Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Report on the 30th July 2011 talk by Trish Bloomfield about the joys and pitfalls of collecting old quilts.

Trish Bloomfield owns over 100 old quilts and quilt tops, most of which she has bought over the internet. She came along with a sample of them to show us and illustrate her talk on how to become a more discerning buyer of old quilts. She started by showing us some quilts that were made in China and represented as being antiques that she owns and uses as everyday quilts on her bed. She said she has seen brand new US$50-60 quilts on e-bay being bid up to US$500–600 so it was very good to hear this warning.

Trish gave us a number of hints for trying to make sure you pay the correct price for a quilt. She believes that firstly you must research quilts by reading as many quilt history books as possible and checking various websites on the internet before you commit to buying an old quilt. She recommended as the major site to look at for recent commercially made reproduction quilts that have been sold on e-bay as old ones. The three photos above are examples of such quilts she has bought or been given. Also, by googling the block name used in a quilt you are interested in buying, you can see if there is a suspiciously large number of them for sale.

We learnt how she cares for her quilts and quilt tops and she explained how she keeps a numbered catalogue of all the quilts she buys. She transfers this information onto old doilies which she then sews on the back of the quilts. Examples are below –

Trish showed us some of her first purchases and some wonderful examples of how her taste in quilts has changed over time. Some great purchases included a whole cloth Mennonite wedding quilt that was advertised as being cotton, but turned out to be made of silk, a rare blue Marie Webster kit quilt, a Ruby McKim state flower quilt, a 1960s cross stitch kit quilt and a bright poly cotton 1960s Seven Sisters quilt. She finished her talk by showing us her latest purchases of a French bouti petticoat bought from a Swiss antique dealer’s website and two North England whole cloth quilts.

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