Sunday Sewcial, Round 2 — what’s your favorite quilt style?


Welcome back to the Sunday Sewcial! I hope you’ll come in and
sit, pour yourself a cup of coffee or tea, and chat with us. The more the merrier, so feel free to invite your friends to stop by!

Last week we introduced ourselves, and what fun that was! We learned that when Cindy talks about her “feather-faced” children, she means her birds. (How many of you had to do a double-take on that one?) And that Susanna (like others of you) is a crime-show junkie. I love getting to know all of you better!

This week, I’d like to take the opportunity to learn what kinds of quilts you all prefer. Anything is fair game here, so if you like more than one style, that’s fine, or if you’re a dyed-in-the-wool fan of one particular thing, that’s okay too. There is always room for everyone at the table. Always.

If this is your first Sunday Sewcial, take just a second to introduce yourself today. We would all love to know who we’re talking with. Seeing people speak up in the comments tickles me silly, so indulge me, will ya?

I really love all quilts, which is probably a good thing considering my work, eh? That said, I don’t necessarily like all of them. But that’s kind of a story for another day. Crazy quilts are probably among my least favorites, though, partly because I see a million of them, partly because most of them are in terrible condition, and partly because, even though there is great individuality in the placement of items and the different embroidery stitches, the fact that they were “the done thing” kind of makes me squirm.


One of very few crazy quilt pieces in my collection (dated 1905)


I love historic quilts, of course, those finely-crafted, heavily-quilted early pieces from the first half of the nineteenth century. Many of them fill me with wonder and questions about what all they have seen. I am also fond of Midwestern quilts, many from the 1930s and 40s, the kind that I grew up with. I love them for their sense of comfort and stability.  Modern quilts appeal to me for their sculptural, graphic qualities. As you’ll see below, I like big, bold, statement-making pieces. But I love the soft and squishy ones too. Really, there are so few I don’t love. It’s even better when stories come with the quilts, but that doesn’t happen so much with the old ones. Even new quilts that I appraise, though, can tell some amazing tales.


Big and bold, this pickle dish quilt actually bothered me so much after I didn’t buy it, that I had to drive back the next day to get it. Can you see why? (My collection, circa 1920)


You have to wonder what was going on in the mind of the person who put this very orange thing together, don’t you? (My collection, circa 1940)


I guess my choice of color in the quilts I make comes as no surprise…

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What I love most of all, though, are quilts that show evidence of some spunk in the maker, proof of a life. When I am debating whether or not to buy a quilt, I first think about whether or not it made me laugh when I first saw it. That’s almost a guarantee that I will buy it. The blocks I showed you yesterday are a case in point.

There is often such a sense of joy, or of sureness of spirit, in quilts that I love. I can’t necessarily define it for you, but I know it when I see it. I don’t own the one below, but isn’t it amazing? Such color! All those motifs, painstakingly hand-appliqued, came right out of her head. I don’t mean they weren’t real things and people, but you can bet she didn’t have any handy-dandy applique pattern to follow. Part of the appeal, for me, anyway, is the disparity of scale. The brown horse, for example, is bigger than the green barn below (as are the birds sitting atop that barn). The leaves in the right-side border are bigger than anything. She was definitely grooving to her own beat. And how wonderful is that? You can read more about the quilt here.


American Made
Applique bedcover by Sarah Ann Garges, 1853, Doylestown, Pennsylvania. Collection of the American Folk Art Museum.


But this is meant to be about you all. While I know some of you, and am familiar with your quilts, I’d really like for you to tell the rest of the group about them. What are your favorite quilts? Why do you love them? Do you make the same kinds of quilts that you would collect? Do you make them for use or for show? Tell us about them!

  • Claudette

    First of all, how did I miss the first Sunday? I NEVER scroll past Lori’s posts. We finally met in person in Houston last fall and it’s like we had been friends forever. So, a little about me. I’ve been quilting since 1974 when my grandmother gave me a top that another relative made using mostly feed/flour sacks, probably. “Aunt Clara” was a true farmer’s wife and used what was available. Anyway, I had no clue what I was doing, but I layered it with some fabric on the back and some batting and started sewing the layers together. OMG!!! Those stitches! Anyway, I love traditional quilts, pieces and appliqué. My fabric tastes run from Civil War repros, to Kaffe’s, to batiks. Should I just say,”I love fabric?” Can’t wait to hear about all of Lori’s friends.

    • Claudette, I love the story about how you started! I would think that you had never not known exactly what you were doing. 🙂

      • Claudette

        Ha ha! Not a clue! And I don’t know why I didn’t go ask Aunt Clara for help. She was only about a half hour away. I’ll take a pic tomorrow and tag you. I know you will appreciate the fabrics. Oh, and my binding? Not a clue! Just folded the backing up over the top. 😳

  • cindy parry

    I like brights; they make me happy. I like a quilt with a story behind them and am pretty eclectic in my quilt tastes. I do not collect any quilts. Heck, I hardly have room for the ones I make! I mean, where do you store them all?! Unlike you Lori (but understandably), I do like a great crazy quilt. I think the Aussies have it down; I swear those gals (and guys) come out of the womb quilting. I’m so jealous. I find it interesting to see the evolution of quilts through history; crazy quilts, traditional blocks, picture-type patterns, landscape, art, modern…Of course, for me, if it has a bird on it, all the better 🙂 I have proudly gotten into QOV quilts this year and I find it surprisingly emotionally gratifying. They are utilitarian but I understand many vets nevertheless hang them rather than use them. I do a few fun pattern quilts for variety. For the last few years, as you know Lori, I continue to work on my Japanese tsunami quilts for exhibit and for guild presentations. I have #13 on the design wall. Monday is my all day sewing day 10 a.m. to 2 a.m.ish. I don’t cook, I don’t usually answer the phone, and (shhh) I might not even get out of my PJ’s 🙂 A great day ahead!

    • Quilts of Valor is HUGE. I love that you are doing that. I spent 13 years as the wife of a soldier and still have lots of vet friends, so I appreciate each and every effort made on their behalf. Also, one of my tribe is now the president of the board of QOV. How fun is that?

      • cindy parry

        My first two were presented in September in Wisconsin at the VA Home. The gal who did introductions and history of the two WWII former POW’s of the Germans, did too good a job. I mean OMG. She turned me, my attending family and audience into a sopping wet mess. It was fabulous 🙂

        • That’s awesome. Yes, those presentations are hard. I am such a softie about things like that anyway…*sniff*

  • Rhonda Cox Dort

    Didn’t read your post until I arrived back home in Houston about an hour ago but laughed to myself because I had lots of “drive time” to mull over where I’m going with quilting. I can tell you I have trouble with faces on quilts, both human and animals. Why? Well…I have no idea. What I do enjoy about certain quilts is that the creator exercised some artistic license and made the finished project their own. I enjoy the result of Quilter’s taking chances. I am enamored with the historical quilts, love the concept and application of the mid century utility quilts and am finding fascination with the Modern Quilt movement as it tries to get steady legs and move out of its infancy.

    • Thanks for your thoughts, Rhonda! You “have trouble” with faces…meaning they’re hard to do, or that you don’t like them? I think making them is tough. I just skip them altogether because any attempt I make would fail.

      I absolutely agree about quilters taking chances. Not every single one will succeed, but if he or she learns something and keeps moving forward, I think it’s great. I, too, am loving the freshness of the Modern quilts and am enjoying watching it develop. It’s already changed a lot since the beginning, don’t you think?

      • Rhonda Cox Dort

        Oh the Faces-I find them to sometimes border on the creepy… Here’s the thing-I have no idea why! Maybe some time on the therapist couch is needed! About the modern movement, I enjoyed my time at festival being opposite Mary Kerr’s quilts! They really caused me to ponder the mixing of the vintage blocks with the “new” way of quilting. I’m hooked!

        • Aha. Well, yes, lots of times they ARE creepy. Some are really cool, though, too. I just can’t draw faces, so I make “no faces” my statement. 😉

          Yes, mixing vintage and new is very cool. I have worked like that for years and enjoy it so much. Mary, of course, took it to a whole new level with her exhibit. Her quilts are fabulous!!