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Quilt Crazy: Stella Rubin Shares Her Expert Knowledge

by Rick Anderson

SPECIALTY: Nineteenth- and early-20th-century American quilts.

STITCH IN TIME: The earliest date back to the 1700s, but most American quilts were made between the 1850s and 1870s.

QUILTING CAPITALS: Baltimore and Lancaster, Pennsylvania. “They were settled early by people who were wealthy enough to have the luxury of time,” Rubin says.

EARLY ACQUISITION: An 18th-century quilt made from block-printed Indian palampores. Now it’s at the International Quilt Study Center & Museumin Nebraska.

LOOK FOR: Circles and points. “It’s very difficult to get edges sharp. There’s a pattern heavy in both called New York Beauty that is very unusual.”

RARE FIND: “This wreath quilt [see right] is one of the few pieces in my collection we’ve been able to trace back to the actual maker. We connected the signature to a mother and daughter in Vermont, which isn’t known for having a prevalence of quilters.”

HUNTING: Baltimore album quilts, “which were created between 1845 and 1855 and are known for complex appliqué patterns.”

POPULAR REQUEST: Patriotic quilts. “They were not made continuously—only at times of war or when a state was coming into the Union—so they’re hard to find.” stellarubinantiqueom

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