DUNDAS, Minn., September 23, 2011 — Curious or just want to cash out on a quilt? Knowing its name will add satisfaction for you and/or could create value for your quilt.
Rosie Werner has compiled pictures and information about 4,000 quilt kits.
Quilt kits were popular in the 20th century. You could purchase one and it would include your fabric, pattern, and other resources needed to complete a quilt. So, if my grandmother in North Dakota got a kit, and your Grandma in Maryland did too, it is a similar quilt with the same name.
Each quilt within a kit has a name. Now, thanks to Rosie’s labor of love, you can find those names and history of it on the web.
QuiltkitID is the site that allows you to find pictures and information about 20th century quilts kits.
No business plan propelled it. Instead, an interest was ignited that became a passion.
Rosie’s passion is now your gain. If you or appraisers identify a design from a well-known designer, and it is rare, the value of your quilt will go up.
“In 1997 I chaired a charity quilt auction to raise money for poor women and children,” said Rosie. “That started me on a path with quilts that has taken on a life of its own.”
First she designed and made her own quilts. Then the history buff with the artistic bent joined a Quilt Study Group. She began documenting kits by collecting old magazines and clipping the quilt kit ads. This allowed her to name the quilt, what time period it was from, what company produced it, and more.
The earliest magazine ad Rosie has is from 1916. At that time quilt kits were manufactured by companies from whom you would order from. The same fabric was included for each quilt. Consistency of quilt kits meant they could be researched and indexed.
The Quilt Study Group members were the first benefactors of Rosie’s report about quilt kits.
“After I did my report on kits to the quilt group, I didn’t want to stop,” she said. As people saw what she was doing they told her, “We need this information; please publish it.” Appraisers in particular valued her data. If an appraiser can name your quilt, and time it, it may raise its value.
Getting quilt kit information accessible for people is Rosie’s goal. While several quilt historians have files and personal insight about quilt kits, none have published this extensive data.
The consistency of quilt kits has allowed Rosie to create an online indexing system. For example, if your unidentified crib quilt has circus characters, you will likely find it. Or if your quilt is an appliquéd one with apple blossoms, you can likely find it. Rosie has 4,000 quilt kits identified to date.
The 20thcentury was the heyday for consistent quilt kits.
“Quilt kits are no longer the same,” according to Rosie. Now, fabric shops often cut their own fabric so it differs from place to place. And many more designers are involved with local, state, and national markets.
Finally the quilt kit identification project is done.
Rosie has completed her files about quilts and is awaiting the work of the webmaster so that all of the information is live. As new information or changes are needed, the web site will be updated.
Putting information online is costly. Subscriptions to the web site will pay back some of the direct expenses. However, the time and effort it took to compile the quilt kit documentation is priceless.
“My sense of satisfaction comes from giving information to people who need it. When they find what they are looking for, it makes both of us happy,” Rosie says. “This effort has made my life a lot more exciting. The friendships I have made and the confidences I’ve built have also been satisfying.”
Now, more quilts await making. “I still have a great desire to quilt. It is relaxing for me, challenging, as well as exciting,” she adds.
And Rosie has a wonderful quilt collection, mostly examples of quilt kits, and desires to find a venue for exhibiting them. She is also open to leading workshops or giving lectures. She can be reached at rwerner@quiltkitID.com
Please Comment: Are you a quilt owner wishing to identify a quilt? What do you think about having this new online database?
Donna Rae is an award winning writer, consultant, planner, facilitator, and coach. One Minnesota organization gave her a coveted ‘Futures’ award. Another named her the 2002 Outstanding Faculty member. She has co-authored five books and numerous articles. She is the founder of the consulting firm Leadership Tools.
Read more from Donna Rae Scheffert at Washington Times Communities and Online Leadership Tools.
Donna Rae can also be found on the strength training circuit, wine tasting, at board meetings, guiding her two teenagers, or dreaming about a sunny location to move with her husband after they retire.
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