International Quilt Study Center and Museum

17 04 2014

I am still processing and recapping my memorable trip to Nebraska at the end of March. Today I want to tell you of another highlight.

On Friday, 21 March, Deb drove me to Lincoln, Nebraska for a tour of the International Quilt Study Center & Museum. Most of the quilts in the center’s collection are stored away in archival safe drawers and box-like containers. You can read more about the collection and access pictures of the quilts here. Several times a year, the curators select quilts from the extensive collection for special exhibits.


The current exhibition, on display again after a ten year hiatus, is “Log Cabin” quilts. Posters explained the various possible settings for “Log Cabin” blocks and listed the approximate dates the quilts were made. Most of the quilts were made in the late 1800s or early 1900s.

Streak of Lightening – Can you see that not all the “logs” in the light sides of the blocks are light? There are green strips that make a square around the red center. This, I think, is an eye-catching variation. I was intrigued by even more scraps used to make the braided border.


Lights and Darks – I thought “Piano Key” borders were a modern invention. I guess not! The wonky strips at the top of the quilt give me permission to be “a little off.” Perfection is over-rated.


Hanging Diamond – Faded but still glorious!


X Marks the Spot –  The magenta outer border adds sparkle to this quilt.


Courthouse Steps – This looks like wooden spools stacked one atop the other. Notice that a flower motif has been fussy-cut for the center square of each block.


In addition to the featured exhibit, we marveled at the toy sewing machine display.


And we were intrigued by the intricate quilting designs on several Amish, Welsh and English antique quilts.


Line drawings on accompanying posters clarified the quilting designs. These are the designs quilted on the Diamond quilt above.


New acquisitions of the museum were prominently featured. Several were from Asia. “Time for Supper” was made by Japanese quiltmaker, Eiko Okano in 2007. She studied under Chuck Nohara and then opened her own patchwork school, published several books and shows her quilts internationally. Okano has donated eight of her quilts to IQSCM.


The following “tushtuk” (a curtain for a nomad’s dwelling like a yurt) was made in either Uzbekistan or Kyrgystan.


The black squares in the Square in a Square blocks are about 1/2″ square. And the Flying Geese are about 1″ x 2.” Can you imagine making this without a rotary cutter? Can you imagine hand piecing this rather than paper piecing?


As we left the Center, we were treated to about twenty modern “Log Cabin” quilts hanging in the foyer made by local guild members.


We really enjoyed our tour of the International Quilt Study Center & Museum! I hope you will peruse their website to see what a national treasure the center is.







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