Each year, the Modern Quilt Guild issues a challenge for QuiltCon Charity Quilt submissions. For the 2019 QuiltCon in Nashville, the challenge theme is small piecing, and the color palette is
Last year, noted quilt historian and KMQG member Merikay Waldvogel observed that the work of KMQG members often reminded her of the wild creativity and inventiveness of the Tennessee quilts from the late 19th century that she and Bets Ramsey documented in their book, The Quilts of Tennessee: Images of Domestic Life Prior to 1930 (Rutledge Hill Press, 1986). That comment was rattling around in our heads when we learned of the charity quilt challenge for the first ever QuiltCon hosted in our home state. 2018 Events Chairperson Michelle Bolt reached out to the Modern Quilt Guilds in the state of Tennessee and invited them to consider using a historic Tennessee quilt from the book for their 2019 challenge quilts. Several guilds took her up on the idea.
KMQG chose as its inspiration the cover quilt, Friendship, made by Elizabeth Matthews Baxter in rural Cocke County, TN, in 1871. It seems to be an original pattern and is not found in documented encyclopedias of quilt patterns. With elements of fine points and curves as well as an interesting interplay between squares and arches, there was a lot to be inspired by!
The KMQG officers collaborated on a group design, starting with Founding Director and resident quilt designer Emily Doane, who extracted elements of the inspiration quilt and played with the scale. Together, the officers chose the colors and placement, creating a modern quilt design that riffs off of the 19th-century original. Using a combination of paper piecing and improv tiny piecing to create monochromatic slabs, members pieced the quilt at both a Saturday sew-in and our annual quilting retreat in Sweetwater, TN.
Made by the Knoxville Modern Quilt Guild 2018-19
Designed by Emily Doane, Mary Beth Meadows, Jennifer Grace, Michelle Bolt, Christy Cooper, Sarah Elliott and Elizabeth Rea
Pieced by members of the Knoxville Modern Quilt Guild
Quilted by Jennifer Grace
Bound by Elizabeth Rea