Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Ruby McKim's State Flower Embroidery Blocks

In July 2008 I posted about some unique (to my eye) and beautiful embroidered state flower vintage blocks that were shown during a workshop I just taught, maker unknown. Soon after, as synchronicity would have it, I came across a quilt of them and found out it was Ruby McKim's state flower blocks. I asked for the readers input. and this post likely has more comments on it than any other. Ruby McKim was great and powerful ! Pigeon-holing her to any one look is a mistake.

The versatility of her designs is amazing and admirable. It is not automatic when I see unknown designs to think of her and it's a pleasure when I hear she was the designer. Wouldn't you have loved to spend time with Ruby in person, learn from her, be a student in her design classes?

Today I received more info as a comment worthy of posting here too and revisiting the other post. The original post about the quilt blocks is linked here and shows pictures, and the comment is from Juanita Moore. She writes:

Juanita Moore has left a new comment on your post "State Flower Embroidery Quilt Blocks Mystery Solve...": Ruby Short McKim was from Illinois and lived in Independence, Missouri most of her life after training at the New York City Parson School of Fine Arts.

McKim became known for her pieced quilt art-deco like designs, which she had prepared in simple lines for machine sewing, according to the History for the Heart Quilt Paths Across Illinois record of the Illinois Quilt Research Project, a book written by E. Duane Elbert and Rachel Kamm Elbert, and published in 1993 by Land of Lincoln Quilters Association.

The embroidered state flower designs were first published by the Illinois State Journal in Springfield, and released Sunday by Sunday to prepare for a contest at the end. There was both a local and a national contest. What a great way to sell newspapers!

Ruby also did newspaper columns on quilts, and ran a studio from which women ordered her patterns. You could get just a pattern for 20 cents and the whole Oriental Poppy pattern with cut-out fabric to piece for $4.50 God Bless!

Today you can find Ruby's patterns for sale here, but don't count on those same prices!
http://www.patchwork-quilt-patterns.com/ This site has the McKim 48 patterns available.

Thank you to all of the readers who submitted comments. it so much more fun when there is a dialogue on my blogs. I have returned to my professional life as a psychologist and I am loving it. I use meditation, mindfulness practices for stress reduction and pain relief and the new ways of talking and relating that help develop integration in the client's brain. These are well documented forms of therapy today that simply weren't known or known to be effective when I was practicing in the 1980s and 1990s. So it is my pleasure to be in the field again.

That said, my love of quilts and history, and talking with other quilters via my blog, is still alive and well, but a much smaller part of my life. When we do connect like this, it's pure pleasure, Thank you all for being there.

Namaste and many blessings, fabric and otherwise,


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Quilt Fabrics said...

Thanks for sharing not only your love for quilting with us, but also your real life feeling. I will check back frequently!

Pepper Cory said...

Thanks Kim for this posting. I was confused about the order of McKim's different flower series. I have seen the last family-owned Poppy kit in its original form and hope someday to make that pattern.

Kimberly Wulfert, PhD said...

Thanks Pepper, for sharing your take on info from Juanita. I know Ruby McKim's work is meaningful to you too.

Every little bit helps form the bigger understanding. Research is so fun and much easier when many people share their piece of the knowledge.

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