USA continued, visiting D.C.

 Warning, you may need to make a cup of tea before sitting down.

I could go on indefinitely with posts titled USA continued,

but I think we might all get sick of that ;-)

So I will make this the final post about the USA trip even though I’m sure I’ll still post the odd photo of USA quilts, people and places over the months to come.

 I saw so much to inspire me that you can imagine I have quilts dancing around in my head and I have this morning started on Something New, which I will want to show you a little of before long.

As promised this post will be about the time in Washington D.C.

image of Washington DC

Don't let the summer blouse fool you, it was brisk on that bus brrrrr

Irene and I actually stayed at a Holiday Inn hotel in Alexandria, VA

(just across the river and more to our budget than being in DC itself)

It was suggested by Fiona of  Country Threads ,thank you Fiona it was perfect for us.  We were riding that subway like locals over the four days.

The main purpose for being in D.C. was of course to visit the National Museum of American History.

I have been in fairly regular contact with Associate Curator Doris Bowman since embarking on my Maltaville Album Quilt and was keen to see the original quilt if possible.

To say the half day at the Smithsonian was “brilliant” is an understatement.  I was bowled over by Doris Bowman’s generosity in allowing me to view, touch ~ gently, and photograph the original quilt as well as allowing me time to just look and learn.

image of Maltaville Quilt

"How have they finished that edge?"

Now I know, after the red piping there is a 1 1/8″ finished folded binding ~  left unfilled.

The quilt itself threw up some surprises and answered some of my questions, but with those answers comes more questions.

image of Maltaville Quilt

Detail of centre block

Cleverly using the wrong side of the green fabric to create subtle shading,  I have done that myself in the past but it was a nice surprise to see it here.  There is a lot more embroidery than I had realised though ~ not my strong point!

image of Maltaville Album Quilt

Harriet Able's block

I didn’t do my stems or leaves like that, but I like the way it looks.  I think I will be a convert to Harriet’s method.

image of Maltaville Album Quilt

On Earth In Heaven block by Delia Burr

image of Maltaville Album Quilt

Mrs William Thompson Maltaville block

As I say, embroidery is not my strong point which is why my bird block is still waiting for that embroidered detail.

I showed Doris my version of the Maltaville, which looks so stark and *white* next to the original which is so warm and mellowed with age.

I posted a photo of me grinning like a cheshire cat here on the Maltaville Blog.

I was also able to view some other quilts which are of interest to me, it should come as no surprise which four quilts topped that list,

The Rising Sun Quilt,  The Little Sister’s Quilt, Benoni Pearce’s Groom’s Quilt and the Copp Family Quilt.

It was such a privilege to view these quilts, even tucked away in their drawers.

image of Groom's quilt detail

Benoni Pearce's Groom's Quilt 1850, detail

image of Rising Sun Quilt detail

Betsy Totten's Rising Sun Quilt, detail

image of Little Sister's Quilt detail

Little Sister's quilt, detail

It’s not known whether Susan Holbert (born 1834) made this quilt herself or if her older sister Emily Holbert made it for Susan.

But Emily Holbert did make this quilt in 1847, Emily died in 1858.

image of Emily Holbert quilt detail

Emily Holbert quilt 1847, detail

image of Fabric detail, Copp quilt

Copp Quilt early 19th century, detail

I saw even more quilts than these and will share them with you over time.  I am very, very thankful to Doris Bowman for being so generous with her time and knowledge.

  While in D.C. we also visited the DAR museum.

image of hexagon quilt

Hexagon quilt, Vermont Room DAR Museum.

image of DAR museum quilts

Penn family 1850s Baltimore Album Quilt (left) and Mary Mannakee Quilt (right)

We visited the DAR twice, the first day we didn’t get there til 3pm as we had taken a drive out to visit Stella Rubin Antiques , more about that another day!  So another visit was needed to really study the quilts on show at the DAR.

You may like to put the kettle on again as there are just a few more things I want to share.

I don’t want to sign off from the US trip without mentioning the day Irene and I spent with friends Marsha, On the Go Quilting and Stella ~ no blog, yet ;-)

image of Quilting friends

Back row: Irene and Moi. Front row: Stella and Marsha.

We had a great day together at the New England Quilt Museum and the Lowell Textile Museum.  We even squeezed in a trip to Candlelite Quilts to do some more shopping.  Marsha, we made a dash to the USPS on the Friday for our final mailing home, we had three mailings home in all for a grand total of five boxes!!  Marsha has blogged about our fabulous day together here and here

And Stella, I will be in touch real soon about ‘you know what’.

I’ll finish with a few odds and ends

image of Dress 1845-1848

Dress 1845-1848 American History Textile Museum, Lowell, MA

image of New England Mill

Mill building, Springfield, Vermont

 I wish the above photo had sound.

image of Rockport MA

Rockport, MA

I know I will have to do another USA cont. blog post because I haven’t shared anything from the Winterthur Museum yet.

But that will have to be another day, next time I want to show you a little of a new project.

And the latest Quiltmania magazine is out, with the  final instalment of my Mid 19th Century Star quilt along with the photo shoot Quiltmania did here last year.  Very Exciting.  I will try to be back in a day or two.

til soon



  1. Margaret, it was such a fun time for us all, wasn’t it, meeting and sharing the love of quilts all day. I just wanted to tell you that photo of the old mill in Springfield is only a very few miles from me here. Did you go there Friday after our visit?
    Love, love the posts about your trip and thanks so much for the links to my blog.

  2. YOU WERE IN ROCKPORT????? I live in Gloucester (the town you go through to get to Rockport!) I can’t believe it, I would have loved to meet you and share come Cobb Quilt fabric I’ve been hoarding! Sounds like your trip was fabulous, can’t get over how good the Smithsonian and Doris B. were to show you all of those quilts. You are a superstar to get that kind of access and treatment. Good on you! Glad to have you in America!

  3. I have loved reading about your trip to the USA. I visited the DAR museum last year on my first visit ever to the USA. It was amazing. I hope that you do post more entries about your trip – I’m loving it!

  4. What a great post Margaret. How exciting to see all those original quilts and please I would love to read another post on America and the Winterthur Museum. Thank you for sharing.

  5. Hi Marsha
    Yes, it was wonderful to meet with you and Stella and what a wonderful day we had together.

    And Joan – I don’t know you – I travelled with Margaret – and yes, we did go to Gloucester and had lunch there. I’m sure when Margaret sees this she will be kicking herself for not knowing that that’s where you live! We loved the trip we did up to Gloucester and then to Rockport, going through all the towns near the coast.


  6. Stella Blunt says:

    I had my coffee while reading your post today and loved,loved reading. You have to continue! How fortunate you were in your travels seeing and discovering new things.
    Meeting with you and Irene,and Marsha was just my highlight of the month.It is such a journey when one loves quilting and all it’s aspects. You never know where it leads you. Thank you so much for that day with youu all.

    Hugs,and love,Stella

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