Happy National Quilting Day! Quilts of the McKissick Museum

Happy National Quilting Day! I know most of us will be celebrating within the comfort of our own homes, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take a virtual tour of a wonderful quilt exhibit! Recently, my husband and son took a trip to the University of South Carolina in Columbia for a college visit. Much to my delight, they returned home with photos to the McKissick Museum, which is currently hosting the exhibit, “Piece by Piece: Quilts from the Permanent Collection.” I thought you might enjoy these quilt pix as much as I did!

From the McKissick’s description of the exhibit:

“Piece by Piece: Quilts from the Permanent Collection” illustrates the evolution of this textile tradition over the past one hundred and fifty years. From the early use of chintz fabrics to the widespread popularity of solid colors, these quilts reflect traditions with roots in Europe, Africa, and the American South. Visitors will have the opportunity to view 40+ quilts over the course of the show, chosen from McKissick Museum’s extensive quilt collection. Due to the fragile nature of historic textiles, individual quilts will be only be displayed for a limited time, with three rotations occurring throughout the year.

Established in 1976, the McKissick Museum is located at the heart of the historic Horseshoe on the University of South Carolina’s campus. Our collections date back to 1801 and provide insight into the history of the university and the community, culture, and environment of the American South.

Enjoy the quilts! P.S. To stay up-to-date on all of our news here at Quiltfiction, including new podcast episodes and special events, be sure to sign up for the Quiltfiction newsletter!



Barn Raising Log Cabin
Maker Unknown
Eastern Pennsylvania, ca. 1880-1910
Gift of Stephen H. Ackerman
This variation of the traditional log cabin block uses light and dark “logs” to frame a red square, which represent’s the home’s hearth. (McKissick Museum Collection 1998.09.112.02)


Crazy Quilt
Eva Lovelace Counts (1878-1942)
Prosperity, SC. 1926
McKissick Museum Collection


Figurative Applique, Original Pattern
Maker Unknown
Southeast. Ca. 1950
The block-style quilt features 20 0ff-white, black and brown female figures with outstretched arms. It appears the maker of this quilt may have adapted a paper doll pattern for her original design. The figures on some blocks are entirely machine pieced; other have machine-pieced bodies with hand appliquéd heads, suggesting perhaps more than one person worked on the quilt. It is hand-quilted in a clam shell pattern. (McKissick Museum Collection 2001.11.XX.01)


String Quilt
Anna Byrd (1910-unk.)
Spartanburg, SC. ca. 1930
Anna was born in Fairfield County, SC. She married James Byrd in 1925 and they had six children. The donor of this quilt was their oldest son, John W. Byrd. The African American maker of this quilt was especially skilled at juxtaposing light and dark fabric “strings” to great visual effect, which she quilted in long running stitches, with no definite design. (McKissick Museum Collection 2012.05.01)


Pinwheel Variation
Caroline Mahaffey Babb (1874-1947)
Fountain Inn, SC. ca. 1900
Gift of Gloria Burnside
Red, white and blue 3-patch design with distinctive sawtooth border. Neatly hand-stitched Pinwheel pattern, also called Clay’s Choice. When Nancy Cabot introduced this quilt pattern to Chicago Tribune readers in April 1933, she noted Henry Clay’s efforts in 1850 to introduce a compromise bill that would forestall the Civil War. (McKissick Museum Collection 2012.05.01)


Rectangle Quilt
Thomas Mack, Beaufort County, SC. 1999
Machine-sewn of rectangular, alternating pieces of burlap and handmade indigo prints made by Arianne King Comer. Burlap is from Idaho potato bags. (McKissick Museum Collection 1999.23.11.01)



Double Irish Chain
Maker Unknown, Chattooga County, Georgia, ca. 1880
Gift of Sarah M. Norton
McKissick Museum Collection 6.1804


Coxcomb Variation
Sarah Edith Coleman Colvin (1856-1930)
Fairfield County, SC. ca. 1880
Gift of Edith E. Adams in memory of Mary Colvin Adams and Eva Colvin
In what at first appears to be a traditional block-style, appliquéd, two-colored quilt, Colvin instead appliquéd the hand-pieced “coxcombs” onto muslin and then machine-quilted the background in a crisscross, diamond pattern. (McKissick Museum Collection 2001-03-138-02)




Outline Embroidered Quilt
Maker Unknown
South Carolina, ca. 1910
Single-colored, outline-embroidered quilts created from square that had been pre-stamped with a design were popular with needleworkers from 1910-1930. (McKissick Museum Collection 2013.11.100)



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