Compulsive Quilt Collector - Who Me?
It is probably true, I am a collector and I have possibly gotten compulsive at times. Possibly I pulled over at a garage sale one morning taking my kids to school and made a quick purchase ... possibly I almost knocked a friend over on the sidewalk to get to the quilt first ... possibly.
How does one become a collector? For me, it started out with impatience.
Why antique quilts? And why must I collect them? And just how many do I have (I’ll never tell – but I’ll show you lots of them!)
Like many of you, I was drawn to quilts as part of the “crafting boom” of the 1980s/90s.
I had been exposed to quilts and sewing all my life (that’s a blog for another day…) and had been making curtains, clothes for my small children and holiday crafts. I happened into a new fabric store in my hometown to check out fabric for curtains. Mercy! The things they had on the walls – quilts everywhere! Hey - my grandmothers made quilts!
Oh – and the cute crafts for Christmas! I signed up for a class to make this Father Christmas and it turned out OK.
I commented to one of the ladies who worked at the shop that I liked the quilt on the wall.
“You know that we have a class for that”
“Really? What’s it like”
“Well, first of all, do you sew?”
“Can you sew a quarter inch seam?”
“I’m sure I can” – at this point, I had been sewing pleats and tucks and figured “how hard can it be?....HA” No one explained that those seams will have to line up with other seams and play nice so everything fits together.
So, I signed up for the Beginner Quilt class which met once a month for an hour where our ever patient teacher explained in great detail what to do. Then, off to my trusty sewing machine to sew up the block, baste and hand quilt it (Quilt As You Go method) so that I could await the next month’s instruction. Here is my poor first quilt. I refused any help in picking fabrics, after all, I knew what colors "went together"! Bahahahaha. Can you tell I had never had an art class and had no idea what contrast was!
After about 4 months of this I was growing very impatient! I wanted a finished quilt and I wanted it now!!
What to do when you are frustrated – why go shopping of course! As I poked around a local antique store – I saw a quilt folded on the back of a rocking chair – a FINISHED quilt! And it was $35!! Now, in 1991, that was a fairly expensive purchase for me but I really wanted to have a quilt to look at while I continued to hone my own quilt making skills.
So here is that quilt:
Sure, it isn’t the grandest antique quilt and is probably not even officially an antique yet (antique is generally defined as 100 years old or more.) BUT! Something about it connected with something in me – apparently an insatiable something in me… I brought it home and petted it. It wasn’t until years later that I was even curious about the pattern name so I looked it up in my indispensable Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns by Barbara Brackman (you need it if you don’t have it) https://electricquilt.com/online-shop/encyclopedia-of-pieced-quilt-patterns/ and of course it has about a dozen names!
Star of the East (it doesn't sound quite right to me for this quilt)
Quilt of the Century (a bit presumptuous, don't you think?)
Combination Feathered Star (really? I don't see any feathers)
The Blazing Star of Minnesota (except I am in Texas…)
Patriotic Star (wrong colors)
Little Star (doesn't seem that little to me...)
Rising Star (that sounds ok to me)
Star of the Bluegrass Quilt (um, I don’t know if we have bluegrass in Texas)
Bright Morning Star (I really like this one but the date of this title is 1950, a little late for this quilt)
Eastern Star (yeah but again it doesn't sound quite right)
Unknown Star (well, that’s taking the easy way out)
Lots of names for this one quilt! If I am looking for a name for the pattern in one of my quilts, I research and try to use a name that would have been in use when the quilt was made.
The fabrics look like they are from the 1930s-40s so several of the names would work.
I just call it “Blazing Star”.
This one humble quilt is the one that started my journey – and what a journey it is!
A friend told me that we collect for the “thrill” of the find and the “lure” of the next find.