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Updated 2/8/11
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Rail Fence (my first quilt)
by Caryl Bryer Fallert
Printable version (272k PDF)

  • Copyright 1976 Caryl Bryer Fallert
  • Size:  80" x 90"
  • Techniques: machine pieced and tied
  • Materials: fabric: 100% cotton and cotton/poly blends  / batting: old wool-knit filled quilt
  • Price: nfs

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Design Concept & Process
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Design Concept

In 1974, my husband and I bought an old farm in Missouri from Ida Vohs, a 79 year old woman who made quilts. She had closets full of quilts, and I was entranced when she got them out and showed them to us. At that time I was a painter, and also dabbled in a number of other media. I had been sewing since I was ten years old and quilting seemed like one more fun thing to try, so I bought a book on quilts from the literary guild. In that first book was a picture of a quilt called "Rail Fence". It seemed pretty simple, and I figured I could make it without a pattern. So I gave it a try.

This is my very first quilt, made in 1976. I didn't know very much about quilts or how to make them, so I made a single template out of cardboard and cut out each piece with scissors. The print fabrics are drapery samples from a book of disconued walpaper samples. The solid fabrics are heavy "triger" cotton/poly blends. I laid out the pieces like a knitting pattern and began to sew. The whole quilt was made with 5/8" seam allowances, and when I started to sew the rows together I discovered that accurate cutting and seaming might have made the task easier. I didn't know how to quilt, so I tied it with knitting yarn, using a sheet as a backing. Instead of batting I used an old, very used up quilt that had been made my my husband's grandmother. It was filled with layers of thin, white, wool, knitted fabric, which I can only conclude was worn out long underwear. The finished patchwork conforter weighs about fifteen pounds, and keeps us very warm even on the coldest night.

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Exhibitions and Awards:
  • none

Publications

  • First Quilt/Last Quilt series Quilters Newsletter Magazine, 1990's
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Bryerpatch Studio • 502 N. 5th St. • Paducah, KY 42001 • USA
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