Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Past Perfect: Martha Skelton

December's Past Perfect featured quiltmaker is Martha Skelton who
was Mississippi's Queen of traditional quilting.

Sunburst by Martha Skelton, 1993

In the 1990s and the oughts she entered many contests and usually
cleaned up in the handwork category.

Martha B. Skelton (1919-2008)

Four-Block Carnation, Martha Skelton, 2006

Her inspiration was often Southern regional design. The carnation above was probably drawn from a Garrard County, Kentucky quilt, maybe this one on the cover of Quilters' Newsletter in 1983.

Here's her classic Southern Rocky Mountain/New York Beauty. She won
a purchase prize at the American Quilters' Society show
in Paducah in 1987 with this one.

Another regional design by Martha...

Inspired by a four block by
Mattie Peden of Kemper County, Mississippi???

From her 2008 obituary:

Born in New Martinsville, West Virginia, a resident of Vicksburg since 1947. She was 89; a graduate of the University High School in Norman, Oklahoma and received her degrees in Geology and Library Science from the University of Oklahoma. After moving to Vicksburg, she was Librarian at H. V. Cooper High School for a number of years. A book [about her] by Mary Elizabeth Johnson, from University Press contains photographs of 90 of the 200 quilts she completed. Mrs. Skelton was selected twice to participate in the Smithsonian Institution's Folklife Festival and was instrumental in establishing quilting as a program for the Mississippi State Fair. Her quilts are in the permanent collection of the Museum of the American Quilters Society and the Mississippi Department of Archives and History Collection. 

Mississippi Hardwood
by Martha Skelton, 2004-2005

Her inspiration, perhaps this top:

New England leaves from the Binney Collection at
the New England Quilt Museum.

Ninety of Martha's hundreds of quilts are pictured in the book Martha Skelton: Master Quilter of Mississippi by Mary Elizabeth Johnson.


  1. She will always be an inspiration to me. A life well lived. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Martha was a master quilter. Some time ago she was written up in either QNM or Ladies Circle Patchwork Quilts...she was down to earth too. Truly an artist.

  3. I'd not come across the name before so thank you for showing us some of her beauties. Stunning quilts!

  4. I love reading your past perfect posts. They introduce me to some wonderful Quilters that I’m not familiar with, Martha Skelton being one. Her traditional quilts are so beautiful and inspiring. Thanks for choosing her this month.

  5. Thank you for helping us remember our quilting heritage.