VIRGINIA GUNN’S FAVORITE QUILTS – Around The Frame

2017 Hall of Fame inductee Virginia Gunn and Robin Whitely stand before the Ohio Quaker Quilt ca1840-1870.
Celebration 2017 at the Quilters Hall of Fame in Marion, Indiana exceeded my expectations. In one day I met up with my friend Robin, who summers at the family farm in Fairmount, Indiana, met Quilter’s Hall of Fame inductee Virginia Gunn, attended lectures on red/green quilts and quilt fads and walked through an exhibit of WWI/WWII quilts with Sue Reich author of two quilt books on the war quilts.

Virginia Gunn exhibited her favorite quilts created in different eras and styles. One quilt was a pieced Ohio Quaker Quilt ca 1840-1870 by an unknown maker from Edgerton Family who belonged to Winona Meeting House, Columbiana County, Ohio. Another quilt was a beautiful appliquéd Marie Webster designed flower basket quilt that she picked up last year at the Shipshewana Quilt Show at a price she couldn’t resist. Another of Virginia’s quilts was from a 1930s McCall’s pattern an appliqué butterfly with a body made of eight pieces two each of the same size and color joined at the bottom that look like Dresden plate petals in descending size order to create the body with embroidered body and antennae. If you can’t grasp it, email me and I’ll send you a photo. A very busy 1950s quilt included many novelty prints, and the last quilt you could tell was a post 1963 with its vibrant “flower power” colors.

One thing I learned that once Virginia stated it made perfect sense: The 1920s quilts are all chambray, gingham, stripes and shirting fabrics. You don’t find floral designs-that is a great way to date them.

A red and green appliqué four-square quilt from the mid-1800s drew the comment, “Why red and green?”

Different opinions were offered but I waited until I had a chance later in the day to catch up with Virginia to give her my theory. On the color wheel red and green are opposites and they balance out each other 50-50. Blue and orange are opposites but they balance each other at 65-35 and purple–yellow balance out at 85-15. Noting how symmetrical and “square” these red/green quilts were created, I theorized they chose those two colors because they balanced each other in equal amounts. Virginia seemed intrigued by my theory.

After Robin and I chatted with Virginia who certainly appreciated her autographed copy of The Waynedale News, it was time to take “The Photo”. She didn’t have a preference so she left it up to me to decide what quilt photo would accompany this article. So to honor my friend Robin who has rendezvoused with me here almost every year since we met at the Fort Wayne International Airport when I was leaving to go on a textile/quilt tour of France in 2005 I chose the Quaker Quilt.

I will share more of my experience at the Celebration in future columns. Until then, don’t forget to visit the Monroeville Pieceful Quilters exhibit at the United Methodist Church on West South Street on Aug 4 & 5. I hope to see you there!

Lois Levihn is the owner of Born Again Quilts a haven of vintage textiles. Contact information: 260-515-9446 or bornagainquilts@frontier.com.

Lois Levihn

She is the author of the "Around the Frame" quilting column. She is a graduate of Wayne HS. Quilts have always been important to her, she loves the stories surrounding them, the techniques used in making them, & restoring them.

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Lois Levihn

She is the author of the "Around the Frame" quilting column. She is a graduate of Wayne HS. Quilts have always been important to her, she loves the stories surrounding them, the techniques used in making them, & restoring them. > Read Full Biography > More Articles Written By This Writer