Jayhawker by Thelma E. Humphrey, 1934-1935
Thelma collected signatures of sports stars at the University of Kansas where she worked in the athletic department. This block features James Naismith's signature.
Naismith invented the game of basketball
When Deb Rowden and I began thinking about doing a book on sports quilts we looked around for vintage quilts celebrating teams, athletes and games.
We knew of two that we featured in the book Sew Into Sports: the Jayhawker quilt above and the bowling shirt quilt top below.
This odd item is an unquilted top, possibly pieced of bowling shirt backs from about 1960.
We are guessing it's from Mason City or Chicago.
Or it may be a sampler of the kind of work an embroidery company could do.
The Club Ki-Yowga in Calumet has fortunately changed their logo since then. For 75 years they've been sponsoring kids' sports.
We found some quilts made of tobacco flannels that featured sports premiums. In the early 20th century tobacco products included cotton collectibles in the packaging.
Flags are far more common flannels than baseball stars.
As you can imagine the baseball flannels are more valuable than the flags.
We found a few other sports quilts pictured in online auctions.
Those are probably not actual Yankee autographs on this quilt dated 1941. Just a list of players.
This one is also easy to date. Is that a rose or a ball?
Clara Schmitt Rothmeier was the queen of sports quilts.
Her baseball quilts were auctioned earlier this year.
See more about the quilts here by clicking:
Stan Musial pointing to his portrait in 1973
It is surprising how few sports quilts made before 1975 we found.
It's time to make up for it.