Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Lecture with Metropolitan Patchwork Society

My first quilt, purchased in 1989, c. 1850, Kentucky
Last night, I lectured for the Metropolitan Patchwork Society in Beaverton, and the subject was the New York Beauty quilts. It was my first visit to this group, and I was very impressed and hope to be invited back again. Great audience, wonderful questions, and I could tell there was a whole lot of quilting experience in that room. The quilts were presented in chronological order, and here's what I brought to show.

As seen in "Why Quilts Matter", c. 1860, Kentucky
c. 1870, by Florence Caldonia Corley Shealy, Saluda, South Carolina 
The famous MacMillan Family Quilt, 1868, Kentucky
Rare example with applique, c. 1870, Kentucky
Miss America Phyllis George's quilt, c. 1880, Kentucky
As seen in Quilters Newsletter, a rare late 19th century cheddar ground
"Make this quilt!" pattern in Quilters Newsletter
c. 1910, North Carolina
The namesake: Mountain Mist New York Beauty, c. 1930
"Lady Liberty" quilt, Karen Stone pattern, by Marita Wallace, 2010
New York Beauty, 2010, by Nancy Tanguay, Warren, Connecticut
It's a lot of fun to show these quilts in chronological order. In doing so, we get a much better idea of the life story of this quilt pattern. In the earliest days the pattern already had great stature and importance seen in the fine piecework and quilting. It was a "best" quilt, made for the dowry, wedding, or other milestone occasion. The early names, Rocky Mountain Road, Crown of Thorns, and other names were connected with westward migration and religion. The name New York Beauty, which came from a 1930 pattern by Mountain Mist, indicated a shift toward urbanization in America.

Today, the New York Beauty is much more of an art quilt, and impressively, still maintains its stature as a quilt on a pedestal. Even though foundation piecing has allowed this pattern to become a little easier to make and much more popular in the last 15+ years, it's still among the most difficult to make because of those curved seams and points. In other words, if you want some "street cred" in the quilt world, just make a New York Beauty!

Thank you, Metropolitan Patchwork Society, for inviting me to come talk. I hope everyone enjoyed it as much as I did, and I'll happily come back any time you want me. :)


  1. Saluda is just down the road from me! Why don't I find quilts like that around here?!

    1. Well, in the case of Florence Shealy's quilt, Stella Rubin got to it before anyone else could, and she offered it directly to me rather than putting it up for sale on the website. It never made it to the marketplace, so nobody really got to see it before it came to me.

  2. Thank you for your very interesting lecture at MPS last night. I thoroughly enjoyed your presentation and your beautiful "New York Beauty" quilt collection. I, too, hope you will return to show the members of MPS other quilts in your collection.

    1. What a wonderful, intelligent group! I'm so glad you enjoyed the dozen beauties. It was fun!!