Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Found in Paducah

Passing notes during class can get you into trouble, but sometimes it's a good thing. Just after the lunch break during the appraisal skills course in Paducah, a classmate passed me a business card from a local antique shop just around the corner from the National Quilt Museum, and written on the back was a note about a New York Beauty quilt top available for sale at the shop.

I didn't realize it at the time, but the card came from fellow blogger and candidate for appraisal certification, Siobhan, also known as Yankee Quilter, who I met a couple days later at the Rotary Antique Quilt Show. Siobhan's main blog is called Scraps and Threadtales.

After class, I was planning to visit with Mary Kerr, so I asked if she wouldn't mind going with me to the antique shop before heading to Whaler's Catch. We found the shop, went inside, and the quilt top was still there, folded up and sitting on a table toward the back. After opening it up and looking at the price tag, I knew I was going to buy it but automatically went into haggle mode.

"It's pretty nice," I said within earshot of the man at the cash register, "but $190, I don't know...what do you think?" I'm sure Mary was familiar with the drill because she went along with it. Then, I turned to the man at the register and asked, "Is this the best you can do?" When he said he could do $175, I agreed to buy it, happy with the small discount. The truth of the matter is I would've bought it even if he hadn't dropped the price, but haggling is instinctual.

The top is a New York Beauty, c. 1935, with wonderful, scrappy print fabric points and solid blue and yellow on a white background. The block design is diagonal rather than squared, and the piece is in very good condition. The top is a little ripply and there is a bit of "tenting" in a couple of the stars, an effect seen when the pieced diamonds don't lay completely flat at the intersecting point. I imagine it could be quilted out, although I'm not really planning to quilt this piece.

Right now, I am considering displaying it basted on a quilt rack in my show at the Benton County Historical Museum. That is, if I can figure out how to set it up on a rack. I still don't know how to thread a needle, so I may need to enlist one of my quilting friends for that! This top is the 36th textile example in my collection of New York Beauties, and I'm thankful that it was brought to my attention. I hadn't really planned on buying anything in Paducah, so passing notes in class may have gotten me into a little trouble, but it was a good kind of trouble!


  1. WW, you are incorrigible. From the git-go, I spotted you as a note-passer. Probably also a whisperer. Definitely a fidgit. I bet your teachers went home each day after your class and downed several valium or Scotch----or perhaps they required valium and Scotch.

    If you come South, we'll teach you to thread a needle. Or maybe you could seek out Julie S, out there in the West. She is known to have put in "several" quilting stitches" once in Alabama. Documented. Of course, I don't know whether she threaded her own needles.

    Try to be good.

  2. Me? Good? Never!

    I believe "incorrigible" is the word...


  3. Looks like a good buy from this side of the pond- I would have had to haggle as well.

    A great find.

  4. Very good trouble! It's wonderful in all its scrappyness.

  5. This wasn't big trouble...tops fold up nicely in suitcases!

    I don't know if I ever saw the entire quilt-top...the store was crowded and I didn't want to draw attention to it so I unfolded an peeked a bit! Didn't realize quite how graphic it is! So glad it is in a good home! (I have a feeling you will be sewing soon...)

  6. of course this one had to come live with all the other wonderful NYB's you own! Well worth the price!

  7. Bargain.I'm a haggler too but I think I might just have bitten their hand off. $190? a no brainer. If I had seen it first......

  8. It's beautiful! Only $190.I guess that's why few of our friends and family understand how precious handmade quilts are and treat them like store bought blankets! Well found and well bought!

  9. You mentioned it briefly on your last post. I was wondering when we'd here details. It is a fantastic quilt!

  10. The word "Beauty" in it's classification definitely does it justice. I like the way the points are white instead of the prints so it doesn't float into the white center.

  11. When I saw it, I wondered if it was made using the Mountain Mist pattern. However, the number of points, width, length and sharpness of the points makes it something other than a Mountain Mist. Can't wait to learn more about published patterns of the early 20th century so I can figure out whose pattern it is. And yes, $190 was a steal. I only haggled because it's something I've been conditioned to do automatically whenever I'm in an antique shop. :)

  12. A steal, indeed, but now part of a great collection. What a beautiful top.