1) How do you prefer to be described within the field of textile
If you have a business, please tell us
“I prefer to be described
as an independent quilt researcher of 20th Century quilts and
patterns. I am also a quilt maker and a quilt collector.
"I have a subscription website which gives access to my documentation
of over 3,000 20th Century quilt kits and the companies and designers
that produced them.”
2) When and where did you begin your serious interest in the
history of quilts, textiles or garments?
“I first became interested in the history of quilts when the
Minnesota Quilters formed an offshoot group called the Land O’ Lakes
Quilt Study Group. Two members, Jean Carlton and Gail Bakkom,
encouraged me to begin a study and I reported on Debbie Rake’s
exhibit of kit quilts at the International Quilt Study Center. Up to
that time I was a bit of a snob about kit quilts, thinking that they
lacked originality. But when I saw the beautiful quilts on exhibit,
my opinion changed and I was off documenting as many as I could,
collecting a few beauties for myself, and learning the stories of
the designers and companies producing kits.”
3) What “known” individual or group influenced you most and why?
“Merikay Waldvogel was the first to show interest and encourage me
to continue. I found out that Shirley McElderry was considered an
expert on the quilt kits, so I traveled to Iowa to meet her, and
found a dear friend who was willing to share her knowledge and her
copies of things I did not have.”
4) Who became your personal mentor as you began your learning?
“There are several people I consider mentors, especially Shirley
McElderry and Arene Burgess. These women had both been documenting
kits for years before I met them. Sandy Schweitzer, an Illinois
appraiser, was a great source of encouragement and gentle pushing to
get my material published.”
5) What aspect of study were you most passionate about at first?
How has this changed over time and why?
“The quilt kits were my first passion and I’ve been working on them
now for at least seven years. I launched my website,
www.quiltkitid.com in June of
2010. In the process of examining old catalogs, publications and
ephemera (looking for the kit advertisements), I’ve discovered that
I’m getting a more comprehensive view of the time periods I’m
studying. I’m beginning to broaden my scope and see how quilting and
quilt kits fit into the bigger picture of the 1930s, 40s, 50s, 60s,
"In my own quilting, I’ve always enjoyed the challenge of designing
my own quilts, but lately have been drawn to completing or
reproducing vintage quilts.”
6) What is your current “pet project”?
“I’m working on a comparison study of more than thirty state bird
and state flower quilt designs for a study center presentation at
the 2011 AQSG Seminar.”
7) What aspect of your research or contribution to textile
studies has satisfied you the most?
“Though there have been several people around the country working on
quilt kits, there have not been any books published on the topic. I
take satisfaction in providing information to appraisers and
historians that has not been accessible up to now.
Wherever I’ve gone I have found new friends and the networking among
members of the American Quilt Study Group has been incredible."
8) Within this arena, what would you like to do, but haven’t done
“I’d like to do more writing and my head is full of ideas for new
quilts to make.”
9) Any further comments are invited.
“Researching the quilt kit designers has been the most interesting
part of this project. I developed a great admiration for women (and
men) like Marie Webster and Ruby Short McKim, who were creative and
found ways to make a living from their passion. It has also been
exciting to find connections between the various companies producing
10) Please describe the contributions you have made via books,
exhibits, presentations, contests, articles, fabric lines, research
papers and the like.
Quilt Kit Identification
Puff quilts, Pieces of Time, April, 2010
of State Bird and State Flower Quilts," Blanket Statements,
Quilts,” Pieces of Time (Iowa-Illinois Quilt Study
Group), April 2008
Matter: Identifying and Dating Kit Quilts,” Pieces of Time,
and Bed Turnings; featuring quilts from my collection.
McKim” lecture at Quilters Hall of Fame, July 2008
Quilt Kits; Quilters Hall of Fame, July 2008
with Shirley McElderry and Arene Burgess on a Workshop on Quilt
Kits for Iowa-Illinois Quilt Study Group, 2006
Thank you very much for sharing yourself with us, Rose, and for the
myriad knowledge and insights we have gained because of your efforts
in this field. Continued success to you.