My Adventures in Quilting
I was fortunate enough this October to participate in a bus trip with the Kansas City Modern Quilt Guild to the International Quilt Study Center and Museum in Lincoln, Nebraska. That is a lot of words to say an awesome trip and a really fun time with a group of wonderful people (I guess that was almost as many words). If you have any interest in quilting or art and have the opportunity to go, go. It was so inspirational and interesting. It is a beautiful facility and holds over 4000 quilts in their vault.
This is on the wall as you walk in the main entrance. It really lets you know what kind of place you’re about to enjoy. Kind of fires you up.
The KCMQG arranged for us to take a “behind the scenes” tour and we got to see how they store and preserve the quilts. We got to see quilts that are so delicate that they cannot be put on display. They store all of the quilts that are not on display in a temperature and humidity controlled room with aisles and aisles of storage. Just to see it all was almost daunting.
The word of the day was quite obviously, “Wow”.
The quilts are handled ever so gingerly with white gloves and even when the quilts are photographed, there is a limit to the amount of light exposure is permitted. The exhibits are changed often so that they can, again, limit the amount of light exposure.
We took a tour of all of the exhibits. One of the their main exhibits (and my favorite) was regarding quilt kits from the 1920’s and 30’s that could be purchased from the newspaper or a magazine for less than $3.00 (the equivalent to about $35 now). They showed some of the finished quilts from those original kits, some inspired by those kits, and even some of the actual kits. I love learning how people used to live and work and what I find most fascinating is that we still use quilt kits to this day. You would receive die cut pieces with minimal instructions. This pattern (60 degree diamonds) was labeled “beginner”. Seriously. Apparently “beginner” was defined differently 100 years ago.
Another of their main exhibits was the signature quilts. These quilts were made for many reasons, but the ones I found most interesting were the ones that were fundraisers. A person would purchase a block or part of a block and their signature would be stitched or embroidered into the fabric. you could see how much a person paid relatively by the size of the signature or how many other names were shared on the block.
Also on display were sewing machines through the years and a large quantity of doll beds with quilts for them. Tiny, tiny little blocks.
We finished the visit at the gift shop that had so many things from fabrics to notions to books to traditional souvenirs with the IQSC logo on them. This is truly a fascinating facility and I am sincere that if you ever have the opportunity to visit, you should. I hope to be able to go again and see all new exhibits.