Those of you who are friends with me on Facebook (Lori East Quilts–you are a friend, right?), have been teased long enough. I showed the photo above on Thursday and asked if people wanted to see more. Yes, yes they did. Can you believe that the quilt top below is what’s on the other side of that cowboy print?
I found this quilt late last fall in an antique mall and thought it had great potential. It wanted to be quilted! It was reasonably priced and very well-made, so buying it was not a tough decision. I just felt like it could be fabulous.
This particular top was sold as a kit quilt by Paragon. Of the 20th-century kit quilt companies, Paragon shares a past with companies like Progress, Rainbow, and Herrschners. There were many, many companies who sold kit quilts throughout the twentieth century (and there you thought they were a new thing, didn’t you?).
I am still doing some research to find about when this kit was sold and what it was called, but right now, I think it was sold in the 1950s. There isn’t a lot of information available about Paragon kits, but I do know that they sold stamped cross-stitch and appliqué quilt kits through outlets like J.C. Penney, Macy’s, and the Lee Wards catalog from at least the late 1930s into the early 1980s.
I spoke with Rose Marie Werner (quiltkitid.com) and Lynn Miller (Quilts-Vintage and Antique ), both of whom are experts on kit quilts, but neither was familiar with this particular pattern. The sheer number of kit quilts sold during the 20th century puts me in awe of anyone with more than a passing knowledge of them. Both Rosie and Lynn are very well-versed.
There are tons of similar quilt tops in flea markets and antique malls, usually just begging to be finished. I hemmed and hawed about how to finish this piece, and finally I asked my friend Kelly Cline to quilt it, and she agreed. I’ve bragged on Kelly before, and I fear she is going to get too busy to quilt my work if I keep it up, but she is really, truly, amazing.
As I was getting ready to pack the top up to send to Kelly, I found that I had just enough of this wonderful cowboy print for the backing. I love cowboy prints and have a ton of them. Once upon a time, I thought I would decorate my son’s room with them. Sadly, he didn’t share my “thing” for cowboys, so that didn’t happen. Not to worry, I’m sure they’ll still get used!
When I sent the top, I just asked Kelly to work her magic on it (because that’s what it really wanted). As I’ve said before, I am comfortable that Kelly will “read” the quilt and give it what it needs. She did not disappoint me. Wow, did she ever work some magic!
Finally, on Thursday this past week, I met Kelly and our friend, Denniele Bohannon, of Louanna Mary Designs, for lunch and a quilt transfer. Kelly and I both drove about two hours to “meet in the middle,” which happens to be where Denniele lives. And, as if food, quilts, and time with creative friends wasn’t enough, we even managed to fit in some time digging through “dusty old junk” at a local antique mall. What a way for creative girls to recharge!
Kelly left the quilt in the car while we ate. (Now who’s the tease? This after she had sent me teaser photos earlier in the week!)
At long last, we headed to the parking lot and, as if we were making some sort of illicit deal, Denniele and Kelly made me cover my eyes while they got the quilt out of the car and held it up for me to see.
I was beyond delighted with the quilt. Gobsmacked, really. Flat out amazed.
What do you think? Here are some more photos:
I am hoping to get the binding and a sleeve on it this weekend. I will be appraising at a local (ish) show in two weeks and would love to see it hang there. Even though I stopped in the quilt shop today, I found that I had just what I wanted to bind it with at home. I have several colors in Pepper Cory’s Peppered Cottons (I just might have an addiction to them), and the colorway Blue Jay was dead-on.
In my weird way, combining a vintage top with fabulous longarm quilting, cowboy fabric, and a Peppered Cotton, all things I adore, makes this quilt pretty close to perfect. Thanks, Kelly! Thanks, Denniele! Let’s do it again soon! And off I go to come up with another perfect combination.