Getting to Know You

Getting to Know You

Getting to Know You Quilt Image

On many levels, we get to know others—and ourselves—better through quilts.

Antique quilts provide windows into the past. And in understanding them, we gain greater insight into our own heritage.

Global quilts help us appreciate other cultures. From India to Indiana, domestic textiles like quilts reveal the diversity of the world’s people and remind us of our common humanity.

The quilts in our daily lives—whether gifts or self-made—connect us to others, as do works by artists exploring new aesthetic and conceptual territory. While our individual lives are unique, we can all relate to the stories and ideas embedded in quilts.

By teaching us about previous generations, helping us experience new cultures, or revealing personal stories, looking at quilts gives us the opportunity to connect.

We spent the last year getting to know our audiences around the globe.

In order to discover peoples’ ideas and feelings about quilts, we asked our friends and followers to vote for and comment on pieces that represent our diverse collection.
And they delivered. We received more than 1,000 responses via Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, an online voting page, and in one-on-one conversations. Our online audiences and local friends voted on nearly half of the quilts you see in this gallery.

Quilt House team members and associates also took a turn. We selected quilts and contributed our thoughts from both expert and personal points of view.

As you walk through the gallery, you’ll get to know our global collections and the many people who have thought about and admired them. And maybe you will get to know something about yourself, too

Works in the Exhibition

Works in the Exhibition

Whole Cloth
Maker unknown
Circa 1850-1870
IQM 2014.065.0001 

Carolyn Ducey, curator of collections: This beautiful cotton vanne, the French term for a small bedcover made to rest on a bed for decorative effect, was possibly made for a wedding—note 
the hearts in each corner. Produced primarily in the southern French region of Provence, these extraordinarily popular whole cloth quilts were also made from silks and printed cottons, or indiennes

Laura Chapman: I would put a ring on this quilt and marry it right now if I could. It’s simply stunning. 

Mary Ourecky: This is just a majestic look that would make anybody who sleeps under it feel special. 

Jonathan Gregory: GO BIG RED! 

Maker unknown 
Circa 1800-1820 
Made in United States 
Ardis & Robert James Collection, IQM 1997.007.0376 

Lynne Z. Bassett, associate fellow: Pieced wool quilts such as this one can be seen as transitions between the wool and silk whole-cloth tradition of the 18th century and the pieced cotton calico quilts that came to the fore with the Industrial Revolution in the 19th century. The five different fabrics in this early quilt were reused from previous forms, as revealed by piecing within the blocks. 

the_orriginal: I *love* those borders! Having those angles is somewhat unexpected, and the colors make it more interesting. The “simplicity” of the whole quilt speaks to me, too. 

Jonathan Gregory: This quilt is so thick and dense. I wonder if the maker used pliers to pull the needle when quilting it. 

Mishel Filisha: It’s interesting that this quilt was made in the early 1800s because it looks like a graphic design from the 1980s. Twenty-something etsy 80s throwback hipster crafters should see this back-to-the-future pattern and colors. 

Mary Ourecky: The blocks set on point look so strong and stable, the angled border softens the look and puts some fun movement in the overall look of the quilt. 

Laura Chapman: It reminds me of the sectional my aunt and uncle had in their living room while I was growing up. 

Wreath of Roses 
Maker unknown 
Circa 1930 
Possibly made in Indiana 
Ardis & Robert James Collection, IQM 2006.043.0042 

Jonathan Gregory, assistant curator of exhibitions: Marie Webster revolutionized quilt design in the early 20th century, producing Art Nouveau-inspired appliqué patterns that radically  departed from the patchwork and Crazy quilt styles of the late 19th century. Her Practical Patchwork Company produced patterns, kits and partially completed quilts, which were popular throughout the 1920s and ‘30s quilt revival. 

Laura Chapman: I don’t always like kit quilts, but when I do they feature absolutely stunning quilting and vibrant colors, like this one. 

Carolyn Ducey: Marie Webster’s patterns make me feel like all is right with the world. They are balanced, precise and beautifully colored. True artistry. 

Mary Ourecky: I love the unique fancy edge on this beautifully appliquéd quilt. It just makes it more than special!

Maker unknown, probably Lakota
Circa 1920
Standing Rock Reservation, South Dakota 
IQM 2010.047.0001 

Kim Taylor, collections manager: The most interesting part of this pieced quilt top is the attachment of beaded disks with feathers—very similar to how buffalo robes were decorated in the 19th century. I think the stains across the top are blood smears. Maybe this blanket was presented to a warrior returning from battle. 

Leslie Levy: I love to stand before this quilt. For me, the star radiates and moves... It is quite alive and beautiful. 

Carolyn Ducey: After trying to piece my own, I’m not sure I like Lone Stars at all! The pattern requires precise stitching—something I can’t accomplish. This stirs memories of frustrated re-working. I respect quiltmakers who didn’t have rotary cutters and paper piecing. 

Anonymous: The boldly colored star has a movement created by the well-placed colors used to construct the star. I love that this is a 3D quilt loaded with culture if it could talk. 

Whole Cloth 
Maker unknown
Circa 1890-1910
Made in Turkey
IQM 2010.045.0012 

Marin Hanson, curator of exhibitions: In Turkey, quilts have been made for centuries, with whole cloth quilts being among the most common. Quiltmaking was a skilled profession in the Ottoman Empire (1299-1923) and even today, you can see quiltmakers in the Istanbul bazaars making brightly colored whole cloth quilts. 

Carolyn Ducey: I love block printed designs. It’s a little wonky— I can relate to that! 

Laura Chapman: #paisleysofinstagram 

Mary Ourecky: The paisleys in this quilt makes me think of a peacock strutting across the galleries dropping its beautiful tail feathers along the way! 

International Quilt Museum: Did you know... the paisley design originated in Persia and flourished in India, but its Western name came from the city of Paisley, Scotland, where manufacturers produced woven paisley shawls. For more information about Indian influence in Western design, visit “Reflections of the Exotic East.” 

Tush kiiz 
Maker unknown 
Mid-20th Century 
Kyrgyzstan, Alai Region 
IQM 2011.040.0039 

Christine Martens, associate fellow: Among the Kazakhs, Kyrgyz, Uzbeks, Tajiks and Turkmen, it is traditional to make garments and objects for everyday use of multi-colored patchwork. Patchwork is especially popular for such things as children’s clothing, mattresses, pillows, and wall hangings, like this tush kiiz, which is usually the focal point in a yurt, the traditional tent dwelling of these nomadic peoples. 

Carolyn Ducey: And we thought the Log Cabin pattern was unique to America—evidently not so much! I love the familiarity of the pattern combined with the unfamiliar format. Also, the tiny triangles are quirky and wonderful. 

Jonathan Gregory: This hanging makes me sure that no matter where it was displayed, it made the space spectacular. 

Marin Hanson: I love the idea of granting your home an extra measure of significance and separateness by displaying traditional textiles. I now want a tush kiiz for my house—maybe between the living room and dining room? 

Laura Chapman: The ultimate statement piece, this tush kiiz (which is really super fun to say) definitely captures your attention when it’s on a wall. 

Maker unknown
Circa 1980
IQM 2008.012.0006 

Marin Hanson, curator of exhibitions: We are just beginning to learn about Southeast Asian patchwork. This piece from Thailand has design elements that echo other textile traditions from nearby regions and peoples. The spirals in the center panel, for instance, relate to designs of the Southern Chinese Miao people, who are ethnically related to the Hmong of Southeast Asia. 

Mary Ourecky: Each row of this brightly striped patchwork is like a surprise layer of a grandly layered cake. 

Mishel Filisha: I like how the center part has movement and the static concentric border encloses the movement inside. It reminds me of a human body— with owing blood and coiled organs inside held together by bone and skin’s external structure. 

Jonathan Gregory: My eye can’t rest in one place—so much movement. And all those triangles make me think of inverted Prairie Points! 

Gaby White: I love the depth in the patterns and I also wonder what the symbolism is behind the spirals. Lots of spirals in Laotian textiles too. 

Laura Chapman: The center medallion of this quilt is ah-mazing, but the intricate border stands out most. (It reminds me of the quilts featured in our exhibition, “The Engineer Who Could.”)

Maker unknown 
Circa 1900-1925 
Jessore, Bangladesh 
IQM 2012.001.0004 

Marin Hanson, curator of exhibitions
Kantha—quilts from eastern India and Bangladesh—often depict symbols important to Bengali spiritual and daily life. In its center, this kantha features the Hindu deities Krishna and Radha, who represent the masculine/feminine aspects of God. Snakes, an elephant, and a British soldier add further elements of spiritual, natural and social history to the quilt. 

Laura Chapman: There’s something about this piece that’s so intriguing. I’m a big fan of elephants on quilts. What do you like about this piece? 

Marin Hanson: I love that it looks like a game board—Chutes and Ladders, Candyland, or Life—or a maze. I would have loved this as a kid. 

Carolyn Ducey: The crazy snakes on this kantha make me curious and a little uneasy, because I don’t like snakes. Were they meant to portray something good or evil? Do they have some sort of connection to Krishna and Radha? I want to know more! 

International Quilt Museum: We want to know: What do you like about this kantha from Jessore, Bangladesh? 

@nanabecca: The little directionals in the four corners. 

Jonathan Gregory: When I doodle on paper, sometimes it looks like this (minus the elephant and deities—I don’t draw animals and people). 

Dawn (Left Illinois for California, April 15) 
Anna Von Mertens
IQM 2010.002.0001 

Michael James, artist and fellow: Quilting, the stitching that defines patterns complementary to patchwork, has rarely seemed so significant and meaningful to me as in Anna von Mertens’ Dawn. The patterns delineated here in stitching transcend their function. They capture historical phenomena, the pathways of stars that a traveler across these wide Plains would have observed between dusk and dawn on the day in question. While the land these invading travelers were crossing seemed to them vast and often featureless, the skies were vaster, and in some regard more dynamic. So as the earth revolved these stars served as witnesses to the history being made with every pioneer settler’s footsteps and every turn of their wagons’ wheels. If they had no certainty about what lay ahead of them, they could be assured that the inexorable forces of the universe would continue to mark time and place far beyond the limited scope of their mortal lives. 

Leslie Levy: This is one of those quilts you would never tire of and would love forever. It initially appears very simple, but is really quite complex and beautiful. 

YN Leung: Love this more with every viewing. I would give it a whole wall in my home if it were mine... Maybe across from my bed. This is a true artist at work. 

Laura Chapman: I could stare at this quilt forever. As a Nebraska native it reminds me of what you see on the long drive across the state on I-80. Lots of nothing, which is quite beautiful. 

Maker unknown 
Circa 1980-2000 
South Korea 
IQM 2006.033.0002 
Jonathan Gregory, assistant curator of exhibitions: There is a centuries-old tradition in many cultures, particularly in Asia, of wrapping objects and gifts with beautiful textiles. In Korean culture, these wrappings, called pojagi, were made in bursts of colorful patchwork or imaginative embroidery, in fine and coarse materials, and from small to large scale. 

International Quilt Museum: We want to know: What comes to mind when you see this Pojagi from South Korea? 

5foot1quilts: A birdseye view of food gardens. 
Linda Crump:A busy city. 
Connie Svoboda: At first glance I thought I saw a hidden message using stylized letters of the alphabet. 
Melissa Doyle:  Spring in the desert! 
Krishma Quilts: This quilt invokes a feeling of all the mid-century masters playing with fabrics, color, lines and shapes... to compose a quilt! 
Judy Billings: The colors just speak to me. The organization of the design is pleasing. 

Marin Hanson: I like the idea of reusable gift wrapping. In our family at Christmas, we are always hyper-sensitive about trying to save wrapping paper (it gets a little bit ridiculous!)—using fabric would be so much better. 

Square in 1 a Square 
Jeff Martin 
Circa 1975-1995 
Robert & Helen Cargo Collection of African American Quilts, IQM 2000.004.0061 

Marin Hanson, curator of exhibitions: The simple aesthetic of this piece is reminiscent of today’s “modern” quilts. Many contemporary quiltmakers—members of the Modern Quilt Guild, for instance—use large pieces of solid fabrics in basic geometric shapes in an effort to strip their quilts down to a bolder, simpler look. This leaves them room to feature intricate machine quilting. Jeff Martin, on the other hand, used large hand-quilted stitches to hold his Square in a Square together, giving it a comfortable, textured look. 

Anonymous: I can imagine this as an apartment from a sitcom. I half expect the crazy lady in 2B to hang her head out any minute to yell something at the “hoodlums” on the street. 

Sara Hobart Homeyer: Special features of this quilt: large blocks, dramatic color and value contrast, some repeated fabric/blocks. Not the “usual” quilt and therefore very attractive to me! Challenging, and yet makes me think, “I could try a design of my own something like that.” 

Jan Roland (Wabash, Indiana): The orange rectangles engage the eye and draw you into a warm collection of colors, just like the quilt would warm a person on a cold night.

Center Diamond 
Melinda King 
Circa 1910-1930 
Lancaster County, Pennsylvania 
Ardis & Robert James Collection, IQM 1997.007.0063 

Carolyn Ducey, curator of collections: During the classic period of the late 19th century to World War II, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania Amish quiltmakers often juxtaposed large flat planes of saturated colors to create simple but striking designs. They also nearly always used fine dress-weight wools like the ones in this quilt. Amish women are still prolific quiltmakers today though they have expanded their pattern repertoire considerably. 

Mary Ourecky: The thin red binding keeps my eyes focused on the bold red diamond in the center. The large fields of solid colors make you think about the quilted stitches that are so beautifully sewn into this quilt. 

Joy Shalla Glenn: Simple yet bold! 

Leslie Levy: I love it because it is a quintessential Amish quilt—I am drawn to the dark colors and simple design. 

Log Cabin 
Maker Unknown 
Circa 1910-1930 
Probably Lancaster County, Pennsylvania 
Jonathan Holstein Collection, IQM 2003.003.0124 

Marin Hanson, curator of exhibitions: Although Center Square, Center Diamond and similarly simple layouts were standard among early 20th-century Amish quiltmakers, some women also worked with more complex patterns, like Log Cabin. Yet, as with this maker, they usually contained their intricate piecing within the wide borders and corner squares typical of Lancaster County Amish quilts. 

Leslie Levy: It is comforting in its familiarity of design coupled with the understated colors. 

Carolyn Ducey:  I would never have thought this color combination would be so beautiful. I love the simple piecing that creates such a dramatic quilt. And who doesn’t love the Barn Raising setting? It just pulls you into the quilt! 

International Quilt Museum: This quilt consists of standard Log Cabin blocks configured in the Barn Raising setting. In addition to the standard Log Cabin block, left, two other variations are the Courthouse Steps, center, and Pineapple, right. 

Eight Pointed Star 
Maker Unknown 
Circa 1920-1940 
Possibly made in Wisconsin 
Sara Miller Collection of Midwestern Amish Crib Quilts, IQM 2000.007.0067 

Janneken Smucker, associate fellow 
The use of incongruous pieces of fabric, seemingly random arrangements  of color, and a sense of playfulness characterize Midwestern Amish crib  quilts, rather than the formal sense of order usually found in full-size Amish quilts. I love that this quilt feels playful and random, but I’m guessing the quiltmaker knew exactly what she was doing. 

Laura Eggeman: I voted for this quilt because it looks very Amish but the stars and colors somehow make it a tiny less plain by allowing some love for a baby to sneak in. 

Ronel: The bright stars are so welcoming to a child. I am sure the kids will pick stars throughout life, with that inspirational crib quilt. 

Anonymous: There is something about the colors of the starbursts on the black background that gives off a sense of warmth, home and family. It looks like the sort of quilt I would want to grab and curl up with in front of replace on a cold winter night, cup of hot chocolate in hand and a classic lm on the television.

Maker unknown 
Circa 1815 
Possibly made in Baltimore, Maryland 
Ardis & Robert James Collection, IQM 1997.007.0688 

Carolyn Ducey, curator of collections: Chintz appliqué quilts, constructed of motifs cut from polished cotton fabrics, are some of the most beautifully crafted, vibrantly colored and largest quilts ever made. Initially created to imitate the fashionable painted and printed cottons of India, they were made primarily in the United States between 1775 and 1850. 

Jonathan Gregory: This may sound strange, but it looks like a giant postage stamp. 

Mary Ourecky: I cannot imagine the hours of hand stitching spent appliquéing the beautiful images onto this quilt. And then to try to figure out the mathematical size to cut the zig-zag edge! 

International Quilt Museum: Discover more about Chintz appliqué quilts in the online exhibition for “Chintz Appliqué: From Imitation to Icon.”

Maker unknown
Circa 1950
Possibly made in Ohio
IQM 2012.015.0103 

Linda Pumphrey, acquisitions coordinator: In the late 1920s, the Stearns & Foster Company of Cincinnati, Ohio, began to print quilt patterns on the wrapping paper for their Mountain Mist cotton batting. Over the next 40+ years, Mountain Mist wrappers introduced around 130 patterns, contributing to the company’s popularity and helping to fuel the quilt revival of the early 20th century. 

Anonymous: This is a fascinating layout. I’ve never seen a quilt with the motifs grouped the way they are—especially with all of that open space in the middle and the leaf pairs floating in the center. Very interesting. 

Carolyn Ducey, curator of collections: This is the kind of pattern I avoid as a quiltmaker, because of the technical difficulty in putting all of those rounded pieces together in an even way. I simply don’t have the ability. Kudos to the maker of this piece. 

Brea Brown: This quilt screams “summer” to me, not only because of the brightly colored flowers, but because the patterns created by the shapes on the white background are reminiscent of flowers in a bright, sunny field. 

International Quilt Museum: View more of the 150-piece Mountain Mist Collection in our online database. We will feature the collection in its own exhibition in 2016.

Log Cabin
Maker unknown
Circa 1890-1910
Probably made in New England
Ardis & Robert James Collection, IQM 1997.007.0114

Marin Hanson, curator of exhibitions: Quilts of the “Modern Age” (roughly 1870-1940), often feature abundant piecing, with Log Cabin being among the era’s most popular patchwork patterns. Fabric was cheaper than ever before, so some quiltmakers used as many cotton prints as possible; they also attempted to make their individual pieces as small as possible (about 1/4” wide in this quilt!).

Jonathan Gregory: This quilt validates my obsessive tendencies. :-)

Dean Young: You have to be impressed with the detailing of this quilt using such a vast array of colors and fabric designs!

Mary Ourecky: I love the pastel colors popping in and out of the mostly dark log cabin blocks. She used what she had, but it is such a happy overall look.

International Quilt Museum: Learn more about log cabin quilts in the online exhibition, “Design Dynamics of Log Cabin Quilts.”

Thousand Pyramids 
Maker unknown 
Circa 1890-1910 
Possibly made in Pennsylvania 
Jonathan Holstein Collection, IQM 2003.003.0137 

Jonathan Holstein, associate fellow: As you look at this piece, its large and small triangular shapes come and go up  and down on the quilt, constantly shifting. It is a brilliant exercise in optics that precedes and anticipates 20th century “Op Art” abstract paintings. 

Anonymous: Love the simplicity of the one patch. Love the variety of period fabrics and colors. Love the secondary designs that seem to appear and disappear in the blink of an eye. 

Bobbi Wells: It is just exciting to see such intricate detail, and the patience it took to do that. In quilting you learn about geometry, value, persistence, and organization. Don’t you find that as amazing and wonderful gifts? 

Anonymous: Being a new quilter and very fickle, I have a new favorite pattern each week. This week I have been loving the Thousand Pyramids quilts and this one is lovely. 

International Quilt Museum: This quilt was featured in our book “American Quilts in the Modern Age, 1870-1940,” which is available in the Museum Store. 

Crazy Quilt
Probably Susan and M. Eva Nicely 
Circa 1890-1910 
Possibly made in Indiana 
Jonathan Holstein Collection, IQM 2003.003.0194 

Jonathan Holstein, associate fellow 
Whoever made this quilt—I like to think of them as the Nicely sisters— adopted several different modes and styles common to quiltmaking of the time, reconfigured them, added some unique touches and so created an unusually powerful and aggressive finished textile. Nice work, Nicelys. 

Anna Nordström (Stockholm, Sweden): I’m usually not a fan of crazy quilts but this one is really amazing! I love the center medallion and the colors! The scale and composition of the whole piece makes it the best crazy quilt I ever saw. 

Ardeana Hamlin: When I look at this quilt, I feel as if I have entered into the thinking process of its maker—I can almost hear her wondering how this color ribbon will play against another color. I also like how the quilt has an air of folk art about it, while at the same time appearing to belong to the ranks of the Victorian crazy quilt genre. 

Anonymous: The irregular piecing and chaotic composition appeal to both my fondness for crazy quilts and my thrifty nature. It is exciting. Compelling. It urges me to action. 

International Quilt Museum: View more crazy quilts in the online exhibition, “A Fairyland of Fabrics.” 

Maker unknown 
Circa 1850-1870 
Probably made in the United States 
Byron & Sara Rhodes Dillow Collection, IQM 2008.040.0118 

Carolyn Ducey, curator of collections: Red and Green Appliqué was the “go-to” quilt style of the mid-19th century. Likely influenced by Germanic folk arts and by the newly widespread availability of wash- and light-fast red and green fabrics, this type of quilt found favor in communities all over the United States. 

Joan Laughlin: There’s enough negative white space to show off the details. It has a nice ow to it. It’s elegant. 

International Quilt Museum: Yes, red and green appliqué quilts from the mid-1800s often had ample open space for the maker to showcase her quilting skills. 

Wanda Hein: The design is very natural and the appliqué work is intricate and delicate. 

Anonymous: I love the freedom of the design and its abundance and that the sprays are not quite symmetrical. I also like the gold-dotted scallop as border as a subtle containment of the floribunda inside. 

Anonymous: I think this one would look great on my bed!

Maker unknown Circa 1910-1930 
Japan IQM 1998.003.0002 

Marin Hanson, curator of exhibitions: Although we might imagine this Japanese patchwork garment being worn to impress others, it was actually meant as an under-kimono. Its elaborately dyed and stitched fabrics would never have been seen, other than perhaps peeking out at the collar or at the robe’s overlapping opening. 

Carolyn Ducey: This was one of the first patchwork garments I saw. It opened a new world of patchwork to me and made me realize quilting was bigger than I imagined. 

Leslie Levy: Each individual fabric is interesting, but when sewn together in this kimono, the overall effect is striking. I love the symmetry. 

Laura Chapman: Not even the “Fashion Police” could find fault with the fabulous fabrics used in this piece. #want 

Marin Hanson: Yes! Would wearing this kimono transport me to a hot spring somewhere in the Japanese mountains? Probably not, but I’d love to try! #alsowant 

Wedding Quilt Cover 
Maker unknown, probably Buyi 
Circa 1930-1940 Libo County, Guizhou, China 
IQM 2014.027.0012 

Marin Hanson, curator of exhibitions: South and Southwest Chinese ethnic minorities such as the Miao, Buyi, Yi, and Maonan make a variety of appliqué and patchwork quilt covers, which are used to wrap around plain quilts or loose batting. The results are exuberant and intricate bedcoverings, often full of culturally rich symbolism. 

Brenda Archambault (Arizona): There’s a whimsical playfulness in the blocks which show a lot of movement and a drawing-in of wanting to study each block more closely. 

Beverley Clinehens (Mount Shasta, California): I love the way the maker used traditional Chinese symbolism in all the intricate details of this exquisite and colorful quilt. I would love to see it “up close and personal” in an exhibition, if only to better understand my own Chinese heritage. 

Anonymous: I love the colors! It reminded me of the elaborate designs found in the Forbidden Palace. Also, being appliquéd makes it so “today.” 

Maker unknown, probably Rabari 
Circa 1975-2000
Probably in Gujarat, India
IQM 2010.022.0001 

Patricia Stoddard, associate fellow: Bright and bold ralli hail from the arid lands of western India and eastern Pakistan and are the creative output of traditionally nomadic tribal groups— including the Rabari. Women often speak of making their ralli while thinking about “what they will look like under a starry sky.” 
Nebraska State Quilt Guild member: I love the texture and the movement of the quilt—and the colors! 

Marin Hanson: Having visited Gujarat, India in 2009, this quilt transports me back to the colors, sounds, and activity I experienced while I was there. I’m particularly fond of the stylized Tree of Life, peacock, and temple motifs in the center of this quilt. 

Nebraska State Quilt Guild member: It reminds me of my sister-in-law and brother’s lives in India, Pakistan, and Nepal. 

International Quilt Museum: View more ralli in the online exhibition, “South Asian Seams.” 

Maker unknown Circa 1830 Probably made in the Allendale region, England IQM 2007.014.0001 

Fiona Diaper, manager, Quilt Museum & Gallery, UK: These visually pleasing Medallion quilts, which were particularly popular from 1800 to 1850, vary immensely in terms of design, construction and materials. Just as with different dialects and landscapes across the UK, quilts can sometimes show regional influences too. This lively version comes from the north of England. 

Christine Clode: My sort of colours, also am trying to make a medallion quilt myself which is taking a long time, so I admire the finished article. 

Marilyn Miles (Gloucestershire, UK): It is an intricate design, well executed and shows patchwork and quilting at its best. Although not a Northerner I have lived some of my life there and am very fond of the area, visiting frequently as my son lives in York! 

Kerry (Australia): I love the form of these medallion quilts, the totally eclectic gathering of fabrics and freeform use of color. 

Jodi Godfrey: I love the movement and colour in both the design and the prints used. I want to look at it more because you don’t see it all in the first viewing. I like that in a quilt. 

Joan Fisher: I love this quilt because it comes from the north of England where I was born. I love the use of the different blocks to create the frames around the medallion. Clearly a lot of thought has gone into how it was put together and how the scraps of fabric could be used to best effect to make a cohesive whole.

Hexagon Mosaic 
Maker unknown 
Circa 1890 England
IQM 2014.050.0001 

Bridget Long, associate fellow: This luxurious silk quilt is typical of “fancy work” that was popular in the third quarter of the nineteenth century. The maker “fussy cut” patterned silks to enhance the elegance of her design. Fancy work was not practical for bedroom use, but was often displayed in more public rooms such as the parlor, a room in Victorian homes set aside for receiving guests. 

Ann Ross: Hexagon hand piecing was the first theme I tried in quilting. I can vouch for the hours and eye strain involved. This is a beautiful quilt and the star design centre is quite unusual. 

Patty Goddard: This is a beautiful and unique way to arrange hexagons. 

Mary Jenkins: Wonderful work and unusual shape and with the printed medallions on their side. Surely it was made to cover a table and isn’t actually a quilt? 

International Quilt Museum: We want to know: What do you think about this circa 1890 British Hexagon Mosaic quilt? 

Darlene Krystal: WOW...!!! 
Suzanne Smith Hardebeck: Stars twinkle

Witch Hazel-Jelena 
Ruth B. McDowell
Winchester, Massachusetts 
IQM 2006.011.0001 

Carolyn Ducey, curator of collections: Ruth B. McDowell—known for her complex piecing methods—has been a prominent studio quiltmaker since the 1970s. She draws much of her inspiration from nature, saying, “In adapting nature to the quilting medium, I try to distill the essence of the subject, leaving out much more than I put in to uncover the subject’s spirit.” 

UNL Student: I like the burst of orange on this quilt and the detail within that is what draws me to the quilt and its design. 

UNL Student:I like florals and I think it is so amazing that someone was able to sew that in. It looks like a painting. 

International Quilt Museum: That’s a good observation. In her artist statement, McDowell writes, “Many of my art quilts are constructed from full-size drawings, each line on the drawing becoming a seam line between two pieces of cloth. The drawing is gradually cut up, with each piece of paper being used as a template for a single piece of fabric. The pieces are then joined by machine to form a pieced top.” 

UNL Student: It’s unlike anything I have ever seen before! It’s detailed, beautiful and I’m intrigued by its name. 

UNL Student: I enjoy the contrast of colors and the idea that I can interpret the image however I like.

Big Blue 
Ardis James 
Chappaqua, New York 
Ardis and Robert James Collection, IQM 2009.039.0065

Carolyn Ducey, curator of collections: In 1980, quilt collector and philanthropist Ardis James made her first quilt. Made in an album format, it shows her learning numerous techniques, from a Cathedral Windows folded pattern to a technically difficult Mariner’s Compass variation. We are so fortunate to have it in our collection. 

Cathy James Paglia: When my mother told me that she and Dad had found a new hobby, studying and collecting quilts, and that she herself had started making a quilt for Dad as a gift, I remember thinking to myself that this was a very sweet idea, but probably not too impressive compared to some of the spectacular quilts they were finding on their travels. Imagine my surprise when I saw it for the first time! I was blown away by the quality of the design and workmanship. It was my first insight into my mother as quilt craftsman (as opposed to the lady who made my Easter dresses) and I gained so much respect for her as an artist and creator. I am glad that Big Blue has a home deserving of her merit. 

Robert James: Ardis realized after starting our quilt collection, that she needed to actually make a quilt! It was, as usual for Ardis, very well made. She did this quite secretly, and gave it to me. I certainly admired it. Years after it was made, it was lost. We hunted everywhere for it which was difficult because she had shown it in a number of places, including Japan. We feared it might not have returned with others that had been shown from the collection. We pored over the collection several times with no luck; after several years, we sort of gave up. Finally, I gave it one more try, alone, and went through every quilt one by one. At the very bottom of the fourth pile, there it was. I hung it up while Ardis was gone. She was rst stunned, then wept.

Works in the Exhibition

Gallery Photos

Gallery Photos
Gallery Photos
This exhibition was made possible through funding from the Nebraska Arts Council and the Nebraska Cultural Endowment. The Nebraska Arts Council, a state agency, has supported this exhibition through its matching grants program funded by the Nebraska Legislature and the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Nebraska Cultural Endowment. Visit for more information.
Event Date
Friday, June 5, 2015 to Saturday, February 6, 2016