The Story Behind the Cigar Box Quilt Kit
I began collecting old quilts many years ago after inheriting a few from family. The softness of the colors and patterns fascinates me. I also love the fact that they are not precise. We tend to think that every quilt must be perfect, it does not. When you study old quilts, you quickly see that most of them are anything but precise, however, we continue to cherish them.
In 1992, I purchased an old wooden cigar box with a broken lid at an auction for $1. The thing that made me bid was a small bit of patchwork sticking out of the corner. It was red and blue and just cute.
When I opened the box it was a treasure trove of a little girls’ life. In it is the piece of patchwork as well as some scraps of the fabrics, a template made from cardboard 1” square, an old newspaper clipping with pictures of animals on it. She had transferred the animals onto a piece of canvas and embroidered some of the animals with some string that is wrapped around a tiny, hand-carved hatchet (why, who knows?). There are Sunday School party invitations dating from 1905 as well as cards and notes from friends and teachers, all dating prior to 1905. There is a full set of dishes that has been cut from a magazine; the plates are about 1” in diameter. Just collectibles from this little girl.
It made me wonder what future generations will find and save from us. Obviously they will find a lot of quilts and quilting supplies. I cannot imagine someone bidding on a plastic tub with a bit of patchwork sticking out; besides, I am certain our great grandmothers did not have plastic tubs. So I thought of the cigar box! Of course, our great grandmothers had these.
I began to copy my older quilts in new, reproduction fabrics and write the directions using modern technology and methods of quilting. Voila’, The Cigar Box Quilt was born!
These quilt kits are exclusive to The Quilter’s Quarters, Inc and come packaged in actual cigar boxes. Each quilt is made just like the original one, same size and colors (as close as we can get to the original). Most are not what we think of as standard sizes because the beds were not the same size when these were made. And a lot of the time the quilters were not making quilts to be used as bed covers as we use them, they were making bed covers to keep you warm at night, they did not hang over the edges of the bed like a spread. Sometimes they were simply pieced until the quilter ran out of fabric or got tired of making it and stopped. Many have unusual border treatments and bindings. I just love to find one that has small patches that have been pieced from several pieces of fabric to make it large enough. They are fun and easy and give you a chance to own a ‘vintage’ quilt without having to try to find one.