Southern Quilts from the Kathlyn Sullivan Collection

Event Picture
Date: Sep 20 - Feb 17
Venue: International Quilt Study Center & Museum
Location: 1523 N 33rd St.
Ticket Price: $8 Adults, $6 Seniors (age 65+), $4 Child (age 5-18), Free for Child (under 5) and UNL faculty, staff and students
Time: 10am-4pm Tues.-Sat., 1-4pm Sun. (May-October), Closed Mondays
Phone: (402) 472-6549

Today, quilt collectors and aficionados know the bright, yellow-orange fabrics that were staples of late nineteenth-century quilts as “cheddar.” The color became especially prevalent in the parts of the United States that were settled by German immigrants: southeastern Pennsylvania, Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina. Quilts from these areas share the colors and motifs of German folk art, but Southern quiltmakers favored particular elements: contrasting dark colors, sashing (the device of separating quilt blocks with horizontal and vertical strips), the use of white as a ground color, and the serrated effect achieved by edging larger shapes with small triangular pieces. In this selection of cheddar quilts from the Kathlyn Sullivan Collection, we see these characteristics, as well as others common to Southern quilts, like heavy cotton batting, and “fan” or “elbow” style quilting, in which curvilinear lines emanate from the quilter’s elbow, which was used as a fulcrum.