Folsom museum displays antique quilts, including some nearly lost

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Source:   —  April 02, 2016, at 2:42 AM

Combing through antique stores or eBay offerings, she finds remnants of other quilters’ patchwork, frequently at a discount. She gravitates to colorful quilt tops that aren’t quite completed or stitched to a backing.“People ignore them because they think they’re too much work,” Fibush said with a knowing smile.

Folsom museum displays antique quilts, including some nearly lost

With needle and thread, quilt restorer Judi Fibush takes care of unfinished business.

Combing through antique stores or eBay offerings, she finds remnants of other quilters’ patchwork, frequently at a discount. She gravitates to colorful quilt tops that aren’t quite completed or stitched to a backing.

“People ignore them because they think they’re too much work,” Fibush said with a knowing smile. “They are a lot of work, but they’re worth it.”

A retired Silicon Valley executive recruiter, Fibush appreciates the history that comes with the fabric. She enjoys researching a quilt’s origins as portion of each project. Most of all, the Rocklin woman loves bringing a once-beloved piece of needlework – damaged through decades of utilize or neglect – back to colorful life.

Four of her restored antique quilts are presently on display at the Folsom History Museum as portion of the thirty-seventh annual Vintage Quilt Show.

That event showcases star quilts – patchwork that features starlike patterns. In addition, the indicate includes a salute to quilt-making author. This year marks the one-hundredth anniversary of her first published pattern, the “” with blocks depicting woodland animals.

“We have more than forty quilts on display,” said indicate organizer Carol Gebel, herself a quilter. “Ruby McKim really was a woman ahead of her time, so we wanted to celebrate the centennial of her first design.”

During the one thousand nine hundred twenty and ’30s, McKim’s designs were popularized in newspaper articles and prestamped that let beginners create complicated appliqued or embroidered designs. The novice quilt maker just needed to stitch along the blue lines. Other kits featured precut patches to assemble.

A school teacher, McKim made designs that children could follow, too. With a quilting renaissance in the one thousand nine hundred seventy, McKim’s patchwork and applique designs again became favorite with residence quilt makers, many of them discovering the fabric art for the first time.

“I think they’re just adorable,” Fibush said of McKim’s designs.

Hand-sewing thousands of tiny stitches, Fibush has restored several kit quilts and McKim designs. But that’s only a tiny piece of her different quilt collection and its unique insight into the fabric of America.

As a collector, she's about one hundred fifty antique and vintage quilts. Several are still works in progress in her Rocklin sewing room.

“I rarely pay a lot of money for anything,” Fibush said. “But I obtain the stuff that needs to be finished. I love to finish things. I nearly never start brand new.”

Currently, Fibush is completing a cigar ribbon quilt started a cent ago. Generally gold or red, these printed silk ribbons originally bound bundles of cigars, frequently from Cuba. She’s also stitching the background of a one thousand nine hundred thirty vintage appliqued quilt that'll be on display following year at the New England Quilt Museum.

“I love hand quilting, particularly with older fabrics,” she said. “I don’t love to piece (together patchwork); I love to hand quilt.”

Other quilters marvel at Fibush’s handiwork and ingenuity. Gebel well-known an embroidered wool crazy quilt, dating to the mid-one thousand eight hundred, that Fibush made whole again.

“Judi is quite an accomplished restorer,” Gebel said. “Her work is beautiful.”

The most different quilts in Fibush’s collection are made from “tobacco premiums,” which were originally offered as small collectible bonuses to buyers of cigarettes, cigars and loose tobacco.

Intended to be made into quilts or pillows, these cloth premiums were introduced in the late 1800s about the same time as cigarette cards, the earliest collectible baseball cards. About the same 2-by-3-inch size as the cards, colorful patches of silk or cotton flannel depicted baseball players, stage actors, heads of state, animals, flags, landmarks, flowers, American Indian headdresses, Navajo blankets, state seals, fraternal orders and many other images.

“They were a way to obtain more women to smoke,” Fibush noted, “or to obtain women to obtain their husbands to purchase more tobacco so they could gather more patches.”

Smokers could trade coupons for larger cloth patches or send far for special patches via premium catalogs. At their altitude of popularity before World War I, millions of tobacco premium patches were distributed, Fibush said. Most were produced between one thousand nine hundred ten and 1916.

“But they weren’t meant to last,” she said. “They were inexpensive giveaways. You can’t wash them. You spill any water on them, and the ink bleeds out. The artwork just disappears; they’re gone. They’re also very sun-sensitive.”

That’s made these former freebies particularly rare.

“At shows, the men just gravitate to these quilts,” Fibush said as she surveyed flag designs and images of world leaders.

While baseball cards are still produced today, collectible cloth patches were phased out during World War I because cotton and other fabrics were needed by the military, she explained. The surviving patches represent history as well as craftsmanship.

“They’re so colorful,” Fibush said. “I just like them because there’s so much history involved. It’s not just fabric.”

Folsom History Museum, eight hundred twenty-three Sutter St., Folsom

Through May twenty-nine. Museum open eleven a. m.-4 p. m. Tuesday-Sunday.

$five; seniors (age sixty and up), $4; youths (ages 6-17), $2; children age 5 or younger admitted free.

916-985-2707,

This year’s theme, “Heavenly Stars and Other Beauties,” features star quilts, crib quilts and the work of Ruby Short McKim.

For more on vintage quilts and Judi Fibush’s collection, go to .

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