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August 22, 2014

Another Beauty

By Edie McGinnis

Edie McGinnis

Edie McGinnis

The Antique Quilt Acquisition Committee at the McGinnis household made a lovely find a few weeks ago. After very little debate among the members, it was decided that it would be a good idea to use some of the available investment funds to purchase a Marie Webster Poppy quilt.

The head of the committee (that would be me) is extremely fond of Marie Webster quilts and has a small collection that seems to grow slowly but surely. Webster quilts are more than a little difficult to find and, when they do come up for sale, they tend to be a little pricey. So sometimes, the other two members of the committee (two cats named Earl and Ally) have to step in and overrule her. I hate it when that happens!

The Poppy quilt was one of Marie Webster’s most influential patterns, according to her granddaughter, Rosalind Webster Perry.poppy quilt

“Its elegant central design started a revival of the medallion style, which had been popular in the early 1900s. This format was widely copied in the appliqué quilts of the 1920s and 30s,” Perry wrote in her book, A Joy Forever.

Webster made her Poppy quilt in 1909 and embroidered her initials and the year on one of the borders. The pattern wasn’t published until three years later, in The Ladies’ Home Journal as part of an article titled “The New Flower Patchwork Quilts.” The four quilts pictured in the magazine featured a central medallion rather than the traditional square blocks to which quilters were accustomed.

When Webster designed the Poppy quilt, she incorporated the life cycle of the flower. Each flower used in the center medallion shows the poppy as it first begins to bud, then open, at full bloom and as a seedpod. onefourth of center

Webster’s quilt was made using linen and cotton. She used only three colors,  deep rose, pink and green. I’ve seen this quilt done in two other colorways, a paler pink with salmon overtones and orange and yellow.pink poppies Kalona

Colored tissue-paper placement guides were included in each pattern, as was a blueprint of the pieces. Color swatches were glued to the back of the direction sheet with Webster’s recommendation to “use washable, colorfast materials.” Each complete pattern sold for 50 cents, a price that was never raised in all the years her company, Practical Patchwork, was in business.

It wasn’t until 1921 that she began to sell kits as well as finished quilts. The quilt I bought was made in 1929 and was likely purchased as a kit.

The quilting design follows Webster’s recommendation of echoing the appliquéd flower design. Lines about 5/8 inch apart are crosshatched and quilted into the center medallion. A partial feather is quilted around the center frame of the quilt, and diagonal lines are quilted 5/8 inch apart in the border.quilting on poppy

The woman who made the quilt embroidered her name and the date into the outer green border of the quilt. She had made the quilt for her granddaughter. The embroidered section says, “For my granddaughter Mary Elizabeth French from Eunice Mae Roberts 1929.”signature poppy

The quilt shows no signs of wear, so I am sure that Mary Elizabeth treasured her quilt. Her grandmother was clearly an accomplished quilter. Her stitches are about 12 to the inch, and it is difficult to see her appliqué stitches at all unless you look  very closely. Another indication of her skilled workmanship is that points are pointed and curves are smooth and graceful, with no lumps or bumps or tiny tucks.border flower motif

I always wonder why a quilt like this would leave the family. I can think of dozens of scenarios as to why and how that could happen, but I will never really know. I like to think that Mary Elizabeth marveled over this quilt. I hope she ran her hands over the quilt and smoothed the creases out and thought about her grandmother with love.

And I’m willing to bet that Eunice Mae would far rather have seen this quilt on Mary’s bed than put away and saved for “good.” Grandmothers are like that, you know.

Edie McGinnis is an author and editor for Kansas City Star Quilts. She writes every Friday.

August 21, 2014

Bobbins’ Bargains celebrates four seasons of quilts

This week, Mrs. Bobbins brings you a book full of seasonal delights.

bobbins bargains logo - 200 wideShe is always one to find a good deal out there in the quilt world. Now she brings her amazing talents to you … with her weekly Bobbins’ Bargains!

Every Thursday, Mrs. Bobbins will select one of our books and offer it to you at a very special price … 75% off the current listed price!

Better yet, your shipping is FREE in the continental U.S.

Better, better yet, “Five Gets You a Freebie!” If you order a Bobbins’ Bargain just five times (from five different sales), you get a free copy of any of our books! Take your pick. We’ll contact you by email once you’ve qualified for a free book and take your order.  Plus your shipping on that one is free as well. Easy as pie!

This week’s Bobbins’ Bargain is A Year of Cozy Comforts: Quilts and Projects for Every Season, by Dawn Heese.CozyComfortsMed

Celebrate the four seasons with the casual charm of quilts and home accents by designer Dawn Heese. The author of Geese in the Rose Garden and Cottage Charm: Cozy Quilts and Cross Stitch Projects is back with a new collection of eight handmade comforts to warm your everyday surroundings throughout the year.

Whether you love pieced or appliquéd quilts, wool appliqué or cross stitch, you will find a project to suit your style. For each season, Dawn also shares one of her family’s favorite quick and easy recipes.

8 1/2 x 11 inches, softcover, full-color, 64 pages.

Click here to see a YouTube video of the book.

The book is on sale for $19.95. Your price using our Bobbins’ Bargains promotion code is just $4.99, plus your shipping on this book is free in the continental U.S.!

(SHIPPING NOTE! Please allow 14 business days for delivery after Wednesday, Aug. 27, the last day of this week’s sale.)

Be sure to use this promotion code before checkout:


Please make sure to click the “Apply Promotion Code Now” button after entering the code. The discount won’t apply unless you do so. Please verify that you’ve received the discount before checking out.

Click here to order.  And remember  …  your shipping of this book is free in the continental U.S.!

August 21, 2014

Mystery Apron

By Donna di Natale

Donna di Natale

Donna di Natale

OK, so you thought I was through talking about aprons, but here’s one last one. This apron got missed when we were photographing the others, but because it is worth at least a small laugh, I decided to go ahead and show this one, too.

I’m guessing this apron is from the ’50s, but that is purely a guess. It could be later than that. I also don’t know if this one was store-bought or homemade using a border fabric. I’m leaning toward store-bought. What do you think?

MH apron(1)

The whimsical design is the nursery rhyme Old Mother Hubbard. Just what you want to have on your apron, right? The rhyme is presented in words and pictograms. Can you read it?

MH detail(1)

Old Mother lady wearing silly shoes and funny clothes went to the fancy looking cupboard to get her poor expensively trimmed French poodle a bone with a design painted on it. Now I’m the one being silly, but you get the picture.

MH pocket(1)

While I think this apron was store-bought, I don’t think it was purchased already sewn. I have a pillowcase from about this same time period that was purchased as a flat piece of fabric with instructions for making the case. The fabric was 36 inches wide, and you simply purchased twice the width of your pillow. Then all you had to do was sew a seam on two sides, turn the hem under, stitch it down, and you had a lovely faux-appliqué pillowcase.

Pillow casepillow detailI think the apron may have been made the same way. You bought a yard or panel of the border print fabric, cut out the pocket and ties, and sewed it together. Another clue to this is that the ties are the same length as the apron, and only about half as long as they should be. This might all be conjecture, but you can still buy apron panels in holiday themes that are constructed in this same manner.

Tell me what you think. Do you recall buying yardage or panels for aprons like this? Let me know, and I promise this will be the last of my apron blogs. At least until I find something really special.

Donna di Natale is an author and editor for Kansas City Star Quilts. She writes every Wednesday.

August 18, 2014

Our Warehouse-on-Wheels Sale Comes to Iowa!

WarehouseOnWheels-page-0If you’re in Iowa this week and next, be sure to look for our special sale at four quilt shops throughout the state.

Kansas City Star Quilts is working with the shops to bring you great prices on 30 beautiful books during our Warehouse-On-Wheels sale Aug. 18 to 31.  During this special sale, books will be as much as 75 percent off, with prices as low as $5.50.

In the next few days, we will run interviews with the shop owners on this blog site to give you a behind-the-scenes look at these great shops.

The shops are:

Brooklyn Fabric Co., 116 Jackson St., Brooklyn, Iowa 641-522-4766

The Quilt Block, 325 Fifth St., West Des Moines, Iowa 515-255-1010

Expressions in Threads, 208 S. Cody Road, Le Claire, Iowa 563-289-1447

Quilted Strawberry, 107 Commercial St., Strawberry Point, Iowa 563-920-1449

For more information and a list of all the sale books, click here. And if you’d like to see our Warehouse-On-Wheels sale come to your state, let us know on our Facebook page!

If you have questions, please call the shops for more information or send email to weaver@kcstar.com.

August 18, 2014

Mrs. Bobbins


For more quilty laughter from Mrs. Bobbins, get The Big Book of Bobbins by clicking here! Just $16.95!