Hazel Carter

Did you enjoy the 2020 Virtual Celebration? I sure did!  While nothing takes the place of seeing quilts “in the cloth” and getting together in person with quilting friends, it was still a fun experience.  Maybe you bought something in the vendor mall or bid on an auction item—thanks for your support of The Quilters Hall of Fame. I’ve put some links to quilters featured during the Virtual Celebration 2020 below.

Usually I write about persons who have been inducted as Honorees of the Hall of Fame, but today I’m going to tell you about one person who’s behind it all.  We wouldn’t have The Quilters Hall of Fame or Celebration without her, but since she’s not an Honoree, you may not know her.

Hazel Carter is the Founder of the Quilters Hall of Fame; she began honoring inductees at the 1979 Continental Quilting Congress (which she had also founded).  When asked in an interview what aspect of her research or contribution to textile studies satisfied her the most, she replied, “I saw The Quilters Hall of Fame officially opened to the public in July 2004. Our book on Honorees (was) published at the same time.”  Here’s a photo of the 2011 printing of the book:

This is a beautiful coffee-table book and a font of information about the Museum and Honorees, and it’s still available for purchase on the Hall of Fame website (link below).  Hazel has every right to be proud.

Hazel Carter is still an Honorary Board member of TQHF, and will always be closely connected with the Museum (we hope), but she’s got her own story to tell too.

Back in 1972, Hazel ran across and article about the renowned 1708 Levens Hall bed furnishings, and she began her serious study of quilt history.  She went to England to view the ensemble in person and in 1985 wrote her own article about them in Lady’s Circle Patchwork Quilts. Here’s a photo of what started it all for Hazel; you can see why she was interested—think about those fabrics being available when the US was still colonial!

Screenshot of the Levens Hall quilt taken from “Anonymous Needlework: Uncovering British Patchwork 1680-1820. Bridget Long, may 2014.

Hazel went on to write numerous articles, for the popular quilting magazines of her day, for her professional appraisal colleagues, and for the American Quilt Study Group.  Here’s a partial list of her publications:

And that list doesn’t include the numerous articles she’s written for the Quilters Hall of Fame Newsletter. Or the many exhibits she has curated at the Marion IN Public Library in conjunction with Hall of Fame Celebrations.

Her interest in quilt history also inspired Hazel to organize one of the earliest series of international quilt tours, with tours to England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales in 1981 and 1985 and to New Zealand, Australia, and Hawaii in 1986. These days, we think nothing of retreats, quilting cruises, shopping trips to London for quilts, but it was all new back then, and Hazel was in the forefront of organizing the fun.

Hazel is a quilter herself. She was born in Iowa and she credits her mother, Grace McDowell, and her grandmother, Elsie McVey, with starting her off in quilting as a child. Here’s one of her quilts which is featured in the Hall of Fame book.

Star of Bethlehem Revisited | Made by Hazel Carter | 1990–1997|. This quilt was selected for a card, Quilt Cards by the Quilted Page, and exhibited at the American Quilt Study Group Annual Seminar in Williamsburg, Virginia, October 2001. Photo by Khoury and Latil, courtesy of Hazel Carter.

In addition to being a quilt history devotee, Hazel has been an appraiser of quilted textiles. Since you need to be able to determine the age of a quilt to know its value, she and her quilting buddy, Bunnie Jordan, organized the Fabric Dating Club, an informal research and study group that has been meeting in Virginia since 1995. And, as if three groups weren’t enough for any one woman to start up, Hazel also began Quilters Unlimited which now has 11 chapters of active quilters in the northern Virginia area. Phew! What a remarkable woman!

You would think that the Hall of Fame would have many Carter artifacts in its Collection, but I couldn’t find much.  And the reason for that may be because Hazel seems to be giving things away.  I don’t think a year goes by when there isn’t some Hazel Carter donation made for the Celebration auction.  And some years, she buys items from other Honorees and gifts them back to Collections; we’ve gotten Sally Garoutte silk screen prints and Mary Schafer quilt blocks from the Joyce Gross collection that way.  Thanks, Hazel.  These and your other contributions to The Quilters Hall of Fame have been many.

Next week, I’ll get back to my rotation of Honorees, but I hope that whenever you think about The Quilters Hall of Fame, you remember and cherish Hazel Carter.

Your quilting friend,


Hall of Fame book https://shop.quiltershalloffame.net/products/the-quilters-hall-of-fame-42-masters-who-have-shaped-our-art

‘E’ is for Easy and Eleanor Burns

If you were quilting in the late 1970s and 80s, you were lucky to have Eleanor Burns; she made quilting easy.  She pioneered the use of time-saving devices like rotary cutters and specialty rulers, and showed you how to make a quilt in a day. And if you didn’t start out with Eleanor, she’s still someone you should know about because she’s still going strong. If you want to see Eleanor in action, join The Quilters Hall of Fame Virtual Celebration 2020 and watch her video on July 17th about log cabin quilts.

I’ve made a few log cabins in my day: a pair of flannel ones that cover our couches in the winter, the one in my profile picture using my hand-dyed fabric, the straight furrows setting I showed in the post about Jean Wells, and this top.

(Yes those are little fussy-cut log cabins.)

But, even though this is a basic block, I’ll bet I can learn something from Eleanor, so I plan to watch the video.  She will probably demonstrate the use of her log cabin ruler which is on sale now through Connecting Threads (link below)

The log cabin block is a fitting subject for Celebration; Eleanor launched her quilting operations with “Make a Quilt in a Day: Log Cabin Pattern” published in 1967. She went on to write 125 quilting books including several more in the Quilt in a Day series, and she named her business Quilt in a Day. Here are some of the titles still available, from the original to the 6th edition.

Eleanor is also known for her early promotion of strip piecing—another way to make a quilt easily. Many of her students are proud to say, “Eleanor Burns taught me to strip”, and some have the t-shirt to prove it. If you’ve been to Quilt Week in Paducah, you know Eleanor for great shopping—the year I went, she had three locations around town, including one in tents where she offered sales on a different color every day. You can still shop with Eleanor virtually (link below). There are 240 different rulers and template sets; I came away with one for Winding Ways that has helpful registration marks—I’ll post if I ever get something made with it.  And a nice feature of the fabric store is a link to other fabrics in the same line; if you see something on sale, you can check whether companion fabrics are available.

But although she is an energetic and successful quilt entrepreneur, Eleanor Burns is a teacher at heart. With her BS in Ed (same as me, a long time ago), she has the perfect background to know how to reach and motivate students.  And she’s generous with it; you can find dozens of videos and free patterns on her website—if you want a really rowdy, fun time, try the block party series. Or, check out some of the episodes on the playlist below. Why didn’t I find these at the beginning of shelter in place?  If I had watched a video once a week, and tried the techniques Eleanor demonstrates, imagine how much my quilting repertoire would have improved!

And in her spare time, she has designed several fabric collections for Benartex, Inc., including “Eleanor’s Anniversary Florals,” “Rainbow Florals,” “Yours Truly, Eleanor Burns,” Yours Truly Holiday,” Magic Vine,” “Victory Garden,” “Ellie Ann,” and “Zoey Christine.” .”  Below are samples from her recent Garden Party Collection (from the Benartex website). I think I could make a quilt out of this line—it’s so fresh!

It’s no wonder that Eleanor Burns is a Quilters Hall of Fame Honoree. But look at this list of other awards and recognition:

  • Primedia Awards of Excellence, 1992, 1994, 1998, 2003
  • Business Advocate Award for San Diego 1993
  • San Diego Book Awards Association Certificate for Outstanding Accomplishments 1993
  • Michael Kyle Award of the San Diego Book Awards Association for outstanding accomplishments in “How To” books
  • American Quilter’s Society All-American Quilter 2005
  • Michael Kile Lifetime Achievement Award given by Quilts, Inc. (host of International Quilt Market)
  • Spokesperson for Elna sewing machines and for Baby Lock Quilters Dream machines

With all those accolades, you might wonder if Eleanor Burns has a swelled head—no such thing!  She’s the most down to earth person around. She’s been described as a “scream” and a “hoot”, and she’s not afraid to dress up and have a little fun. These photos are from the Quilters Hall of Fame archives, but you might also see her like this in Paducah.

Eleanor’s designs are well-represented on the Quilt Index.  This sampling shows not only to her popularity, but also her ability to teach so many. None of these quilts is flashy or modern, but each one is a reminder of the impact Eleanor Burns has had, and continues to enjoy, on the world of quilting.

So, how was that for eye candy?  If you want more, Eleanor has a Facebook page, Quilt in a Day and Eleanor Burns, and you can keep up with her there.

And one more reminder: check the Quilters Hall of Fame website for details on Eleanor’s Log Cabin video on July 17 during our Virtual Celebration (https://quiltershalloffame.net/).

Your quilting friend,


Connecting Threads site: https://www.connectingthreads.com/quilt-in-a-day-log-cabin-ruler/p/82595

Quilt in a Day shopping https://www.quiltinaday.com/shoponline/

Free patterns https://www.quiltinaday.com/freepattern/

Playlist https://www.youtube.com/c/quiltinaday/playlists?view=1&flow=grid