Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Debra Wagner's "Rail Through the Rockies"

Debra Wagner's "Rail Through the Rockies" is one of those quilts I have seen in magazines and books, and just last week my friend Madge sent me the pattern, found in the "Twentieth Century's Best American Quilts" book. Thank you, Madge!!

The quilt was made in 1990, it is 70" x 92" and it won first place in the professional traditional pieced quilt category of the 1991 American Quilter's Society show in Paducah. It was designated a Masterpiece Quilt by the National Quilting Association in 1992, the first such recognition for an entirely machine-worked quilt. It appeared on the cover and inside American Quilter Magazine, Winter 1991, Vol. VII, No. 4, as well as Wagner's 1994 book.

There are more than 4000 pieces in the quilt, and it was made with what Wagner called "striplate" piecing, which is basically paper foundation piecing. It was fun to read about it and see the pattern because this quilt predates other foundation pieced examples of the "New York Beauty" design by a few years.

My friend Georgia sent me some other clippings a while back, and those materials supported the information about Wagner's method of foundation piecing.

information sent to me by my friend Georgia
It was everywhere!! The quilt even appeared in a Poly-fil advertisement. I guess we know what kind of batting Wagner used. :)

I have learned a lot about foundation piecing recently, and I have to thank Madge for directing me to several great resources. Two of those were the books, "Precision Pieced Quilts Using the Foundation Method" and "Firm Foundations" by Jane Hall and Dixie Haywood.

I am truly blessed to have such generous and knowledgable friends. Foundation piecing is one of the most important developments in the evolution of the design we know as "New York Beauty, and Wagner's quilt is one of the important examples that put New York Beauty foundation piecing on the map. 

1 comment:

  1. That truly is a beautiful quilt. I remember being in awe when I first saw the photographs and would love to have been able to see it! Love the contrast between the precision of this one, and the wonkiness of some of the earlier versions. .