Happy Valentine’s Day!

It’s St. Valentine’s Day and we love our blog followers. We’re glad you’re here. How do you like these hearts?

Family Album Quilt Hearts BorderBlogPost2_14_2014

Hearts appliqué from Betty Alderman’s Family Album quilt

These hearts were appliquéd into the border of Betty Alderman’s Family Album quilt. I thought they were appropriate to share with you for this Valentine’s Day. Betty was my mom.

Betty’s quilt was one of three album-style quilts she made. Each of her three children has one. This one is mine. Each block has some significance to my mom and her life.

The Family Album quilt was constructed over nearly a decade, from 1989-1997 and was made while she lived in three different states: New York, Arizona, and Ohio. These were also some of her most prolific years as a professional quilter. Mom loved appliqué.

This quilt was made in the Baltimore Album style. Baltimore Album quilts were a genre of quilts made mostly in the mid 1800s and which began in an affluent Baltimore, Maryland in the 1840s and 1850s. Mom’s quilt is similar in style to the Baltimore Album quilts from long ago. The quilts are typically heavy in reds and greens on a white ground. Mom loved these quilts.

Here’s a picture of mom’s Family Album quilt.

Alderman Family Album Quilt by Betty Alderman

Alderman Family Album Quilt by Betty Alderman

So, I have a few questions.

  1. Do you appliqué?
  2. Do you like Baltimore Album quilts?
  3. If you appliqué like this, what are your sources for inspiration and design?

Mom used a number of different things to gather design ideas and to inspire her. One of the things mom did was she bought and sold antique quilts (and collected them!) On very rare occasions she might come across a Baltimore Album quilt. One, from the 1850s, she sold but first created tribute quilt honoring that special quilt. She studied the blocks of the antique quilts, sometimes copying a design or interpreting it into something new. She also studied designs in books and was enamored with folk drawings. Here is picture that I found in her belongings and it’s no surprise to me that there are birds in one of them. They are a common folk motif and mom often added a bird into her designs. This was a lose page in her files so I don’t know the exact source of the page.

Folk Art Motifs

Folk Art Motifs used by Betty Alderman for inspiration in making appliques.

Can’t you just see how these drawings could inspire appliqué designs?

If you are interested in learning more about Baltimore Album quilts, there are a number of good books about them. Two authors of these books are Elly Sienkiewicz and Laurene Sinema, both who were friends of mom. –Betsy

Baltimore Album Quilts: Historic Notes and Antique Patterns, by Elly Sienkiewicz. C&T Publishing, 1990.

Applique! Applique! Applique!, by Laurene Sinema, NTC/Contemporary Publishing Company, 1995.


5 thoughts on “Happy Valentine’s Day!

  1. Thank you for sharing! Absolutely beautiful! More importantly – the joy of sharing your mom’s history. I have not appliquéd much but would be interested in something small 😀


    • Thanks, Ellen! I’m glad you enjoyed the post. I think many people are “afraid” of applique. I find it easier than piecing as it seems a little more forgiving. A simple piece is a great way to start. Please stop back to the blog tomorrow as I will have a book review of The Little Red Hen’s, “Quilting in the Coop.” I know Sue carries the book and there is a very simple, “Stars and Stripes Runner” (p. 12) that might fit the bill for you. It is a 3-panel/block runner with one appliqued star on each block. Very easy. If you try it or another applique, let us know how you make out. And you know help is just a click, call or stop away at O’Susannah’s. – Betsy


  2. The family album quilt is beautiful. I was doing a search for Laurene Sinema and your post is one of the things that came up.


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