Thursday, May 5, 2016

Throwback Thursday Quilt Edition: Anniversary Quilts

My in-laws were married 73 years ago this week. So for my Throwback Thursday post, I'm sharing a quilt I made for them for their 45th anniversary in May 1988. And as a bonus, I'm sharing the quilt I made for my parents for their 35th anniversary in September 1986. These quilts share some similarities--mostly because of my inspiration, but also the fussy cutting of some of the fabrics and the sizes. Both quilts are based on photos I found in Quilter's Newsletter Magazine (QNM). If you follow me, you'll know that I recently cleaned out my sewing closet. In that closet were over 300 issues of QNM extending back to the late 1970's. I've tried to get rid of them in the past, but nostalgia always sidelined my efforts. Finally, I decided to save only issues that had patterns, photos or articles about quilters that directly influenced my quilting. I whittled my collection down to 27 issues, mostly from my early quilting years. Going through those magazines recently gave me the idea for this post. In my early quilting days, I drafted my own patterns, usually by copying quilts I saw in photos. 

The quilt for my in-laws is based on a photo of Tribal Images by Suzanne Knapp that I found in the February 1987 issue (number 189) of QNM. 

I was drawn to its southwest vibe because my in-laws spent a lot of time in the southwest and enjoyed arts and crafts from that region. I studied the photo to figure out how to break down the pattern, then drew it on graph paper and made templates out of plastic. I used some striped fabrics and fussy cut them using the templates. 

While getting ready for this post, I looked at the photo in one of my saved magazines. According to notes about the quilt, it was an adaptation of a pattern called Indian Chief that had been in QNM issue 105. After a little research online, I located a picture of that old issue and suddenly realized that I have a copy of it. I must have ordered it from the archives. It's the oldest copy of QNM I have (September 1978), but it isn't part of my first subscription. And according to that issue, the Indian Chief pattern was a reworking of a pattern by the same name from 1942, published by the Lockport Batting Company. 

Apparently, even though I ordered the issue with the pattern, I did not use it, probably because the size and details were different from what I wanted to make. And I know from experience that if there is a hard way to do something, that's usually the way I go. Here's my version of the quilt:


The quilt for my parents is based on Pastiche by Jane Blair that I found in the June 1982 issue (number 143) of QNM. 

I liked the central medallion with a sort of tulip design (representative of our Dutch heritage), the colors (that matched my parents' living room) and especially the leaves in the corners.  As with the first quilt, I drafted the design on graph paper and made templates for some parts to fussy cut striped fabrics. 

Bottom border is cut off on this old photo

I remember that both quilts were challenging to draft--figuring proportions was hard to do from a photo, but I had ways of folding the photo (there are lots of creases in the magazine pages), measuring with a ruler and scaling up the measurements--and really, it was the only way I knew how to make quilts I liked. I had a hard time coming up with creative ideas on my own. I still have trouble with that. I didn't know anything about copyrights, and I guess I'm still confused about when they apply. But I knew that these quilts were for family and figured it was okay to copy someone else's hard work in designing. (I'm less sure of that now, especially this week with all the discussion in the online quilting community about giving designers their due for all of their hard work. I do have to add, though, that based on my limited research here, patterns may have their roots in older patterns so that it's sometimes difficult to determine just who is the originator of a design.)

So today, I share these quilts with much thanks to Suzanne and Jane. (And QNM!) My father-in-law and my mother are no longer living, but my mother-in-law and father both have the quilts hanging in their homes. And because they carefully followed my instructions long ago to hang them out of direct sunlight, both quilts look the same as when I made them. (Actually, they look better--the wonkiness of the edges has relaxed over the years.) I'm glad they still enjoy them. 

Both quilts measure about 20 by 30 inches. I pieced them on my Singer Featherweight and hand quilted them. The battings are lightweight polyester and the quilting thread is cotton. 

I'm linking up today with Jenn at A Quarter Inch from the Edge for Throwback Thursday. Go check out the other quilts there and enjoy a blast from the past. 


  1. Wow!! Those are both so amazing! And to be married that long - shew - that deserves a quilt !!! ;-) You did a fantastic job on those quilts!

  2. WOW! Both quilts are just gorgeous and have stood the test of time. The first design is so intriguing to me. Must be the southwest vibe. Beautiful work on both! I cannot believe how you went about drafting your patterns. That took some determination, kudos big time for that!

  3. Two beautiful quilts and I loved reading about how you designed them. xx

  4. Knock my socks off gorgeous Janine! I actually sucked in my breath when I saw that second one with the perfect replica of that centre part! Your work is just so inspiring, and it is so wonderful that you are sharing these older quilts with the online community. The handquilting is ... intricate, beautiful, breathtaking. As for folding and scaling up, ha I've done that! As for copyright and original design, the DJ made a good point the other day about music, classical, in this case. The early work of a student of one of the masters, maybe Vivaldi or Scarlatti? sounds almost exactly like that composer. Point was, we imitate, change slightly, and that's how we learn and grow. I love that half circle border on the original of the one you did for your parents--so intriguing to have the centre one white. QNM has always IMHO, been the pinnacle of quiltmakers.

  5. Impressive figuring out skills - these are beautiful pieces and I can tell they were made with love, which makes them even more special! Thanks for sharing your quilts and lovely story, really enjoyed reading it.

  6. So wonderful to visit your quilts from years ago, and that they are still in great form too! They are both beautiful with all your hand-quilting too.
    I have also been sorting magazines lately, and have a hard time parting with QNM. They were always the best magazine and I still find them inspiring. So cool too, to be able to reference them to quilts of your past!

  7. Janine! These are beautiful. Truly they are. I admire that you were able to work out the pattern for such complex quilts - and the hand quilting - oh my gosh, you do such gorgeous work. It is intricate and precise. You have such wonderful talent.

  8. I'm always in awe of when quilters can draft their own patterns from photos, especially such complicated ones! Thanks for linking up with Throwback Thursday @ A Quarter Inch from the Edge!

    P.S. And kudos to you for whittling down that pile of magazines. Quite a feat!