Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Needlework Tuesday: Kansas City Star

Once again, a busy week has kept me away from the sewing machine, but I did accomplish something sewing-related.  
For years, my father had a small trunk filled with old family photos, sitting in his basement.  About ten years ago, we pulled the pictures out to sort, and found that the photos were only a shallow top layer of the trunk's contents.  Underneath were hundreds of quilt patterns, poems, games, recipes, and helpful hints that my grandmother had clipped from the newspaper.   I decided to try some of the patterns, stitching them completely by hand as my grandma would have done.  I took my piecing to a quilt guild meeting one afternoon and when the more experienced quilters saw what I had, I was shocked at their reaction. They were shocked that I was carrying around quilt patterns from the Kansas City Star in a plastic bag.
The Kansas City Star, Weekly Star and Star Farmer published quilt patterns (most submitted by readers) from the late 1920's through 1960.  During the 1930's they were published on a weekly basis, becoming less frequent through the 40's and 50's.  A bit of research showed that individual patterns sell from $1 for the most common patterns, to $10 for the rarer ones published later on. Grandma had done almost all of her collecting during the 1930's, so probably no rare items there (not that I would ever sell them at any price).  Even so, there was a monetary and nostalgic value that needed to be preserved.  In anticipation of a reunion of her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren (plus two great-greats on the way) this past weekend, I finally got around to organizing them into acid-free, archival-quality albums so they can be enjoyed and used for many generations.  After eliminating duplicates, I stored over 300 patterns in the albums.

What ever happened to that hand-stitched quilt I started?  My enthusiasm ran out after six blocks, but I pulled them back out last week and am developing a plan to finish them into a small quilt.  I constructed each block according to the measurements given in the original pattern,so they vary from 12" to 18".  I purchased some red, white and blue fabrics to use as sashing around the smaller blocks to make them all finish at 18" and then I will figure out how I want to arrange them. Here are three of my six finished blocks - more on that project later.
"Puss in the Corner"   "Jacob's Ladder"      "Bridal Path"

While we were traveling for the reunion, I stopped at a quilt store and found the cutest fabric panels!  

These lovely ladies also had coordinating fabrics featuring buttons and other sewing supplies.

I found this Christmas panel on the sale shelf.  All of the coordinating fabrics had been sold, but I'm sure I can find grays and reds that will work. 

Now my dilemma:  What do I make from them?  Do I leave them whole or cut out the individual squares? Quilts?  Wall hangings?  Table runner?  I am accepting all ideas.

Needlework Tuesday is hosted by Heather at Books & Quilts.  Visit Heather to see what lovely things she and the other participants are stitching.


  1. Love all the hard work you put into these binders - they were a hit at the reunion - and a treasure to have - we didn't get enough time with our Abram grandparents - that's for sure. You would have made Grandma quite happy!

  2. Hi Tami,
    Want an awesome find! Hang on to that collection they are priceless. How about a wall hanging using your panels. Thanks for stopping by. Have a great day!

    Food for Thought

  3. Your find of your grandmother's is positively awesome. What a precious link to her! I also found this link for your Christmas panel http://intheboondocks.blogspot.com/2013/12/merry-christmas-and-winner.html. Etsy has a link if you want to buy coordinating fabric https://www.etsy.com/market/forth. I made pillowcases from the coordinating fabric for your Christmas panel. If interested see http://dianeloves2quilt.blogspot.com/2013/09/wip-pillowcase-technicalities.html and http://dianeloves2quilt.blogspot.com/2013/10/wip-diane-went-to-quilting-shows-e-i-e.html. If you google Henry Glass Holiday Frost you will find a lot more. I love this fabric as you can tell...

  4. those binders of patterns are wonderful, certainly a family treasure. As for the panels, I would defintely cut them apart. There are lots of uses for them. You could set them in attic windows, or use them for the center of any star block. I can help you with calculating sizes if you need. It all depends on how large of an item you want to make. They are lovely and deserve a nice setting. Myself, I'd use some them on fabric postcards.

    thanks for linking up with Needlework Tuesday.

  5. The Christmas Panel...a friend of mine who has a B&B made bed runners for her guest beds from that panel. She put grey, white and red stars between the squares.