Saturday, January 29, 2011

Town and Country Program

Thursday I did a Program on Quilting Collecting to the Aiken Town and Country Club. What a great group of women and what wonderful quilts they brought with them!
The night before the program I started to get a bit nervous...which hardly ever happens with me. I rewrote my outline, I pulled more quilts into the bins (just in case no-one brought a quilt to talk about) and I added more "ancillary" props like feedsacks, old Mountain mist patterns, some old quilt blocks, and some old marking tools. I'm not sure if I was nervous about not being able to fill 90 minutes or that I wouldn't be able to finish in 90 minutes...
English Paperpiece circa 1840, Georgia
In the end it worked out fine. Better than fine. We had about 40 members attend and almost all of them had at least one quilt in hand. A bit of sensory overload but I think I prefer it that way! Unfortunately with that many quilts there was no time for me to take photos. One of the members who did take some promised to email me copies...

Usually I organize my presentation around the history of quilting. My audience has always been quilters or genealogy groups. Since this group was focused on antique collecting I changed the emphasize from history of quilting to evaluating a quilt for condition, workmanship and date made. I started with 4 quilts in poor condition and then worked up to excellent. I tried to have a quilt from varying time periods in each group.

I think it worked well. In 90 minutes folks can learn to spot condition issues and get an idea of what good workmanship looks like. As far as the date part I pointed them to the resources. (though I am fairly sure they all can tell a 1930's from a civil war era now!)

There was a great variety of quilts in the audience....tiny 1930 baby wedding ring quilts (two almost alike by two different quilters - both is excellent condition), a Drunkards Path with sawtooth border in off-white and double purple that made me stop breathing for a minute, two gorgeous indigo's (and since we are only 100 miles from the larges indigo plantation in the US during the 1800's it is always exciting to see indigo!) The quilts ranged from the 1840's to 1950...I may be spoiled. I wonder if I'll see such a great collection again.

It also helped that the meeting was in the Aiken Museum which is in an old antebellum style building. The room was beautiful and the people working at the museum very helpful.

After the talk which ended up going until noon (but no-one left and they asked me to keep talking!) we had lunch at Melia's...nothing like homemade raspberry pie after a morning of quilts....

Monday, January 24, 2011

Lecture Preperations...

String Star, Cape Cod Mass, circa 1920

Thursday I am giving a talk to the Aiken County Town and Country Club. About 50 people have signed up which according to the coordinator is a good turnout.

(Small Lemoyne star block from Abbevill, SC Quilt top circa 1900)

I had to rewrite my regular talk to include some basics on quilting. (Only a few of the attendees will be quilters.) The focus now is how to evaluate condition of a quilt and what resources are there to help you identify the date and type of quilt.

I am bringing about 20 quilts with me to use as examples. Attendees are invited to bring a quilt with them but as I have no idea what may show up I want to have the "bases" covered. (all conditions, at least one from each timeperiod including an applique, a rework, a wholecoth, a medallion, a chintz, and a sampler...that should do it....)

My biggest challenge will be keeping it it all under the 90 minutes scheduled for the presentation...I do have a friend coming with me who is going to act as timekeeper for me!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


This morning I wrote the check and sealed the envelope - I'm committed to taking the appraiser exam in April in Paducah. I had already done the important things - study, get my application excepted, and get a hotel reservation! But sending in the check for the test fee was sort of a line in the sand moment....

Also this month I am doing a presentation to the Aiken Town and Country Club's antique group. Should be fun. I am wavering between doing the talk on the history of quilts or on collecting quilts. I need to call the coordinator and check with her....My Dh surprised me this month with the "promise" of two quilts. I had seen them posted on an auction house website but I had an earlier commitment for that day so wasn't able to go to the auction. I am hesitant about buying from non-quilt dealers sight unseen...however he did a phone bid and was able to get them really reasonably. The photo above is one of the quilts...I love orphan blocks and when they are made into a quilt it just gives you so much to look at!

Now the auction house that we bought them from only occasionally has quilts on the block. Generally I find I get better prices at those types of auctions but that type of auction isn't useful to me in developing valuations for quilts. To do that I have to stick with auctions that publicize that quilts are for sale and/or carry them on a frequent basis.