for you! My knowledge of quilting techniques and history is pretty thorough and I’ll try to answer them all for you :) Happy stitching peeps, I’m off to put my feet up and kick the jet lag!

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Nicolette Jansen
Nicolette Jansen