In just under 2 weeks, the Quilt Alliance will headed to New York City for our Quilters Take Manhattan event. We’re busy preparing for the event, so we’re definitely in a New York state of mind! It seemed only fitting that we shine this week’s Q.S.O.S. Spotlight on New York Beauty quilts. There were a number of Q.S.O.S. interviews that featured a quilt made with New York Beauty blocks and even more that had a story about tacking this beauty of a block!

Jeri McKay shares a  red and white New York Beauty made by her great-great-grandmother. It’s both a stunning quilt and a symbol of Jeri’s life as a New Yorker!
ImageOkay, that was made by my great great grandmother Edna Frances Sanders Carrell. And it was passed on to me by my aunt who had a few of her quilts. I’m the only one now that has one of her quilts in the family. We never knew what happened to the others. She gave them to friends, but not to family at the time. It’s a New York Beauty and I found that I was given that in California, where I was born and raised. But the New York Beauty was not in a state that any of my family ever lived in. And it turned out that I lived the last half of my life in New York. And so it was really quite amazing how certain quilt patterns I have picked through my life, which I’ll probably mention later have turned out to be very portentous in what has happened in my future.

New York City might be bustling, but it was the natural world that inspired Jean Wells Keenan’s New York Beauty!


“Well I am kind of obsessed with gardening at the moment. I love to garden and Ihave always been a real outdoor person and like hiking and all of that and have been tuned into nature so I think most of my quilts have a feeling coming from nature because that is where I get inspired from. And I think what has happened with me personally is that you see things in nature that you might not be able to think up yourself like color combinations because it works there then it is going to work in a quilt so I really let that be my guide. And I don’t think I could have done this quilt had I not been a gardener and really tuned into the subject matter that inspired me.”

 Lucinda Mayan combined a 19th century pattern with a celebration of the upcoming 21st century:
14-31-22-1-qsos-a0a0j2-a_15370“It’s called the “Millennium Beauty.” It’s a New York Beauty design. I think that’s where all those little points get their name. It has eight millennium prints throughout the quilt. In the center the fabric has “Millennium” in fourteen different languages. It was just a way of expressing the year 2000 and it’s coming. I can’t believe it’s the year 2000, but it is. I quilted for a long time, and it was challenging. I wanted something that would challenge me. I like the traditional quilts, especially when you look at some of the older quilts. They have so much work and detail. I’m amazed at what they did years ago. You can still look back at them and appreciate what they did. I don’t know that we’ve gotten any better at what we’re doing. We’ve gotten faster. We’ve gotten more accurate ways of making our pieces, but what they did was just wonderful. As soon as I saw this one I thought, ‘Oh, I’d like to make that.’ When the challenge came I thought, ‘Well, this is what I want to do.’ I love fabric. I appreciate it. So I wanted a design where you could appreciate the fabric and what the artist did to design it. I just took the 2000 theme and went with it.”

Interested in reading more? You can find more quilt stories at the Quilters’ S.O.S.- Save Our Stories page on the Alliance’s site!


Posted by Emma Parker
Project Manager,  Quilters’ S.O.S.- Save Our Stories