A Light Frost

By: Gale Slagle
Irvine, California

The appearance of kit quilts began soon after the First World War and their popularity progressed long into the twentieth-century without being affected by the Depression and another World War. Despite their cost women found the money to purchase these kits even during periods of economic instability. Quilt kits were originally assembled by cottage industries and later manufactured by commercial companies. Kit quilts were convenient and provided the pattern and instructions, high-grade cotton fabric, and the notions necessary to make a quilt top. Appliquéd designs were usually uncomplicated floral patterns or other clever motifs using solid-colored fabrics.

In recent years, vintage kit quilts and quilt kits have become an important addition to quilt collections. I found my inspiration quilt at an antique swap meet about 10 years ago, and have since obtained a partly completed kit, and an unused kit of the same pattern. This Snowflake Block Quilt (pattern # 01001) is a lovely example of a kit made by a commercial company called Paragon. A completed quilt using this kit was even featured on the cover of the February 1975, Quilter’s Newsletter Magazine.

For my study quilt, I chose to use four blocks from the partly finished vintage kit. In this kit, the appliqué pieces and quilting lines were stamped on the fabric. I imagine that the person who began this kit would be pleased to have a portion of it completed for the quilt study. The most difficult part of making this quilt was machine quilting on the preprinted quilting lines as they were designed for hand quilting. I liked the convenience of using a kit quilt; however, I found that a certain level of sewing and appliqué skills are necessary to complete one.