Back in the 1840s, ladies would carry around a small album with blank pages to be filled with autographs, sayings, pictures, drawings, etc. from their friends. By the 1890s some ladies in Baltimore, Maryland had the idea of having pieces of fabric signed by their friends since an indelible pen had been invented. Some of the ladies who made “crazy quilts” decided to upgrade them to more sophisticated, elaborate quilts by asking their friends to not only sign the blocks of fabric, but to embroider, paint, or embellish the blocks in any way they wished; thus, the Baltimore Album Quilts were started.
Many of these beautiful quilts have lasted through the ages and may be seen in quilt museums as well as nationally recognized museums such as the Metropolitan in New York and the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C.
Several years ago, I decided to make a Texas Album Quilt, related to my family. By then, there was a method of printing pictures on fabric. This process is much better now, and pictures look as though they are printed on paper. I started out by printing a picture of my mother and dad for the center block. They were married 57 years before my dad passed away. There are white lovebirds in one block with mom and dad’s wedding anniversary date embroidered on it. They married Oct. 20, 1920.
A block has pictures of my father in his WWI Army uniform along with my two brothers who served in WWII in the Navy. Also in that block is a pen and ink drawing of a coal driven railroad engine that was done by my Headmaster, Ted Sanford, at Ft. Worth Country Day School where I taught for fifteen years. My dad and brothers worked for the Texas and Pacific RR most of their lifetime. You’ll also notice the three stars in that same block, representing Mr. Whoozy who was a three star, Vice Admiral in the Navy.
Another block has an Irish blessing printed on it since we were all very Irish. Another block had my mom’s favorite hymn, “The Old Rugged Cross,” printed on it along with 3D irises, one of her favorite flowers. The name “BOYD” is appliqued in the center of a large red heart in another block, as that was my maiden name. “Forget-me-Nots” flowers surround the heart. The ‘Rose of Sharon’ block that I designed, is special as that was my mom’s favorite flowering shrub.
My son, Patrick, is my pot of gold at the end of the rainbow in another block. He is truly my treasure on earth. That block also has my favorite things in it: my love for kitty cats, dogs, sewing, quilting, piano and music, and tea sets. I am shown sewing on my machine in my classroom, as I always taught children how to use my machine and how to hand quilt. My three precious grandchildren are pictured in another block.
Texas was my home for many years, and the shape of Texas done in the Texas flag colors with bluebonnets, the state flower, is a necessary block. A Hawaiian paper-cut block of palm trees and hibiscus represents my new home, Florida. It has been said that my hibiscus looks a lot like Disney’s Mickey Mouse — hmmmmm. This quilt is hand appliqued and hand quilted.
The techniques that I used making this quilt are hand applique, ruching roses, 3D applique, hand embroidery as well as machine embroidery, pen and inking, and hand quilting. Making an album quilt is truly a treasure or heirloom.
Feb. 12 at 10:00 at the Players Community Center on Landrum Ln., off CR-210 behind the Shell station, I shall be teaching a class on “Color and Baltimore Album Quilts with a taste of Florida.” This will be at the monthly meeting of the Ocean Wave Quilters Guild. Everyone is invited.