Sunday, December 20, 2009

Aunt Kate's Quilting Bee

One of the joys of collecting items for the Kingwood Area Quilt Guild Fish Pond is that I get to see all the goodies that people donate to the cause. Some of the goodies are not so good and have to be discarded but most of them are in good condition and provide me with hours of pleasure. Among all the fabrics, patterns, notions and magazines that have been donated, I came across a quilting magazine called Aunt Kate's Quilting Bee.

Begun in 1962 by Glenna Boyd (1919-2006) this publication was considered one of the best in the market from 1962 until it ceased publication in 1980. Printed on glossy paper with some fuzzy black and white photograghs, this publication gives us a wonderful look at our quilting heritage. Aunt Kate also re-published patterns from the the 1920' and 1930's, crocheted edgings from a book originally published in 1916, contemporary apron and potholder patterns as well as original quilt block patterns from her readers.

The issues I have had the privilege of purusing come from 1976 and 1977.

How things have changed in 30 years.

Back then it was all about the blocks.
Most of the quilts discussed were made up of multipes of one complex block that was meant to be hand pieced. There were lots of curves and lots of pieces in each block. Now its all about the overall quilt design with blocks designed to be machine pieced. If you were lucky enough to get a block published in Aunt Kate's Quilting Bee you could make up to $9.00 if you completed all of the elements required in good order. Now the magazines pay between $150.00 and $300.00 for each quilt they accept for publication with the magazine's staff writing the actual instructions.

As a subscriber you were expected to create templates from the printed instructions and gather the pieces into labelled file folders or large size envelopes for future use. There was a section every issue where women asked for other block patterns to be swapped or bought. Blocks by Nancy Cabot were much sought after in the requests I have read. She published block patterns in the Chicago Tribune in the 1930's and published two pamphlets of bock patterns in 1934 and 1935. What a find these booklets would be today!

One interesting part of the publication was where subscribers' wrote in looking for pen pals and round robin opportunities. Not only were their full names and addresses printed, but birthdays and wedding anniversaries as well. In this day of identity theft I wonder how such notices would be handled today?

Even though there are quite a few typos and the use of the opening phrase of 'Now girls..' just grates on my nerves, this is magazine is a delightful look at quilting from the 60's and 70's.

If you come across this periodical take the time to look it over and read some of the charming articles. I don't think you will be disappointed with the time spent.

1 comment:

Aunt Kate's daughter said...

Even though the publications had "a few typos", and Mom felt that all of her subscribers were "her girls", I don't think it grated on many of her subscribers nerves. She herself, designed over 396 original quilt patterns herself, while holding down a full time job.

From one of "Aunt Kate's" daughters