Friday, July 22, 2016

Upcoming Exhibition

Some news from the Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum

July 28 through October 25, 2016
Opening reception 5 - 8:00 pm, Friday August 5 
Monday through Saturday 10-5 pm; Sunday 11-5 pm

Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum
1213 Washington Avenue
Golden, CO  80401
Contact Karen Roxburgh, Executive Director

“New York Beauty quilts are rare – hard to find and harder to make,” says collector Bill Volckening. “They are highly prized and representative of America’s finest patchwork. Over the years, the pattern has been known by a number of names, including Rocky Mountain Road and Rail Through the Rockies.  For this exhibit, Volckening selected an array of quilts which spans a century and a half and demonstrates the enduring popularity of this historic pattern.  New York Beauty quilts are very rare and RMQM is excited to host this beautiful collection.

New York Beauty: Quilts from the Volckening Collection, a book by Volckening is available at the RMQM Gift Shop and provides more insight into this collection.

Rocky Mountain Road is sponsored in part by QUILTmania.


Monday, July 18, 2016

Thank You, Quilters Newsletter!

Quilters Newsletter feature, August/September 2012

Back in 2012, I received this e-mail from Mary Kate Karr Petras, Associate Editor of Quilters Newsletter Magazine:

Dear Mr. Volckening, 
Greetings from Quilters Newsletter magazine! I am writing to let you know that we are interested in featuring you and your collection in a future issue of QN. We would want to interview you, possibly by phone, and also include a number of images of your quilts..."


I wasn't sure how they found me. I had collected for more than 20 years, but nobody knew about it.

When I started sharing the collection through social media, I didn't realize I was doing anything out of the ordinary...but Quilters Newsletter realized. 

Quilters Newsletter feature, August/September 2012

The first feature, "Collecting Beauty" by Mary Kate Karr Petras appeared later that year, along with a pattern for one of the quilts. I was surprised by the generous number of pages devoted to the article. I thought, "They like me, they really like me!"

Quilters Newsletter feature, February/March 2015

In 2015, Quilters Newsletter published another article about my collection. It was about 1970s quilts, and I wrote the article and provided the photos. We planned ahead, and the article appeared at the same time as my special exhibit of 1970s quilts at QuiltCon 2015 in Austin.

Several of my quilts have appeared in other issues of Quilters Newsletter. It's been a pleasure to contribute, and I was always happy to get them whatever they needed right away. 

Quilters Newsletter, December/January 2016,
"Readers' Quilt Show - Celebrate Hand Quilting"
"Cheddar Quilts" by Pepper Cory June/July 2014
Quilters Newsletter, October/November 2015

I pitched ideas, and several of them were picked up and published. Every once in a while I was asked to write an article. The recent feature about Tom Korn was one of those, and I was the one who originally pitched the idea. 

Quilters Newsletter Magazine, April/May, 2016,
"Tom Korn's Remarkable Ribbon Quilts"

Most recently, I wrote an article about the Hawaiian scrap quilts. It's in the latest issue.

"Kalakoa! Surprising Hawaiian Scrap Quilts"
Quilters Newsletter Magazine, August/September 2016.

Quilters Newsletter holds a very special place in my heart. Quilting enthusiasts have enjoyed the magazine for 47 years, but last week, I learned the magazine will no longer be published after the October/November 2016 issue. I was sad to hear the news.

Quilters Newsletter played a significant role in my quilt journey. The magazine also documented the history of quiltmaking during the rise of the quilt industry from the 1970s through today. The catalogue of magazines is, and will continue to be, a valuable historical document. Thank you, Quilters Newsletter. We will miss you, but knowing where to find a complete collection of the magazines, it's not really goodbye!

Friday, June 24, 2016

Modern Patchwork Magazine

The latest issue of Modern Patchwork Magazine is here, and I'm in it! There is a five-page article by Abby Glassenberg, and a review of my new book!

How thrilling! Thank you, Abby, and special thanks to Vivika DeNegre and Barb Brown of Modern Patchwork.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

treating stains in an old quilt

I found this quilt a couple years ago at a vintage shop in Portland. It's condition was very good, except for a few stains. This week, I was looking at the quilt again, and decided it was time to treat the stains.

If you look carefully in the full view photo, you can see one of the stains at the bottom, toward the center. Not a huge problem, but treating it would eliminate the distraction and help showcase the quilt's remarkable condition.

The idea was to gradually lighten the stains by applying a solution of sodium perborate and water repeatedly with a Q-Tip, letting it sit for a while, then blotting it out with clean water.

Sodium perborate is available as a granular powder. When added to water, it is a bleaching agent. Sometimes it is used to whiten antique textiles, but at one time it was also used to whiten teeth. If you're looking for the product, or advice about how to use it, just google it!

Clean, white washcloths were helpful for absorbing excess moisture and blotting. I wanted to prevent the solution from coming into contact with any of the colors. Two of those colors, the orange and green, showed signs of instability, so a full wet wash was out of the question.

Over the course of a few days, I applied the solution to the stains and they gradually faded to the point of being barely visible. I didn't want to go too fast or too far, and would recommend the same prudent approach to others.

It's important to have some idea of when it's possible to clean a quilt, when it is not, and what cleaning methods are feasible. I realized it was not possible to wet wash this quilt without a lot of risk, so I did the cleaning in a very cautious, controlled way. I'm very happy with how it turned out. Even though the quilt was already very good, now it's great.

Monday, May 16, 2016


This awesome 1950s quilt arrived recently, and it got me thinking about the vertical movement in several of the quilts and tops found in the last year. Here are some of the others.

I've decided it is not a coincidence to find all these pieces within the same year. Things really are looking up.