A Shower of Flowers: Nancy Mahoney and Her Fabulous (Vintage and New) Floral-Themed Quilts
The multi-talented Nancy Mahoney
Over the years, Nancy Mahoney and I have crossed “professional paths” many times. I’ve edited a number of her books for Martingale & Company; more than once, she has generously lent me vintage quilts from her extensive collection, including five beauties for my appearance on The Quilt Show (Episode 805).
Nancy, who lives in Palm Coast, FL, is a prolific quiltmaker, author (12 books and counting!), teacher, editor, and pattern designer. She also designs fabric and creates quilts for P&B Textiles, and has been collecting quilts for many years, with a particular interest in those from the 1930s, which she began acquiring well before they had achieved their current, highly collectible status.
As is typical of quilts from that period, many of Nancy’s vintage quilts showcase wonderful floral designs.
This floral-themed Dresden Daisy Chain dates from the 1930s. It’s from Nancy’s collection; she lent it to me for my appearance on The Quilt Show.
“Prior to the 1930s, floral designs were much more abstract,” Nancy explains, “but in the ’30s, these designs became more realistic; a rose looked like a rose. Favorite traditional patterns were rediscovered, while some patterns, such as Double Wedding Ring, appeared for the first time.” Syndicated patterns appeared in newspapers across the country, often attributed to fictitious designers with names like Laura Wheeler and Alice Brooks. Kits were popular as well.
This wonderful 1930s Pansy quilt–also from Nancy’s collection–was made from a kit. Similar kits were available from Needlecraft Magazine for $3.49 and included applique shapes stamped for cutting, and a top pre-marked for applique and quilting.
Detail of Nancy’s vintage Pansy quilt
Tulip Patch, 78 3/4″ x 91 3/8″, designed by Nancy Mahoney, made by Loretta Sylvester, and machine quilted by Kelly Wise
Rose and Bow Wreath, 60 1/2″ x 60 1/2″, designed by Nancy Mahoney, made by Julie Sheckman, and machine quilted by Nan Moore
Peony Garden, 72 5/8″ x 84 5/8″, designed and made by Nancy Mahoney, machine quilted by Dawn Kelly
Flower Garden, 46 1/2″ x 55 3/4″, designed and made by Nancy Mahoney, machine quilted by Nan Moore
This next quilt is from Nancy’s classic book, Treasures from the ’30s. It’s one of eight wonderful designs–many of them flower themed–patterned in its pages.
Bell Flowers, 64″ x 64″, designed and made by Nancy Mahoney, machine quilted by Nan Moore
Here’s the cover of Treasures, so you can look for it at your favorite quilt shop.
The final three quilts appear in one of Nancy’s most recent books, aptly titled Fast, Fusible Flower Quilts.