Discover Vintage America - MAY 2018

Chintz and Signature Quilts of the early 1800s
Antique quilt extravaganza –
Overland Park, KS – June 7-9

Antique quilt lovers mark your calendars! A one of a kind antique quilt event is coming to Kansas City this June featuring quilts from the early to mid 1800s. MOKA (Missouri, Oklahoma, Kansas, Arkansas Quilt Study Group) will present its first seminar on Chintz & Signature Quilts of the Early 19th Century. This two and a half day conference features several national quilt historians and focuses on early floral fabrics, appliqué quilts, and signature quilts.

Detail dated 1843 Chintz signature quilt, Pennsylvania Quaker (Starley quilt collection)

They will present their beautiful antique period quilts and research on the history of the designs, styles, quilt makers and culture that defined this era. If you can't get enough of the beauty and vitality of old chintz and signature quilts, then this conference is your opportunity to see them up close as you've never seen them before.

I am privileged to have been selected as the featured presenter. I will be presenting two programs. The first is "Birds and Blooms", which will feature remarkable floral and bird appliqué quilts and early chintz fabrics from the 1830s to 1850s. The second program is "Sign of the Times", early signature quilts from the 1840s to 1860s. I will display quilts from my collection, focusing on quilts from Pennsylvania (and neighboring states) many with Quaker origins. I've made many interesting discoveries while researching the genealogy of family names inscribed on these heartfelt objects of friendship, family, and faith.

International lecturer and collector, Lori Triplett of Kansas will also share her love of early fabrics and quilts. Lori will be presenting "The Case of the 200-Year-Old Chintz Birds", exploring this "flighty" imagery while attempting to solve a perplexing mystery!" She'll show a select group of extraordinary Chintz quilts from the Poos (Triplett) Collection throughout her presentation. She has written widely on the subject, including Chintz Quilts, one of several books co-authored with her sister, Kay Triplett (

Pennsylvania Quaker Signature Quilt dated 1850 (Starley quilt collection)

Independent quilt historian and exhibition curator, Anita Loscalzo of Massachusetts will share her knowledge of the era gleaned from years of researching early quilts. She will present her research paper "Whence Garlands, Swags, Bowknots and Baskets? Four Neoclassical Design Motifs Found in American Quilts." Written for the American Quilt Study Group, it explores the origins of these motifs in architectural elements and how they came to be assimilated into the design vernacular of American quilt makers in the early 19th century.

Professional quilt restorer, Ann Wasserman of Illinois will share her restoration adventures in a slide lecture "Quilt Repair Tales." Her images will illustrate the different types and techniques of antique quilt restorations she has performed over 20-plus years in this field. See for her book, Preserving Our Quilt Legacy.

This marvelous event will kick off on June 7 at the Johnson County Arts & Heritage Center Museum, Overland Park. Join MOKA for a special behind the scenes tour of the collections storage area. Friday and Saturday's venue is Scheel's Event Center in Overland Park. Cost for all three days including lunch on Friday is $100. Partial registration for Friday only is $85 and Saturday only is $45. Visit the MOKA Quilt Study Group Facebook page for more information. Message Martha Spark there, or email me (see below). Seminar registration deadline is May 21.

The lodging reservation deadline is May 6 at the Drury Inn & Suites Kansas City Overland Park, 800-325-0720. Don't forget to bring a favorite chintz, early signature, or reproduction chintz quilt for show and share.

Sandra Starley is nationally certified quilt appraiser, quilt historian, and avid antique quilt collector. She travels throughout the U.S. presenting talks on antique quilt history, fabric dating classes and trunk shows as well as quilting classes. Learn more at Send your comments and quilt questions to

Covering Quilts Archive past columns