Monday, September 3, 2012

Looking for Garden Quilts: Mid-Century Masterpieces

(1) Garden Quilt
Josephine Craig
Collection of the Kansas Museum of History
Quilters around the country were impressed with The Garden quilt that Ruth Finley pictured in her 1929 book.
Josephine Craig of Emporia, Kansas, made this interpretation in 1933. Friends Elizabeth Goering and Maude Leatherberry collaborated with Craig on the pattern and the quilting. Craig won prizes with it in several contests including the national Eastern States Exposition at Springfield, Massachusetts in 1936. If Goering and Leatherberry made their own versions we haven't found them yet.
See more about Craig's quilt here:
Craig's  Emporia version uses different roses from the original Garden, more the flattened shorthand rose typical of 19th century applique. This color is probably a little more accurate than the picture at the top.
The original roses were more like a side view of tea roses as in Ilyse Moore's interpretation in her Paradise in Kansas. See the pattern for Ilyse's in our book The Garden Quilt: Interpreting a Masterpiece. https://www.pickledishstore.com/productDetail.php?PID=1306

(2) Charlotte Whitehill also used a side view of roses.
We don't know the where-abouts of this quilt today.
Joyce Gross, Cuesta Benberry and I made a list of 11 Garden quilts from the mid-20th-century. They often won prizes at contests. Here are eight of them.

(3) Florence Lourette on the right here is shown with her Garden quilt that won third prize in a national contest at the 1939-40  New York World's Fair. She was from Rochester, New York. The only photo I can find of Lourette's quilt is this one from the New York Public Library's collection.
Half a quilt in black and white.
Joyce Gross in her Quilter's Journal magazine published correspondence between Lourette and Bertha Stenge who won first prize. Unfortunately Lourette was on vacation in a remote cabin when the prizewinners were announced and she didn't find out she won until she was reading an old newspaper used as a table cloth and saw a list of winners---too late to be feted at the fair.

See more pictures in the New York Public Library's collection of that needlework contest here:

Garden Quilt
By Bertha Garret and Verna M. Garret Sutherland
Collection: Rochester Museum & Science Center

(4) A mother/daughter team of Rochester quilters must have noticed Lourette's prizewinner. They finished their version in 1948. They might have gotten their pattern from Lourette as the two are quite similar. See more here:

Red Birds
Katura Elizabeth Tolley
San Francisco
(5) Katura Tolley changed the blue birds to cardinals and called her interpretation Red Birds.

On our list we had two categories of mystery quilts
  • Quilt we knew existed but couldn't find pictures of. 
  • Quilts with pictures but without any maker's names.

(6) We found this one pictured in Ladies Circle Patchwork Quilts, the center elongated to an oval. This maker is unknown.

(7) And here's a snapshot from a show---whose?
It is from the Zegart collection.

The Garden
by Pine Lorraine Eisfeller
Schenectedy, New York

 (8) Joyce bought one, this version by Pine Eisfeller. It's now with the rest of Joyce's collection at the
Dolph Briscoe Center at the University of Texas


Pine (pronounced Piney) won a first prize with her Garden Quilt in the 1942 National Needlework Contest sponsored by Woman's Day Magazine. She beat Rose Kretsinger who was inspired to try her hand at the Garden quilt.
You'll have to wait for another post on Garden Quilts for Rose's version. In the next post on this topic in a few weeks I'll show some modern interpretations of the Garden quilt. If you've been inspired to make a Garden quilt let me know in the comments.


  1. Oh yes, I have been inspired to make this quilt!! All the different versions have great details and hidden beauty. It would be fun to include things from where I live and special flowers I like. Thanks for all the pictures, and wish there was more information on some of these gorgeous quilts. I would also like to go see Joyce Gross's quilt collection some day!!

  2. I think they are beautiful quilts, but i know I would not have the patience to do all of the appliqués;)


  3. If Florence only won 3rd with her quilt what the heck came 1st?

  4. Stopped by as I thought you were part of the moda blog hop. Nothing here, must have wrong site.

  5. Inga, Sorry, you were an hour early. Alexis: Paste this into your browser
    to see a quilt similar to the first prize winner, a Palm Leaf by Bertha Stenge.

  6. Hello Barbara,
    You asked what our parking charges were and the name of our home town, mine is Addlestone, Surrey, England and the charge is £2 every hour over. Thank you for the opportunity of this wonderful giveaway. Kind Regards Mandy Currie (mandycurrie@googlemail.com)

  7. Wow! It is really a piece of art. Unique and beautiful. Nice share.

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