Saturday, October 31, 2009

Old Quilts

At the recent big International Quilting Association quilt show in Houston, I saw many antique quilts. I even bought one; it has crossed sprays of red and green laurel leaves and was made in Annapolis, Maryland, in the last quarter of the 1800s. Old quilts are often the inspiration of my "new" quilts. Right now, I'm working on several reproduction quilts -- but rather than post pictures of half-finished quilts, I decided to begin by posting pictures of what has inspired me lately. You'll eventually see these quilts, "made new again" by me. The first one is a quilt in the Sturbridge Village collection. I have always loved the main block in this quilt -- it is complex and elegant at the same time.

While the Sturbridge Village quilt inspires me... so does a similar one from the Winedale Collection housed at the University of Texas in Austin. This particular quilt uses nearly the same design - who knows which one came first? This quilt has a beautiful quilted feathered vine in the border, rather than appliqued sprays of flowers and berries. And notice: the bouquets do not include any small birds roosting on the flowers. Aren't all these old quilts just grand?In the same collection of quilts, there is a magnificent quilt that includes several different blocks in it -- one of them is a coxcomb and currants block. I love this block and am currently designing a quilt that uses a set of them; I am making the quilt for a workshop that I will be teaching in Utah in January, 2010. Look at how closely these quilts are all quilted -- today's quilters do not always have the patience (or time) to apply themselves so diligently to their work.

Last, but not least, I am reviving several old UFOs. I have way, way too many. This one has been sitting in a trunk in my sewing room for over ten years. I have not finished it - aside from the fact that I lost interest in it, I could not decide if I wanted to stop at nine blocks or make twelve. And then I could not decide what sort of border it needed. I have now solved the second question of a border... so now it's just a matter of squeezing it into the queue.

I am still under a limitation on several quilts that have not been "published" by others yet, so I can't show them. Hopefully that limitation will be lifted and you'll see more of what I've been working on lately. In the meantime, I'm still sewing like crazy and criss-crossing the highways and airways doing lectures and workshops.

Happy sewing, everyone!
Sue Garman
(c)2009 Susan H. Garman


  1. That border will look great on your quilt!

  2. Such beautiful old quilts. The love of quilting shows with the amount of work and detail. Sandy (BentNeedlesandTangledThreads)

  3. Thanks for the pictures. I would love to go to all of the quilt museums and see their quilts. Since I can't, I appreciate the pictures.

    I too love the old quilts.


  4. I also love the fact that a lot of the old appliqued quilts have been quilted right over the appliques! I think it gives me permission to do the same!