Saturday, February 04, 2006

9 Patch Difference

Just finished Threading the Generations by Mary Elizabeth Johnson (Huff) and Carol Vickers. I was struck by two, nine patch quilts photographed. They were so elaborate versus the Amish 9 patch which is described in Plain and Simple by Sue Bender. Both quilt types are made from scraps of shirts and dresses yet the Amish have a background laid with only nine patches and the MS quilters have nine patches per block. One such MS 9 patch creates an H design by placing a lighter color in the second and eight slot.

Johnson and Vickers traveled the state of Mississippi in 1995 through 1997 documenting quilts in the different regions. Their goal was to locate rare quilts made before 1946 and record their designs, fabrics, dyes and stitches per inch. I personally remember one of their last stops on the project was Batesville, MS.

In 1996 the Mississippi Quilts Association sponsored a quilt-share in Port Gibson and Libby Shaifer Hollingsworth brought five (the limit) to be documented. It was a small turn out so Mrs. Hollingsworth went home and got five more. By the end of the day she brought in 29 quilts, spanning four generations, and a book idea was born.

Both Johnson and Vickers with their respective husbands came to the Como Library in 2001. Through a grant from the MS Humanities Council we sponsored a book signing and MS quilt program. I was totally embarrassed with the meager turn out but the ladies were gracious and presented a fascinating program.

From the program:

  • Rare to find quilts in the Delta region because of flooding. Most were used to sop up mud and water when the Mississippi overflowed.

  • Quilt batting could be an indication of quilt origin. I have some wool stuffed quilts indicative of Middle Tennessee where my great-grandmother Maggie carded her own wool. Mississippi quilts were usually stuffed with cotton and a wool quilt may be older, having come from another region.

A surprise to us all, Ovid Vickers, Carol's husband is a syndicated columnist and wrote about the B&B. Kay was pleased and my hope is she generated some business from the free but well deserved praise.

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