Today, I took a road trip to Tacoma, Washington, to speak to the Puyallup-based Comforter Quilt Guild. It was my fourth lecture in the last two weeks – and the third time I’ve given my “Masterpiece Theater” lecture in this period – but each lecture was its own thing, and it kept me energized. Today, I brought eight quilts, mostly from the 19th century, for the hour-long lecture. Here’s what I brought.
I began with three album or sampler quilts, all vastly different. There was the Mary Couchman Small Album with Lyre from West Virginia, c. 1850; the Album with Rooster by Hannah J. Swin of Bergen County, New Jersey, 1868; and the Sampler with Birds and Wreaths, which I just received during the past week.
The next group included three pieced quilts, all variations on the pattern most widely known as New York Beauty made in the mid-to-late 19th century, before the New York Beauty name was coined.
I wrapped up with a modern looking wool utility quilt and Lucy Mingo’s Bible Story quilt from Gee’s Bend. Both quilts represented my evolving idea of what a masterpiece quilt could be. During the talk, I also shared some books, including Shelly Zegart’s “American Quilt Collections: Antique Quilt Masterpieces”; Barbara Brackman’s Encyclopedias of pieced and applique quilt patterns; Eileen Trestain’s “Dating Fabrics” and a few others. It was another fun day, a great group, and I hope to have the opportunity to visit them again in the future! Last lecture of 2011 will be on December 12th at the Northwest Quilters meeting. That’ll make 14 lectures for the year. It’s been a great year!