The Food Quilt: In My Grandmother’s Kitchen

16 11 2012

All through the 80’s and 90’s I collected vintage fabrics from a variety of sources.  The only fabrics I collected had to have two characteristics:   I had to like the prints and the fabrics had to be inexpensive.  I collected a lot of feed sacks and feed sack pieces, as well as cotton broadcloth, and soon I noticed I had quite a pile of fabrics with food themes, “conversation” prints, in the quilter’s jargon.  After making a couple of other quilts from vintage scraps, I started on the Food Quilt in 1995, finally cutting into some of the larger chunks of these “precious” fabrics.

Food Quilt: In My Grandmother’s Kitchen, 1997
73″ x 84″
Photography by Sibila Savage

[Don’t forget to click on the pics for viewing details of these quirky fabrics.]

The block pattern I used was this simple Square in a Square, after rejecting many, many other blocks that had a central square for showcasing these great prints.  Getting all the blocks together in a pleasing array was a challenge.

Even more challenging was the zigzag border.  When originally applied, the border made a mush of the design of the quilt block.  Adding the red check inner border did the trick, separating the two elements.  Removing the border, redesigning the corner and adding the new inner border was relatively easy because I had used foundation piecing for the original border.

Just beginning to try more machine quilting, I was fortunate to find a commercial quilting template that fit into the sashing of this quilt perfectly.  It seemed to take forever to quilt, but I love the finished product.

Food Quilt, detail

This is one of the first quilts when I was becoming aware of just how much fabric activity I could get into one quilt, lots and lots of shapes, colors, prints.  Still LOVE it.

Bragging rights:  This quilt was juried into the American Quilter’s Society show in Paducah in 1998.  Mary Mashuta wrote about The Food Quilt and my musings about it in her book Cotton Candy Quilts,  and the border and its construction are featured in Foundation Borders by Jane Hall and Dixie Haywood.

Kitchen Parade-A small quilt was made from the leftovers.

Kitchen Parade, circa 1998
19″ x 19.5″
Photography by Sibila Savage

It is fun-sized because the backing for this little piece was a single kitchen dish towel that had “Kitchen Parade” printed on all four sides, so the quilt was designed to be exactly the right size for the backing to be turned around onto the front to make a border.

I wish I could say that I had used up all the leftovers I had collected for this quilt, but there is still plenty of  vintage “food fabric” in fabric stash.  Surprising how little was used up for both of these works.  Plenty still for you–any takers???  Make me an offer.




3 responses

16 11 2012
Deborah Farr


Sent from my iPad

18 11 2012

Beautiful, beautiful! You had the gift even back in 1997/1998. Wonderful use of your vintage fabrics.

22 08 2014
500 Traditional Quilts: look for the new book | Susan Dague Quilts

[…] The Food Quilt, made entirely of vintage “kitchen” fabrics, reminds us of an era when all women sewed and made their own kitchen curtains, tablecloths, dish towels, and aprons.   I featured this quilt in this blog when I was describing my love of all things vintage, as well as my fascination with foundation piecing techniques.  Read the entire story of this quilt here. […]

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