Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Our love affair with sewing machines

Hi friends!

Today school began in Los Angeles, and last week in the county where I live north of LA. This made me think about the school girl darning and practice samplers, piecework and books I've been collecting and will continue to save. I adore them. I have school books of samples from grade school to college classes.

There was a time following the invention and perfection of the sewing machine, think post Civil War, when women who could afford to have a sewing machine wanted to show it off, in a lady-like way, to their patchwork and quilting friends. I think this was gleaned from period diary entries.

So you might think they made patchwork blocks with their machine. Yes, of course, they did that. But machine stitching blocks together only shows on the underside, tucked away from view. It was machine stitching appliques down onto a block that gave their secret away.

They turned the edges of the handles under and sewed a straight stitch along the outer edge of both sides. That curve is tricky even today without practice.

What is extra interesting to me about these blocks, and others I've seen, including quilt tops, is that they did all the piecing by hand! Maybe they couldn't match their corners as well? Maybe it is because they couldn't machine sew while in a friendship or quilt group, or while sitting with their family? Eventually, some women did sew all of their block by machine, while others preferred to handpiece everything.

It seems to me that using sewing machines is all the rage again, and for all kinds of things. Recently, my facialist asked me what kind of sewing machine she might get because she'd like to get one now. I asked her what she plans to make. Her response came as a surprise. She said : I don't know, but I think it might be fun to make things for my farmhouse, (not her primary residence but she's a modern farmer growing food, herbs and caring for hens so they lay good eggs) curtains, place mats, little bags for gifts kind of things. I just want to have one on hand. I think it would be fun."

So there you have it. The cycle of life through the lens of a sewing machine. Its now been placed into the category of a tool to have on hand! I have five machines and I use one. I have a Wilcox & Gibbs that was the first soundless sewing machine, a gun metal, war era, Singer in a beautiful curved wood carry case, a 221-K Centennial Featherweight, which is for sale and includes 3 quilting feet made for it, a Bernina, and a Project Runway Brother. It's from the first series, not the current one. Have you seen their current PR machines? A M A Z I N G ! I have no idea how well they work, but they offer everything there is to offer for a clothes maker or quilter.

Here are some more pictures of the 24 1880s basket blocks for your viewing pleasure. They are currently available in my FB store. To my blog readers only I will offer a 10% discount. Mention the title of the blog in your comment to purchase from my FB page and I'll adjust the price on the invoice. It'll be our secret. xo

Have a wonderful week. Remember to stop and smell the roses,


A link to my FB sales page is in the top right of this page. Like the page and you'll get the new stuff when I post it.

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Sunday, August 11, 2019


The summer is zooming by, isn't it? I hope you are enjoying it, and that you have power and a/c when you need it. Its been a scorcher off and on for many of us around the globe. And there have been earthquakes in California this summer, but also in states that don't usually get them.

For most of July I was on the hunt for personal documents stored somewhere in my house. After coming up empty handed, I was lead to old boxes in my garage and what do you think I found? Fabric galore!

Some of the fabric I had forgotten about and some I had wondered about from time to time. I was thrilled. I also enjoyed looking through quilt show and guild paraphernalia, as well as materials from the talks and classes I used to present. It was a wonderful walk back in time through many phases of my life. It was really fun. Afterward, I tossed much of it out which was fun too!

Have you cleared  out any clutter packed away in your boxes any time lately? I have many more to go through myself. If you find yourself stuck, I recommend the book "Clearing Clutter is a Sacred Act."

The other unexpected event that occurred since I last blogged concerns my phone, a Galazy Note 5. I dropped it in water and it died. I lost everything on it. Fortunately I downloaded photos to my computer from time to time so some were saved.  I will have to take photos of my sample fabric book again before I can share more of it with you.

In the meantime, I think you might enjoy seeing these tiny star blocks from the 1860s.

 They are 3.5" squares, all hand pieced. I bought them from a Massachusetts' quilt dealer many many moons ago. I love them, they are sweet, and made from a variety of printed cottons.

 I wonder, might they have been made by young school girls as practice blocks? Or by women in waiting? Or, come to think of it, maybe by boys, as there are no pink fabrics. What comes to your mind?

 All I know is that they would make an adorable doll quilt or wall hanging if stitched together.

SOLD (the first day ) I'm selling them for $45 today on my FB page Quilts for Sale Antique and Vintage. ( or use the link at top right of this page)

May August be creative and inspiring in all the ways that bring you joy. Happy creating my friends!


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Saturday, July 13, 2019

My Fabric Swatchbook

Hello! I recently came across my swatch book I started  in the early 1990s. I thought you might enjoy some pictures of it.

I will begin at the beginning and show the first three pages here.

I wanted to make a reference for myself as I was learning about dating fabrics. But let's be honest, I also loved the fabrics and this was another way I could enjoy them.

I bought a gorgeous mustard yellow leather binder that is stored in it's own fabric covered box to begin. The pages are oversized rectangles and required special plastic pages that were archival.

Do you have a swatch book you've made? It wouldn't have to be dedicated to reproduction fabrics, it could any fabrics. Some people save the selvedges. I have...... somewhere.

What is yours like? What made you start it? What do you use it for?

I'll share more pages soon. Maybe you'd like to share yours here if you can post pics in the comments.

On my Quilts for Sale Antique & Vintage FaceBook page I put up 6 BAQ and Red & Green applique books this morning, as well as a rare early-mid 1800s quilt top. Here's a sneak peek

The entire top is made of tiny parallelograms forming railroad tracks!

I'd love to hear about your swatch book, or that this has inspired you to start one. Feel free to ask any questions you might have and I'll get back to you through the comments or my FB page.

May your summer be warm and lazy, filled with time to quilt and craft!

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Wednesday, June 19, 2019


Its another cloudy cool morning in southern California. In the coastal regions we call it June Gloom, a name that fits it perfectly. But I'm about 10 minutes inland in a mountain valley, and we never got  June Gloom or May Gray.  We arose to sunshine and warm temperatures nearly everyday of the year in years past. This season, the sun has not come out from behind clouds and mist until the afternoon. I miss the sunny warm mornings so much.

As usual, so much is going on with my work, I haven't posted any new pictures on my blog or FB selling page, but I have had time to read a blog post with great pictures of quilts through time.

Its from the Textile Arts Center in the UK, titled Quilting in America - A Brief History

It's an older piece, by Vanessa Parsons and briefly walks you through a path from palampores to Africa-American quiltmaking. Enjoy!

I am so enjoying reconnecting with quilt friends I haven't been in touch with for years. Please say hello if you want to on my FB page kimberly.wulfert.  Seldom did I view it or post and I declined friend requests because of my work. But now I am using FB for other things and thought "why not" make the most of my page. So if I know you or of you, I won't decline your friend request, in fact, I invite it! 

I send you blessings on your day, in your sewing room, and for your health.


My quilts, tops, new and old fabrics and all things quilt history are available now.    Or PM me through FB.

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Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Revised:Tennessee Quilt 1840-1900s fabrics

My first quilt posted for sale is from Tennessee, 1850-70s with some fabric dating from 1840-50s yet they look new and unused! It is the railroad block, tied with a machine stitched binding turned over from a pink and white back fabric. This quilt is in very good condition. I would have dated it circa 1880s due to the plaids and backing, but the appraiser gave the earlier dates as accurate. (Since I posted this I've looked at it some more and now I definitely think 1880s circa is the right date. I took more pictures to show the range of fabrics that effect the date. Circa means 20 years on either side of a date, give or take. Some of these fabrics are most like earlier. Price revised accordingly)


The gray looking in this photo fabric, is an early purple, beautiful color.

The plaid and textured shirting on the right are some of the latest fabrics 

The top left is an early printed plaid and top right is an early ombrea stripe

and 1880s c. printed green and white plaid

An early purple print in lower right block and a later plaid top middle

In the last photo you'll see some discoloration in the tips of some of the orange blocks. Dye migration maybe.

In the binding picture above it you'll see a tiny area of the plaid that didn't get caught in the sewing machine binding stitch and also see some hand soil on the binding edge which doesn't look permanent at all but I personally wouldn't wash it becausemost of the fabrics look so new and pristine. But I wanted to show you the not perfect areas too.

More pictures are on my FB Quilts for Sale, Antique and Vintage page

Given the revised date, I've revised the price. It's now  $275+ shipping.  I pay the insurance. Will ship to US only, and use Paypal.

Please use message me on the FB page and like my page while you're there so you'll get updates.

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Thursday, May 16, 2019

One Lady's account: Bed and Bath in the 1920's and 1930's

Wow- what a find- this is an oral history blog post. Ruth is 80+ years old. She writes about her experiences as a child at home during the 1920s and 1930s. Her blog post includes a few paragraphs on the bedding they used, including matresses, feather beds and quilts. She talks about the frame on the ceiling and quilting bees. This part is at the end of the post, but her entire post is of interest if you like history.

Ruthlace: Bed and Bath in the 1920's and 1930's

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Sunday, May 12, 2019

Hello Quilters Spirit, it has been awhile....

“So when we write and begin with an empty page
and a heart unsure, a famine of thoughts, a fear of no feeling —
just begin from there, from that electricity.”
— Natalie Goldberg, Engendering Compassion

Hello my friends,

I found the quote above in my drafts section of blogger from 2013. Somehow it seemed fitting as I blog to you today.

It has been quite a few years since I've posted on my blog. That's because I returned to my career and let quilts and their history fall alseep in my closests, bookselves, and storage areas scattered throughout my home.

Over the recent months I've begun selling some of my collections, fabrics, patterns and tools. We've had two major fires, horrifically major damaging fires in southern California since the first one nearest me in December 2017. Both were close to my home. I've always said I have a museum packed away in my house, so the fear of all of it going up in smoke was/is real.

I have been selling items in person and through facebook groups so far. I started a FB for this page purpose, but have yet to use it. It's time and yet I don't have much time to do it. 

If there is a reproduction fabric line, antique or vintage quilt or top, antique faric swatch or yardage, woven coverlets, or other related handmade textile items, that you need or want, let me know about it specifically and I may have it to sell.

What are your thoughts on my posting some pictures on here? I think if I can break it down like that I might have chance of getting this going. I have a lot to sell.

My prices are fair market value. I had all the quilts appraised by a cetified appraiser awhile back in preparation. Some reproduction fabric lines are in great demand and will be sold at that value.

It's been a true joy collecting and learning about textiles and their history, but the time has come to begin to help them find a new home to love them and take care of them.

My stats show there are hundreds of visitors each month, and I have not posted for many years. That tells me there's a healthy interest out there. I look forward to hearing what you have to say.


Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Early 19th Century Tree of Life Quilt from a Welsh Family

full view 1810 c Tree of Life Quilt in the collection of Jen Jones, Wales, UK



The palampore fabric was painted in India and later  made into a quilt. It comes from the Court Estate, Llanllawer in the Gwaun Valley, Pembrokeshire. It was wadded and quilted in 1810.




detail tree limbIt is an exceptionally large quilt, 322cmx 225cm,  filled with lambswool. This cotton fabric was made and painted on the Coromandel Coast prior to 1800.





 House of quilt Photo of the Court Estate

It was sold to Jen Jones by Liz White, daughter of Mrs Mary Lettice Mortimer Ehlers (nee Thomas) of Bristol.
Mrs. Mary Lettice Mortimer Ehlers had wanted the quilt to remain in Wales after her death. It has come to the right home.

A wide variety of wonderful Welsh stitching patterns were quilted on the palampore once it arrived in the UK, including hearts which indicate it was possibly worked for a family marriage.

detail top border

The four daughters of the Thomas family were married over a period of ten years and as it has never been used, it is difficult to say for whom it was intended.

Anne Thomas with her family Pembsphoto of Anne Thomas and her family (left)








Anne Mortimer Thomas

Photo of Anne Mortimer Thomas (right)

In 1851 it was sent to The Great Exhibition in London. It was last exhibited in London in the 1990's, prior to being on exhibit in Wales at the Jen Jones Welsh Quilt Centre in 2010. Here you can view the exhibit. Watch for the palampore on a far wall!



The Jen Jones Welsh Quilts Centre graciously sent me the following info and pictures to share on my blog. I do apologize for the delay in getting them posted. This quilt unfortunately is not on display at this time, but other quilts 2011 Oh that Summer would Last Forever are in their summer exhibit, "Oh that Summer would Last Forever," showing from now to October in Wales. A stunning exhibition catalogue is available for purchase.

Jen Jones sells quilts, shawls, paisleys, blankets, books and more at her shop and on line,  check it out!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Pictures from the Red & White Quilts Extravaganza Exhibit

Wow-  the exhibit  is as amazing as the promotional material said it would be! With many thanks to my girlfriend Tracy Jamar, we have pictures from her visit. Laura G. sent some links to other slide shows and newspaper articles. Thank you Laura.

Congratulations to the AFAM, Thinc, the exhibition company and Mrs. Rose , the collector of the 651 different ed and white quilts, for a one-of-a-kind quilt experience.

From Laura G.-
I saw the show today. You can see each of the quilts up close.
It was an incredible, phenomenal, stupendous show. Something tells me we are going to see many red and white quilts in the near future. Better buy your red broadcloth before it's all gone!!!

Martha Stewart's blog = http://www.themarthablog.com/2011/03/infinite-variety-three-centuries-of-red-and-white-quilts.html

Alex Anderson's website = http://www.thequiltshow.com/ - on the main screen, look for the tab that says "Red and Whilte Quilts" it will send you to a slide show.


http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/american-folk-art-museum-presents/id427267140?mt=8 - this is a lind to the apple website, where, if you have a mobile device (e.g. iphone, ipad, or android phone), you can download the app.

http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/03/24/finally-mrs-rose-and-the-public-can-see-all-her-rugs/?hpw NYTimes article shows the staff of Thinc setting up the exhibit plus a few photos of whole quilts

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Red and White Quilts for Sale

Quilt Photos and post courtesy of Laura Fisher

Fired up by the forthcoming exhibition from the American Folk Art Museum of one collector’s red and white quilts called INFINITE VARIETY, in further celebration of the color red and of quilt art, NYC American antiques dealer Laura Fisher offers a diverse collection of red and white quilts at her gallery throughout the Spring.

The color red in quilts is expressive, historic, even biblical in content. Among red and white quilts there are iterations of the two colors that can give clues to age. Earlier 19th century examples feature printed red fabrics with white, and some later 19th century quilts feature printed reds with printed white shirting cottons, as well as solid red.

Interest in antique red and white quilts runs the gamut from the bold graphic clarity of the solid red and white examples to the softer appearance of printed reds that many designers select when the small scaled prints work with fabrics based on historic printed cottons.

At the 67th Street (Park Avenue) Armory from March 25 -30 will be 650 (yup, amazing!) quilts in solid red and white literally hanging from the rafters like nothing ever seen before! Up for only a week, and FREE to the public, lovers of graphic design and of quilts are coming to town to see it and the other ongoing quilt shows at the AFAM.

The collector concentrates on solid red with solid white. Fisher is regarded in the design trade as the queen of two-color antique quilts, offering every shade with white.

Also available are antique textiles including coverlets and ticking in the same palette.

Gallery hours are Monday through Friday, from 11:00 – 4:00 or by appointment.

Red and white used alone was a mostly 19th century phenomenon, later supplanted by the solid pastels and the pastel printed cottons of the 1930s Depression era. For Fisher, when red appears in a 1930s quilt of colorful feedsack prints, it immediately catches the eye (see her current column in The Quilt Life Magazine called Feedsacks in Motion.

You can reach Laura Fisher at:
305 East 61st Street,5th floor
New York, NY 10065

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