Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Welcome to the Family!

Rocky Mountain variation, c. 1870
A new family member arrived today, but it wasn't a baby. It was in fact older than any of our oldest living relatives. This quilt, a variation on the pattern most widely known as New York Beauty, was made around 1870 and came from Cindy Rennels in Oklahoma. She had gotten it from a dealer in Texas many years ago, and recently released it from her personal stash. The reason why I refer to it as a new family member is that it joins almost 50 other "New York Beauty" quilts in my collection. That's a pretty big family, considering there are only about 100 New York Beauty quilts on the Quilt Index.

Today, I decided to test the Julie Silber method of displaying quilts at lectures, which Julie has attributed to her partner, Jean Demeter. They use tables propped up at an angle, wrapped in Hobbs 80/20 black batting. "Easy up, easy down," as she says. While the quilt was up, I took a few pictures and had a usable image in no time. The loft space where I took the picture will soon serve as a home quilt lab, for examining, documenting and photographing quilts. It's not a huge space, but it's workable.

Back to the quilt: if you look at the design, you'll notice the cornerstones are miniature versions of the blocks - spiked quarter-circles wedged in the corners of a parallelogram. I've never seen it done this way before. The arcs of the cornerstones connect to the sashing strips in a way that creates the illusion of blocks with curved corners.

Also worth noting is the tan fabric and the dense, decorative quilting. The tan fabric was originally another color, most likely an over-dyed green. Over time, it appears the blue faded out of it. The color may have changed, but the masterful quilting remains intact. Love it, love it, love it! Welcome to the family!!


  1. Another stunning quilt! I just love those cornerstone blocks.....they look very small! I'd love to know how big this quilt is? And thanks for the close-up pic! This quilt is awesome in every way! Love it!

  2. Regan, it's 66" x 76" and the cornerstones are 6" square. :)

  3. Hi Willy Wonky,

    I’m writing to everyone I can find who’s visited my blog, Beth Donaldson: Quilt Doctor. Seems there’s another quilt doctor who doesn’t want to share the name and has threatened me with an attorney! So, I’m changing the name of my blog to Beth Donaldson: Quiltmaker and have changed the blog address too. You can find me at: http://bethdonaldson.blogspot.com/ . You could really help me out by a quick visit to my blog. The more visits I get, the faster Beth Donaldson: Quilt Doctor will fade from google and Beth Donaldson: Quiltmaker will appear.

    Thanks for visiting my blog, I hope to see you there again, soon.


  4. Gotcha. Sorry you had the hassle, and I'll always think of you as the original Quilt MD!

  5. Super! I blame you for keeping my aim to one day re designing a NYB so the secondary pattern of circles doesn't have flattened sides, tops and bottoms. Only one thing is holding me back. NYBs take time, lots and lots of it! Each time you get a new one the urge gets stronger.....

  6. Just sooooo beautiful. Wow I am so glad this one is living with you and your collection now.
    I just love the cornerstones....and the quilting is wonderful.
    I am still so tempted to make a NYB your collection just keeps inspiring me!

  7. Wow - what a spectacular find. :) Gorgeous quilting, love the two-tone color.

    . . . I wonder how they marked for their quilting in that time. . .

  8. That's a real beauty. That fabric looks bronze almost. Very classical.

  9. Another hum dinger...... and your loft...It's not a huge space, but it's workable. and it is empty!

  10. Yes, I wish I could have the photo station and exam table set up at the same time, but it's one or the other. When the tables are upright and pushed together, it's a decent size for looking at most quilts. Worked perfectly for the appraisal I did last weekend.