Saturday, December 27, 2014

The Elephant's Child Kit Quilt

one of Mom's neighbors has a wonderful and rarely seen kit quilt from the 1930s
Still in Maine: Mom wanted me to meet one of her neighbors today because she had a rarely seen kit quilt from the 1930s. It is called "The Elephant's Child" and was inspired by a Rudyard Kipling story and designed by E. Buckner Kirk. An image of the quilt with a description appeared in Woman's Home Companion Magazine in February 1934, and the quilt owner had the page as well as pages with instructions.

magazine clipping from Women's Home Companion 1934
one page from the instructions
The owner was kind enough to let me take some pictures with my cell phone, and I am sharing the pictures thinking there may be a little more information out there. One record appears in the ephemera section of The Quilt Index - click here to view - and one image was found on the Kentucky Historical Society web site - click here to view. Other than those two records, I couldn't find much else...so I think that makes it kind of rare.



So, you may ask, how can a quilt be rare if it's from a mass-produced kit? The simple answer is: not many were made. But it's such a charming quilt...why wouldn't everyone want to make their own?



I have a feeling the quilt was designed and marketed to quilters, but the quality and amount of appliqué made it a project for more advanced quilters. There must be a few unused kits somewhere out there in the world, I'm thinking. I have never seen one for sale, and had never seen anything other than a picture of one before today.



Interestingly, the owner found the unfinished pieces of the quilt when she was cleaning out a relative's home, and commissioned a quiltmaker in the 1970s to finish it. Good thinking, I said, because it's all together, and they have enjoyed it.



The owner displayes on the wall, out of the light, and is saving all the documents saying what it is and how it was made. Saving everything is good sometimes, and especially with this type of quilt.

10 comments:

  1. What a great quilt! I agree that it looks advanced enough to explain the apparent rarity. Wouldn't it be fun to find a kit at a sale/shop/wherever?

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  2. Yes, that is a difficult quilt! It is wonderful to see someone keep all the information on the quilt (hope she saved the name of the quilter who finished it for her!)

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    1. I wonder if it was marketed to a specific skill level. In the 1970s, Mountain Mist had that appliqué Bicentennial star quilt, and it was marketed for beginners.

      LOL?

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  3. What a charming little quilt! And so much work (and skill!) went into it.

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    1. I thought so, too. That border appliqué seems advanced, but most of the appliqué is rather narrow and there are odd shapes. Can you imagine someone who never made a quilt before trying to make it?

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  4. Love this quilt--any way to get photocopies of the instructions or applique pieces? Doesn't seem to be available anywhere!

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    1. All I have is photos from my iPhone. The originals are in Maine. I'm back home in Oregon.

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  5. Hi! I came across your blog because my mother just finished a quilt for my son based on a picture of a 1938 copy that appeared in Quilter's Newsletter in 1989. I'm a professional writer and teacher, and I'm writing an article that I'm hoping Quilter's Newsletter will publish along with pictures of the quilt. I'd love to include information and perhaps even the pattern....do you think you could ask your mother's neighbor to contact me? I'm trying to figure out how to attach a photograph of the "Elephant's Child" quilt hanging on my son's bedroom wall! The best email at which to reach me is byandrews@gmail.com. Thank you!

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