Monday, May 4, 2020

Past Perfect: Carter Houck

This month's Past Perfect post focuses on Carter Houck, who recently passed away in Virginia after
a long career writing about quilts and needlework.

Carter Mason Greene Houck Holt (1924-2020)

I don't know that Carter sewed quilts but she certainly influenced a generation of quiltmakers with her books on historical quilts.

And especially in her nearly 20-year run editing the magazine
Lady's Circle Patchwork Quilts

Each issue took readers on a regional tour of museums and introduced us to
quilters who were influencing their areas.

She and photographer Myron Miller showed us how to stage a quilt shot.

Carter & Myron on a book tour in 1975

Patterns in the back of the book were well-drawn...

and must have
inspired many to attempt a traditional design.

Carter Mason Green was born in Fauquier County, Virginia growing up with dreams during the Depression and World War II of Seventh Avenue, New York's fashion center. "But it didn't happen that way." Her first jobs during  the war were less glamorous---working for New York pattern companies.


 Living in Texas and raising two children after the war she wrote a needlework column for the Fort Worth Star Telegram.

In the 1960s she had a column in Parents magazine and at the beginning of
the 1970s quilt boom owned a fabric shop in Darien, Connecticut. She began
Lady's Circle Patchwork Quilts in 1974.

In the 1980s she married her second husband A. Grant Holt of Darien.
He'd been a housewares manufacturer.

Perhaps you collect Pixie Ware.

They moved to the Catskill Mountains where Carter loved to ski.

See Linda Wilson's essay on Carter at the Quilters' Hall of Fame site:


  1. another giant of the quilting community has passed on....her accomplishments and contributions will happily go on even with her loss...

  2. Ms Houck has left quite a quilting legacy. I have at least 2 of her books (Treasury of American Quilts and All Flags Flying for sure). Oh dear - from the looks of it, I'll be keeping an eye out for the Lady's Circle quilt magazines in addition to old QNM issues.

  3. It is quite amazing that this post comes thru at this time. Carter was an Inductee into the Catskill Mountain Quilters Hall of Fame and we lost track of her. In pursuing a second addition of 'The Unbroken Thread' we were tring to trace her for the book. We just received word from Quilting Hall of Fame (also a member) that she had passed in April 2020.

  4. Thank you for bringing Carter to my attention. I did not know about her before today but certainly appreciate her contribution to all who sew and quilt. I love looking at the older quilt magazines and seek them out at guild quilt shows but don't see too many of the Lady Circle publication. I do have a few and will make it a point to pull them out and look at them again with renewed interest.

  5. I have a couple of huge stacks of LCPQuilts. It's time to go read them again. I always enjoyed getting them in the mail.

  6. I treasure my collection of Ladies Circle Patchwork Quilts, surely one of the most influential quilt magazines in the 20th century, second only, perhaps, to Bonnie Leman's Quilters Newsletter Magazine. Old copies of both magazine series are truly worth pursuing and collecting if you are newly interested in studying quilt history.

  7. Thank you. I mostly knew of her from the magazine and the red and white cover book. Her photograph was certain familiar to many! She DID influence a lot of quilters coming to the art of traditional quilts during the last half of the 20th century. As have you.