Friday, July 10, 2009


Last fall my friend, Joyce, called me and asked if I would like a stack of Better Homes and Gardens she had in her closet. She was doing some major house cleaning and discovered that she had every issue from 1972-1976. I said yes. Who wouldn't? Those were the years I was in high school! Yes, I'm that old.
It has taken me a while to go through these magazines, mostly because they bring back a ton of memories. Remember the Ford Pinto? It's advertised in one of the issues along with the Chevy Chevette. How about the Ivory Liquid "Who's the mother and who's the daughter? Can you tell by their hands?" advertisement?
The February 1976 issue proved to be a gem, full of beautiful photographs of quilts and chronicling the work of seven amazing quilters. I've photographed some of the pages for you to see.

The woman in the photo below is Mary Kyle of New Mexico. Her pinwheel quilt consists of 500 blocks and more than 7,000 pieces. Her work is beautiful. I hope that her family treasures that quilt and the time that went into making it.

Each of the quilts shown could have been made today, perhaps with a little color change. The patterns are still being used by present day quilters- the classic Log Cabin, Star of Bethlehem, simple but lovely nine patches.

The Butterfly and Flowers and one patch above and the Dresden Plate and Windmill variation quilts below made by Rosie Fisher, catalog fabrics from the sixties and seventies. I love the detail in the Dresden Plate blocks. That pop of red makes it such a happy quilt.

How is this for incredible?

Yes, I had to give you a close-up. Made by Quirl Thompson Havenhill, this quilt is just stunning.
I have a bag of hexagons waiting to be assembled and I think this is how they are going to be put together. I rather like the more graphic appearance of Diamond Field as opposed to the more traditional Grandmother's Flower Garden.
This block below, called Fanfare, was an original design by Quirl.

Erma Wink made the quilts below, a scrappy Log Cabin and her blue and white Storm of the Sea quilt. As she stated, " The land out here is brown enough! I add the color."

I am totally in love with this scrappy Sunflower quilt, made by Mabel Metcalf. At 82, she had made 34 quilts in the previous year. Thirty-four!
She quilted the quilt on the cover of the magazine as well.

You just cannot imagine how thrilled I was when I opened the pages of this issue and found these beautiful treasures from the past. The women who made them may no longer be on this earth, but they are entwined with the threads in their quilts, a lasting legacy of their talent and devotion to their craft. These women live on in the tiny stitches and colorful patches.
I'm really glad that Joyce held onto these magazines for thirty-plus years. :)


BlueRidge Boomer said...

Ohhhhh...those were the days...Christy was a baby....I had a Ford Pinto (olive green) and all my quilting was done by hand...oh yeah!! rotary cutters!!!!


DeAnna S. said...

So very inspiring. Thank you so much for sharing!

Lily Boot said...

wow! they are beautiful quilts and very inspiring - thanks for sharing them. I have never seen some of these designs before and am reaching for the graph paper. :-)

Anonymous said...

Hi Karen,
I'm reading your blog on the NM/TX quilters so much later than you posted it. It just so happened that I was reading one of my favorite quilting books this morning, The Quilters, about these very women and their inspiring life stories. It was published in the '70s - hope you will get a chance to read it.