“Childhood Treasures: Quilts Made By and For Children” by Merikay Waldvogel

“Childhood Treasures: Quilts Made By and For Children” by Merikay Waldvogel


thank you for coming thank you the
University of Nebraska International Study Center for inviting me it’s always
fun to be in Lincoln I think the first time I came was to a I was invited to
the Lincoln quilt the state guild with my Sara Dillow and we traveled around the
state went to a quilt day and then Mary and Louise how he drove me back to
Lincoln and I stayed at Mary’s house and that was the first time I experienced
the wonder that was Mary Gormley I knew Mary Ghormley before that through
American quilt study group she and her husband would often come to the meetings
and I remember one time it was probably when we were still meeting in California
she and I were sitting Roger and Mary and I were sitting in the dining hall
and we were just kind of making connections and somehow it came up that
she went to Monmouth College I went to Monmouth College I grew up in st. Louis
Missouri right now I live in Knoxville Tennessee but I went to Monmouth College
it’s a Presbyterian College small liberal arts school in Western Illinois
she tells me her middle name is Campbell I knew this is one of the founders or no
name with a lot of history at Monmouth and I knew her niece Nancy nice great
niece we and then we realized I said you weren’t in a sorority were you because
Monmouth is known for founding two sororities Pi Beta Phi and Kappa Kappa
Gamma and she said I was a Kappa and I went I was a Kappa today we have a few
Kappas represented in this audience we have the the Alumni she just introduced
herself the Alumni you want to stand up Laurie and we have another Kappa here
who is also a friend of Mary’s and and another one of course Jam thank you so
we have four five Kappas represented in the room so we kept going
we we met at meetings and eventually Mary convinced me to write this book
childhood treasures quilts made by and for children but that man I went back to
her house not a bad thing I could stay overnight spent many nights on the back
porch with Roger and Mary after the days of working with the quilt we talked some
more and I said something he said something
about some odd kind of group or some unusual name and I said what does that
mean he said PEO and I went oh my gosh Mary you’re a member of PEO
I remember PEO PEO was a it is a very fine women service organization my
mother was a member I became inducted into it I’ve never attended our been
very involved in it but I had friends all over the country were involved so
here we had three or four things in common and but basically it was quilts
that brought us together and today I’m going to talk to you about about the
journey that Mary and I and Roger made in the making of this book called
childhood treasures quilts made by and for children again a little background
you heard about some of the things I research I love a good story with a
quilt if there’s a story with a quilt I go for it
like the patchwork souvenirs of the 1933 Chicago World’s Fair if there’s a kit
whoo yet I jump at that quilt and I say I’m going to find out when this was made
because I can identify an advertisement maybe for that particular quilt and but
a lot of Mary’s quilts are anonymous and very few had dates or names on them so I
was it was it was a hard little project there were 300 quilts I knew we couldn’t
put all 300 quilts in a book we ended up choosing about 80 and that’s all I’m
going to say because we’re going to I’m going to tell you some of the background
stories of the making of this or book you’ve probably heard let’s see
if I can get this this is my first PowerPoint presentation I mean in front
of a significant crowd I did Rena fie micro Quixote last week before I before
I came so I know how to do it but anyway here we go childhood treasures quilts
made by and for children this is Mary’s story it’s Mary’s quilt but I wrote the
book with a lot of help from quite a few people here’s Mary looks Mary Gormley
Mary Campbell Gormley you know her she lives in Lincoln Nebraska she has a long
history of working with quilts collecting quilts working on the state
quilt project she’s in the quilters Hall of Fame of Nebraska she’s a dear dear
person and in addition to collecting large quilts she began to collect Dahl
quilts and it was kind of a side collection she said it didn’t really it
wasn’t something she’d set out to do but she just couldn’t resist
sometimes when she’d walk into an antique store and see a little forlorn
little doll quilt and just asking up asking to be collected she collected
different kinds of doll quilts one like this the mill we it’s called mill-wheel
that’s the pattern name it’s about 28 inches long 21 inches wide it’s one of
Mary’s earliest doll quilts she purchased it in Winona Illinois in 1974
she paid seven dollars and fifty cents because of its curved pieced and
complicated pattern and precise hand quilting she’s quite sure an adult made
this quilt for a young child but that’s not all that mary collected she liked
collecting the quirky fun quilts that were probably made by children they do
have a certain charm and ice and are just as collectible as the mill-wheel
quilt the one on the left is just simply called four patch medallion she named it
that it’s eight inches by seven and a half inches and the one on the right is
nine pass it’s seven and a half inches by seven
and a half inches it dates from the 1860s 1830s to 1860s the one on the left
is a little later 1902 about 1910 if you’ve ever been to her house you know
that her attic was filled with talc wilt thou beds buggies and and quilts of
course each one of her doll beds was tagged
she collected her doll quilts and fitted each bed she collected doll beds and
fitted each bed with a mattress pillow and linen notice their white tags
attached to each bed which lists the knot the number of the quilt in her doll
Krell collection that would fit on the beds they kind of organizing and
recording it was just incredible so she’s always said I’ve heard her say
in her lectures when she talks about her doll quilts I see myself as a
conservator I’m saving these quilts from being lost destroyed and
underappreciated she kept meticulous notes on each quilt
she purchased and modestly she also claimed I’m not the quilt scholar Mary
Kay you are why don’t you write a book on my doll clothes hmm I thought I think
I knew more maybe she knew it too that writing a book is is hard but you know
Mary how could I resist I spent a weekend at her house looking
through the quilts they gave me my own bedroom
I selected quilts and she went to her notebooks to find information on each
one and you could see three of the quilts right here that I chose and she
could go to her notebooks tell me where she bought them how much he purchased it
for and hopefully there was a little bit about the
the maker there really wasn’t very much this tide quilt he this is my hand
showing it to Mary she doesn’t look terribly pleased about me choosing this
tide quilt and in fact it wasn’t one that ended up in the book but I liked
this quilt because of the fabrics and the simple design she made sure I
included enough of her favorite quilts in the book it was back it was this
back-and-forth negotiation between between she and I and we eventually
settled as I said on about 80 quilts the final outcome was this book childhood
treasures doll quilts by and for children published in in 2008 by good
books why good books the International Quilt Study Center had a relationship
with them they had just published a book on Amish crib quilts and so dr. Cruz
suggested that I go to them make a proposal and we asked David Castel MIT
to do the photography we chose quilts from Mary’s collection and I wanted to
include vintage photos to kind of set the context of of the quilts so and most
of those photos are from the collection of dr. Virginia gonne of Akron Ohio
Wooster Ohio so this is kind of how we set the scene at the beginning of each
one of the chapters and this was a fun part of doing the photography we not
only took the doll quilts to David Castel mix house we took stuff from
Mary’s house and it was easy to find things in Mary’s house so we looked for
things for the 1830s in this case things from the 1890s 1900 this and then we
maybe choose a doll that would match that era the quilts that were going to
be in the next chapter we have a little cranberry glass from the 1904 World’s
Fair that was collected by Rogers mother unfortunately this this setting photo
did not end up in the book it was the first one we tried I don’t know why we
readjusted the chapters but I loved this one and so now we get a chance to show
it I decided to use my quilt history expertise to choose the quilt for the
book based on their fabrics their patterns and their style and if there
were any that had a date on them or a story they definitely got in the book
but I think only four of them have a date on them or a story so again as I
said to create a context we did these little settings this one has the chintz
quilt on it on the bed notice we we always tried to put
something in it for scale in this case it’s that blue candle – look at this
this photo you might think this was a big quilt a big chance quilt but it’s
not it’s on a little doll bed the quilt itself is only 17 inches by 17 inches
and then I asked Virginia gun for four pictures and she has a fabulous
collection of photographs she collects photographs for the costumes that are on
the people in in the quilt because she’s a she teaches costumes and she teaches
costume history and textile history at the University of Akron and this little
girl is holding a doll I asked her if this daguerreotype is from about 1850
this particular quilt was chosen for this chapter
it’s called hourglass I dated the the fabrics in this quilt to the 1830s this
quilt is only 15 inches by 15 inches I was also fascinated by the the way this
quilt is pieced let’s see if this see in the center is there
see how there’s a diamond right here alright alright look this doesn’t work
very well and then see these little fussy cut ones right here and these
little corners little red corners the binding is the same the same red print
fabric as what’s inside is a very controlled quilt and obviously a quilt
made it by an adult another one we chose for this particular chapter has cut out
corners this style of quilt was popular in New England throughout the 1800s the
fabrics in this quilt though are 1860s to 1870s since excuse me since Mary had
a bed for each quilt we have a four-poster bed to show how the quilt
would the design of the quilt works around the four posters also during this
time period whole cloth quilts were were popular to about 1850 here’s a whole
cloth quilt with fringe this may not have been my favorite looking quilt but
it had I really wanted to include it it’s made of linen and it’s hand quilted
but we cannot be sure just how old it is because you know there are dowel
collectors who create in this case it might have been a quilt made in the 20th
century for a maybe a 19th century doll so we really aren’t sure how old that is
but the fact that it’s lemon and that it’s in the whole cloth style made it a
pretty good choice for that particular chapter this one is called Lemoine star
it’s 24 inches long 18 inches wide it’s hand piece but machine quilted and
really in this time period 1830s 1818 50s there aren’t a lot of machines and
not we don’t see machine work very often in quilt so I doubt that their style
quote was really made during this time Pierre
it was probably made soon after the Civil War in 1870s but it contains the
fabrics of that era and therefore I chose it for that chapter Carolina
Lillie is the name of this block in the center red and green was a popular
pattern or color combination for 1850s quilts the ten inch block in the center
serves as the centerpiece of this quilt the style quilt was probably salvaged
from another quilt project dating to the 1850s the work is all hand done one of
the most interesting aspects and a surprise of this quilt is it back and
say you don’t see the backs of the quilts upstairs so I’m giving you a
little you know little peek at what you’re not seeing upstairs in the
exhibit this piece on the back of that quilt is a beautiful roller printed
chintz fabric which dates to the 1850s another reason why I chose that
particular quilt the next chapter is called we retitled frontier quilts 1870s
to 1890s and I was thinking at the time of quilts that were kind of salvaged
made of salvaged fabric and quilts made not necessarily with a published pattern
log cabin quilts then fit work really nicely in this particular chapter you
seen yes let’s talk again about them were designed by the photographer David
Castel Nick and Mary and I of course helped a lot on it it’s hard I mean
there’s a lot of work involved in this there always had to be a horizontal line
and it usually had to be it kind of anchors the quill anchors the the photo
he had the photography background and then we added on a table and he had
these wonderful photographs sometimes he could Photoshop and put pictures into
them that we might have forgotten he really did a lot of interesting things
with this and this is in about 2006 when we were doing the photography
this particular little tintype again is from virginia gun she dated it to
because of the custom that that little boy is wearing to the 1880s and also
because of the tintype the kind of photograph would be 1880s log cabin
quilts this one sunshine and shadow variation it’s made of cotton prints
from the 1890s to the 1900s it’s all hand pieced and tied this 16 patch is
very small it is upstairs it’s about nine inches by 12 inches the fabrics you
can see if they’re a little 16 block a little 16 patch blocks and that are used
in the center the fabric state to the 1880s Mary commented on this quilt
I think this quilters child made the stitching is very crude and also notice
how the corners are rounded but not the forth one even without any quilting she
said it has a certain charm to it and notice how the binding is folded over
from the back and here’s the back on this one a beautiful paisley print from
again about the 1880s you can see here this little that’s one of the little
tags that Mary has left on her has left on every one of her doll worlds giving
the size her inventory number and the the name of the block it for this
particular quilt we had to Photoshop that out for the photo we had to work it
out so anyway it doesn’t appear that way in in the book this quilt I don’t think
has gotten a lot of attention it’s one of my favorite ones in the in the
collection and it is on view upstairs so when we go up there later look closely
at it it’s 14 inches wide 19 inches long it’s all machine quilted you could see a
close-up over here the Machine croaking from the back it’s
done by machine it’s in a in crosshatch diamonds I chose this quilt because and
it’s made I’m almost positive by an expert tailor who had a machine that
could could do that kind of work I chose this quilt because also because of the
borders look at the borders on the quilt itself those are printed lace borders
that were popular in the 1880s they show up sometimes in in quilts and especially
in log cabin quilts here’s a picture the similar examples of border prints
someone sent to me recently she they were in a box of her great aunt’s
unfinished projects notice these are all they were cut off of the edge of bolts
of fabric and they were some of them are in fact lace borders like you can see
this one right in the center oops I’m not going to play with that whoops
oops right in the center here’s a lace one and there’s another printed lace one
and when you look at that quilt here’s the same era same color and the same
print so that dates this little quilt to about 1880 the next chapter of Victorian
crazy quilts 1880s the 19-teens again look at our vignette look we had so much
fun with these I hope we really do you I hope they really do set a context for
the book imagine if the book was just one one quilt per page we wanted to kind
of give some some liveliness to to the book the little picture in this one has
everything when I talked to Virginia gun and asked her if I could borrow some of
her photos and she sent a lot I said I’m looking for quilt
looking for photos that have number one a child number two a dull child wit doll
and would an especially one that had a doll quilt this is the only photo that
you sent that has all three components the child the doll and the quilt I think
the little doll looks like she’s dressed like the little girl and the quilt in
the in the picture has lace a lace border on it much like this quilt that
is in Mary’s collection she called it crazy with lace it’s 18 inches long and
14 inches wide it’s it’s upstairs to on one of the beds but this quilt has
another secret probably a lot of you in this room have looked closely at this
quilt and realize what the secret is but this is not a typical crazy quilt the
fabric here is cheater cloth it’s printed to look like a Victorian crazy
quilt including all of the the owls the spiders the butterflies and all of that
edge embroidery now when I found something like this on her quilts I I
would you know send off queries to some a qsg friends and this one I actually
sent to the American textile Museum and Lowell and I asked their curator Diane
Fagan Affleck if she knew the source of this fabric and the date of this fabric
she said it was probably manufactured by the Merrimac print works in in new
england in the 1880s although the museum owns a lot of the
company’s records she found no printing record for this crazy quilt print now I
found out yesterday going through the exhibit with one of the docents that in
the International Quilt Study Center owns two other large widths that have
this same crazy a pre-printed crazy quilt style
cloth in it lots of interesting connections with this particular quilt
here’s another little crazy quilt it’s 14 it looks big here but it’s 14 inches
by 14 inches it is upstairs imagine what are those blocks they’re probably a
little over two and a half inches on a side this quilt too has a surprise on
the backing fabric unfortunately you can’t fit but here in the exhibit but
here in this presentation I’m going to show it to you on the back of the quilt
is another cheater cloth pre printed fabric it has been conserved with
netting which is visible in the center of the quilt I asked Diane athlet at the
museum about this this design I sent it to her and she definitely linked this to
the kocha KO print works of new hampshire the scenes she said in the
backing that they have examples of this and she said the scenes are from Charles
Dickens Pickwick Papers a very popular serial story novel in the 1800s the
museum owns a ledger from that company with information that stated to the date
it was printed April 20th 1880 now this is pretty exciting to me the next one is
it’s always important to remember that not all crazy quilts were made of silks
and satins this one is made of Cotton’s and it’s
the one I plan to reproduce using Japanese cotton fabrics marries it and
I’ve been working on it for two years it’s not gotten much further along than
the layout Mary’s comments about this again are it was probably made by an
adult because she says the fabrics lie flapped and if they’re edged with simple
well executed embroidery stitches quills made by children are hard to
prove because usually but this this quilt is easy to prove be proof easy to
prove because if it has been handed down in one family
the Gormley family in the center towards in the center part towards the top you
see Mariah 1904 Mariah was Nell Mariah bodkin Mary’s mother-in-law Roger
Gormley’s mother she was born in 1888 in this photo she’s 12 in 1904 when she
made the crazy quilt she was 16 years old she married John Gormley in
Hutchinson Kansas in October 1913 her second child Roger was born in November
1918 here here she is all grown up as an adult she was known as Nell bodkin
Gormley and she made this simple one patch quilt for her granddaughters Peggy
Phyllis and Marilyn Gormley in the 1950s the quilt is still owned by Mary
I guess they haven’t decided who’s going to get the quilt it’s here today we’re
going to show it to you later another quilt that has a story with it is one
that came from a friend of Mary’s chance telic some of you know her she’s a great
quilt historian and collector from Nebraska she got this small quilt which
we call brick wall and this little pillow at an estate sale in Crete
Nebraska jamb got like a good quilt historian Jan jotted down the estate’s
owner’s names olga and lewis melanic with the quilt she came a note and when
she gave it to Mary the note came with it and when I saw this quilt look so I
saw the note and I said whew this one is going to be in the book but first I have
to confirm it after a search of the genealogy we found the mullennix family
listed in the 1930 nazca census and she was only a little girl
just a little over one year old in 1940 she wasn’t in the census not neglecting
to tell you what was on that note the note said that the little girl who made
the quilt died at the age of 12 so here it was very very clear in the census
that we had the right little girl and here’s her picture her name is Doris and
this search underscores how important it is to sign and date quilts even the
smallest quilts the most insignificant grilles and keep the history with the
quilt those little notes help here’s another one can probably made by a child
it’s upstairs wouldn’t you like to know more about this quilt Mary would say to
me and I of course I would to me it looks like the quit the mother made this
quilt quickly for a little girl a little child who wanted to quilt now right now
mommy for my baby doll luckily a note was also attached to the squirrel it
said mama made this quilt when six years old in 1904 whoa now being a good girl
historian and remember I am from Missouri the show-me-state I have to be
proved or two or three ways I needed to look closely at these fabrics and sure
enough they are from them this little quilt is full of fabrics from the turn
of the century so the story that was attached to the quilt effort being made
in 1904 fits with the fabrics that I know this one we lots of chuckles in the
audience I’m sure this one is only five inches by nine inches and you wonder
what is going on here little pieces big pieces big pieces that are kind of
cattywampus it has similar fabrics too we dated it to about 1900 1910 I’m not
sure if its child made or if the mother might have used it used what she had on
hand this one too is one of my favorites and Mary’s favorite she named it
expanding one patch it has a wonderful piece on the back too
a lot of Dahle quilts have front and back designs on them the next chapter I
labeled quilt patterns 1880s to the 1900s you know that I’m really
interested in finding primary sources for quilt patterns and in the 1800s a
very good source was women’s magazines this was an era where the quilt block
names became established because they were in print I like using these sources
to date quilts this chapter is full of detective stories I’m not going to tell
you all of them but fit I hope you sit down and read the captions that’s where
the meat of some of this information is I’ll share a few here with you this
little block is 15 inches by 15 inches the center we named it her Mary named it
churn – but in an 18:8 in 1883 in Louisville farm and fireside magazine a
reader sent in this block on the bottom right along with three other quilt
patterns now this was a time where readers would send in blocks and the
editors would create little illustrations and the editor named this
a wrench she wrote that the contributor wrote
many of the patterns you have published are so pretty I thought it would add my
might by sending some of mine this same block was published 14 years
later in 1897 by the ladies art company of st. Louis and they named it double
wrench and we also know it as coarse turn – hole in the barn door and maybe
several others if this is a page from the ladies art company catalog and as
you can see they well they had 400 quilt blocks in this particular catalog and
they numbered them all a quilt maker would would get this catalog maybe from
fail or maybe ordered from a magazine it came from st. Louis and she would like
choosing what’s what seeds to buy she would go through this and choose what
quilt block she was interested in she ordered each one based on the number in
the early catalogs they did not have quilt names for the lady’s art company
like this one this is one that’s in marries this is her in her doll
collection it’s 19 inches by 19 inches in the early catalogs this block was
only known as number 109 108 and the size of the block was 13 by 12 and a
half inches it says calico for 35 cents you could buy the patterns in a little
envelope and inside were some some templates that were made out of tissue
paper or you could order a calico block already made up and you could then make
your your quilt templates from that or use it as a guide for making your quilt
for 35 cents you could get this block now I’m not saying this is for for sure
but it’s very possible that a block like the house Block in the center could have
come from ladies art company she decided not to make a quilt out of it but used
it instead in a doll quilt by adding borders this is another another lady’s
art company pattern in the late end here it’s just simply number three seventy
later on they named it Sugar Loaf which is the name that Mary used where did
Mary get these names from the Barbara breckman pieced encyclopedia where did
Barbara get these names various places but a lot of them from the ladies art
company catalogs this next quilt is not in the exhibit but we have it to show
you today I think it’s a really really interesting little piece we cut Mary
named it medallion because it is a medallion quilt with a star quilt and
star block in the center and borders were worked around it
to end those borders are probably added to fit a doll bed it’s 18 inches by 22
inches the neat part on the back of the quilt is this and mm4 Mary maybe I can
assume I mean I wonder if maybe the child that this was made for was you
know maybe her name was Mary we don’t know we can only like Mary often says we
if there’s no story we can imagine one we can make one up and that’s the fun
part about collecting dollar quilts – if the medallions this.m in the center is a
single initial block M now what’s the source of this block I knew this I when
I thought it went wow I can tell another piece of quilt history this letter M
block was published in hearth and home magazine now this is a like a newspaper
format for basically for the farm women but it was published in Augusta Maine
and they were they were trying to put out a series of alphabet blocks this
letter M quilt was published in 1906 in February 1906 a reader here she is hurt
you blown this up so you could may be able to read it but it says she signed
her name busybody they weren’t going to put a real name
and heaven forbid somebody might you know track her down in Erie Kansas
anyway she figure in this she suggested that this style of letter makes a
charming initial or alphabet quilt when using several blocks in one quilt top
the editors went on and said to omit that border on every other block making
the border of the block do the joining and I think if we probably if you look
through your quilt books you and maybe even at the International Quilt Study
Center you’re going to find a quilt or two I think of the H quilts there are
lots of H quilts out there I’m not sure why but that’s probably what they were
due using a block like this and this block
on the back of Mary’s quilt is constructed exactly as the published
block in hearth and home notice it has the same borders in it between the red
corner blocks and the M is is constructed exactly the same way now
there were other alphabet quilts and other published sources this one is
exact I’m just sure that that’s what’s going on in with this particular quilt
so with that information you can’t really date this quilt to any earlier
than 1906 when it was published the next chapter is on fabrics
turn-of-the-century fabrics 1890s to 1900s Mary also collected dowel dresses
and and why did she collect the dowel dresses because they had fabrics in them
that were also in the quilt so we decided that we would do three or four
of them to again kind of show in the book kind of give a lesson on on quilt
history this indigo blue fabric shown in a doll dress is usually dated 1900 to
1910 notice very similar fabrics appear in the doll quilt shown in the
background another thing to notice is this has that printed border in the
bottom of the skirt and also in the sleeves like I had shown earlier in the
pinwheel quilt in the back also notice the Turkey red fabric in the upper left
and the mourning fabric in the upper right this limited color grouping often
appear in quilts about 1900 to 1910 there’s a detail photo of the Turkey red
fabric in the upper left and lo and behold it’s one of those sporting themed
prints I’ve never seen this one it’s croquet see the croquet mallets and the
ball and a little wicket lots of neat things you can find in doll
quilts morning print cloth again women were in mourning after the Civil War a
lot of textile companies put out fabrics that were lit just a little bit fancier
by they were print and they named them morning prints
the dress has it in it and the doll quilt behind it here’s the four quilt
morning prints show up in women’s dresses and quilts about 1890 to 1910
20th century quilts is the next chapter we were interested in childhood
literature and this particular photo is mine it shows a young girl reading a
story book probably mother Drew’s I can’t I used a magnifying glass I
couldn’t tell for sure but she’s sitting at a table with a red work embroidered
cover on the table both the photo and the red work embroidery date to about
1900 here is a what’s called a real photo postcard this is the front of the
postcard it was a picture taken of a little girl in her doll baby on the back
is the message area and I’ll read it to you it’s a postcard now this wasn’t sent
but it was probably given to the it was written on there and Tezz this was your
mommy playing nurse when she was a little girl keep it doesn’t she look
worried I bet the baby had a temperature and
again thanks from Virginia gun for that this one too probably in the 1930s for
me growing up in the 1950s in suburban st. Louis Missouri playing house in the
backyard in the woods was a favorite memory of my childhood these young
people are unidentified but I’d suspect the time is the 1930s and they are
playing hospital notice the beds the chairs the dolls and the folded doll
quilts here’s a quilt kit I found it online you
can imagine how I got excited when it was doll quilts and kits and 1930s I had
to have it and I I loved looking at the image here we have a little girl working
on a quilt top while her little doll sleeps in a crib tucked under a quilt
inside the box are patches already cut thread needles thimble and a scissors
along with a pamphlet that shows how to create simple quilt blocks with these
cut out pieces proof that quilt making for dolls for bite for children for
their dolls was more popular and going on
Mary’s collection also includes grandmother’s flower garden quilts from
the nineteen summit the 20th century 1930s this quilt is this one is 13
inches by 16 inches I suspect that this low val quilt is made from pieces from
an adult size quilt this one we couldn’t go through the 20th century without
talking about a yo-yo quilt I especially chose this one because of
the fabrics the peach colored rayon fabrics and the steel colored kind of
grey fabrics to represent the boudoir era in the 1920s when quilts were made
in those those colors and those shiny fabrics and finally this quilt mary had
it well especially in the 20th century with so many published quilt patterns
and kids it’s easier to identify and date quilt patterns this little quilt on
the left was originally a pillow part of an ensemble you could see it here on the
right the quilt kits cost two dollars and 98 cents
two dollars and 98 cents for the quilt plus the thread the pillow cost not
night excuse me the pillow cost 98 cents the date of this catalog is 1962 Mary’s
original name for this quilt was puppy dog and I can see why she would think
that was puppy dog but when I found this exact match we changed the quilt name to
teddy bear now if you want to see all their quilts
I encourage you to get the book if you want to see all 300 quilts in the
Gormley collection go to the website the International Quilt Study Center &
Museum website they have of course we don’t they have thousands of quilts from
their collection available for viewing online and again the website is www.antakungfu.com what are you going to do with this
information if you’re a quilt maker you might make the quilt if you’re a quilt
collector well we’ll talk about that in just a minute but style quilt ideas use
old blocks and add borders you see this done in some of these quilts we’ve
talked about log cabin blocks work really well for small quilts make a
miniature version of a favorite quilt use unfinished project why not for the
front and the back of these little dowel quilts use pillow projects and leftover
embroidery projects in your in these quilts but remember work with a child
and just let them play and Hermes I heard about her just recently is
reproducing the quilts in the book using antique fabrics see her blog postings
quilt lab at blah spot.com July 1 and July 4 2010 I asked
her for permission to show this and she was happy to show it here’s a little
vignette that she’s put together these are quilts that she has copied from the
book using vintage fabrics and here it is look at the one on the left is they
chance quilt with a wide border and the one on the right is that one I love so
much I don’t think she’s done it quite as well I would work a little bit better
on but she’s copied it exactly like the one in the book and she fussy cut like I
was pointing out in the center well I shouldn’t say I’m not a quilt maker
she’s got a really good job with this and I and I there are other people doing
the same thing it’s interesting when you write a book and see what happens
afterwards if you’re collecting dollar quilts if you really want the very best
aisle quilts look for doll quilts that were created as doll clothes rather than
simply cut from a full-size quilt the quilt design should be proportional to
the reduced size of the quilt the pattern should not appear to be cut off
the back and the binding should be the same age as the top fabric and yet each
doll quilt has its own special charm whether beautifully made currently
assembled or showing the clumsy workmanship of a beginner and we hope
Mary and I that you will save them all the quirky or the better if you have
them in your family record the memories of the doll and it’s quilt if you see
one in an antique store consider giving it a home we hope we’ve opened your eyes
and hearts to these small wonders Mary Campbell Gormley is now 90 years old
she and her husband Roger sold their house and distributed family antiques
they live in a retirement community in Lincoln Nebraska her doll quilts and
many of the beds with matching linens were acquired by the international crook
Study Center at University of Nebraska the new
International Quilt Study Center Museum at the University of Nebraska as a
reading room named after Mary Gormley the display cases hold rotating exhibits
of her doll quilts and now they’re making duplicates of her doll quilt so
that they don’t fade in the sunshine Mary continues to volunteer at the
Museum this fall the museum is showing a special exhibit of her doll quilts from
August 6 through December 12 2010 I wanted to show you some of the quilts
that are in the book but not in the exhibit and Carolyn Carolyn took them
and I requested and today she went into the storage and found them this is this
is the little red work quilt we could turn that off and it represents about
1910 mary did you want to say anything about it it has hearts all around it and
she thinks that obviously is a sentimental feeling to here’s the back
you could see the paroxysm here’s another one that’s in that chapter with
all the little detective things this little this one we called I can’t
remember what you called it but in the end we found out it was
called Jemima Puddleduck and it’s a Beatrice Potter design and not a mother
Goose I think that’s originally called mother Goose and but it’s a Jemima
Puddleduck on this one beautiful juvenile fabric on the back
juvenile print fabric and the same fabric is used on the front and then
here’s one called lamb’s L a.m. via their little lambs
this is a series I think it’s a it’s in the book but it’s a Clark company series
they were stamped blocks and in fact they were even tented
and you you bought them you were supposed to cut them up and put them in
a bigger quilt and but this woman just got this far and decided I’m going to
make a doll world out of it now look at the back on this whoo is that gorgeous I
just love that that image we date the front to 1932 because these were
published in it is even a copyright on the pattern 1932 so I would assume this
would be 32 or later we’re not sure of that though and then here is the the
medallion quilt one of my personal favorites it goes like this and here’s
the back the M and here’s these are the Gormley family pieces this is Mariah odd
Caen she made it in 1904 it says Maria right there in 1904 but Roger said her
mother his mother’s name was pronounced Mariah it’s wonderful to be able to get
oral history that kind of information otherwise this little quilt is yes it
stated it might have been saved but now we know a lot more because of the direct
connection to the family look at the back of it they never put a backing on
it what was she about 16 when she made this
and then she made this for the grandchildren in the 1950s and did I get
all the names right yes Peggy Phyllis and Marilyn a one patch 1950s fabrics
and it’s know it yes well I can’t right here if it’s I think it’s machine
yes it’s machine quilted Mary also like to point out in her her lectures dolls
could be anything and you can imagine you know to make things
appeared to be become doubt this is a little corn cob with a little ball of
string on the top and the little girl dressed it I think Mary made this yes I
love this quote and when it wasn’t upstairs like other words I wanted to
see it again because I’m I might reproduce some of these I’m not really
quilt maker but these little doll quilts are really making me think about well
maybe I can do it there’s small project look at this this it’s for dot it’s for
nine patches but by putting the red as the setting fabric and a white in the
center there’s a lot of you see it optical illusions happening with this
just a really simple piece but there’s a lot of thought behind it and I
appreciate whoever made this particular quilt it too has another pieced quilt on
the back we think it’s about 1910 and finally Mary wanted me to show this for
her fret her her quilting friends was a friendship quilt made as a doll quilt
and on it are that are some of the names of people that are dear to her Janet
Sullivan Jan Wow Betty Dunkin ho partridge gretchen Garcia Jean Davy Mary
Gormley Ruth massingale Diane Wagner and Mona Jean another way to make a little
quilt and Ruth is here ah hi so your honor you are now part of the Gormley
course that’s a family peas okay that’s the quilts I brought you’re
welcome to come up and look at them there are some other ones that people
have brought in this is from jams collection these quilts are still out
there these are delicate she recently got an estate sale I think here in
Lincoln a bar quilt we think this might be the
oldest one of the group probably 1870s this one with the blues is probably
right at 1890 1900 this red and white one is probably 1910 this is interesting
quilting on the backs like the quilting stitches started but she didn’t finish see that I think that’s the other part
about dull quilts they do make you laugh and make you a lot of chuckles from them
this has a lot of mourning cloths in it right here and on the back another
wonderful backing this is a little four patch it is machine quilted and finally
the one that Jen likes I like this one too is another medallion quilt with
borders on either side probably made to fit the the bed that it was being made
for it’s not it doesn’t have a back on it it’s probably been washed and finally
I wanted to tell you I’m closing I’m helping my sisters and I are helping
close up my father’s house in st. Louis we were there a week ago and lo and
behold we found one more box of things of the sisters there are three little
sisters dolls and doll furniture and my sister Sally starts pulling out this
cloth and she says oh my gosh it’s like scrunched up in my quilt it’s a dull
quilt and there were three of us and there were three dull quilt projects and
I brought them home and the live the littlest one that my sister Carol would
have made probably about the age of four looks like those funny little expanding
one patches and the other ones look like like this from the 1850s
18:51 not better I want to thank the photographer David Kostelnik is the
photographer you don’t usually hire a designer this
man did many things for us and really gave a spark to the book and my thanks
also to Virginia Gunn for allowing me to include her vintage photos of the book
and of course Roger and Mary Gormley thank you for being my friends for
trusting me for asking me to do this book and from both of us thank you this
has been a collaboration a labor of love we finished it and we’re still friends
thank you

2 Comments

  • Kay Butler says:

    Thoroughly enjoyed viewing this lecture by Merikay Waldvogel on doll quilts! Thank you for making this video accessible to us. It was a great way to spend part of a Sunday afternoon learning about these antique treasures!

  • Mary K Fons says:

    Merikay is one of my heroes. Thank you, IQSCM and thank you MW!

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