Posted by: marymarthatours | February 28, 2012

A Quilter Stuck in The Past

My quilt guild, Quiltmakers of Olympia, put on a two day quilt show over Presidents’ Weekend, 2012. The planning started well over a year before. I was honored to be selected as one of the two featured quilters for the show. Usually a show has just one featured quilter, but Iris and I tied in the votes cast. It turned out to be great to have the two of us, as we have very different quilting interests. Iris, who is over 90 years of age, makes very elaborate contemporary style quilts.


Martha and Iris, the Featured Quilters

I enjoy quilt history and focused for the show on how two periods from the past have influenced my quilt making. So my area at the show was set up with sections reflecting the late half of the 1900th century and the 1930’s. I enjoy replicating old patterns, using antique and vintage fabrics, repairing and remaking old quilts and blocks. And I also do use new reproduction fabrics. A couple of my major accomplishments were on display at the show.

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Older quilts on the left and 1930’s inspirations on the right

When I purchased the book, Prairie Children and Their Quilts by Kathleen Tracy, I knew that I wanted to make everything in the book and I did. It is fun to say that I hand quilted eight quilts last year, well, all doll sized. One is made of only antique fabrics.


Kathleen Tracy doll bed quilts (the blue & white one is all Civil War vintage fabric)

Last year I facilitated a block-of-the-month series in my guild using the largest blocks from the Lori Smith pattern “Ode to the 1930’s”. I made all blocks in the pattern for the entire sampler quilt and found some lovely vintage floral fabric for the border. The label on this quilt at the show read, “This quilt makes me smile”.

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The Lori Smith and Barbara Brackman quilts — Linda Rech with Martha

In 2011, Barbara Brackman posted a weekly block pattern on-line, each with a historical account to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War. The quilt turned out to be a real gem. Barbara’s postings will remain on line until June and she is publishing a book of the patterns. Both of these large quilts were machine quilted by Linda Rech of Olympia, who is a fantastic artist with machine quilting.

Mary came to Olympia to help me set up for the show and to be with me there for the two days. We had so much fun meeting folks and talking with them about the quilts and also about Mary’s miniature hobby (she had a tiny English cottage on the table) and of course we plugged the up coming Quilt Tour in England for fall 2013.



Mary and Martha – still playing well together



(by Martha)



  1. What a lovely diisplay of quilts. I enjoy reading your blog.

  2. I was amazed to see an event posted in Rochester that I completely missed. How could any event in Rochester make that much money? Then an idea came to me, “perhaps it is not Rochester, WA,” where I live, but one of the bigger cities with the same name!
    I enjoyed your site, Thanks!

    • Yes, Marlene, it is a bit confusing with my sister Martha living in Olympia, WA, and me living in Rochester, MN, and both of us adding postings to the blog. We should be more careful to identify which community we’re writing about. The fundraiser for the Boys & Girls Club was held in MN, and Martha’s Quilt Show was held in WA. Thank you for your kind words about our postings. Mary

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