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Quite the Collection

Our founders, Ryan and Dakota Redford started this week out driving half way across the country for a highly anticipated event in Arizona. It wasn't a sewing machine convention, or even a quilt convention. It was to meet one very special couple, Ralph and Lynn Miller.

For quite a while now Dakota and Lynn have been forming a bond, a friendship over the love of old quilts! Now, admittingly Dakota is still learning and Lynn says she is still learning also, BUT she is quite the wealth of knowledge! Lynn has been a quilt collector, quilt dealer and of course amazing quilter for close to 30 years!

With a quick trip planned, Dakota and Lynn soaked up every minute they could to pour over Lynn's beautiful collection. There may have been some drooling involved and Dakota knows better - she will bring her own bib next time!

I am not sure how it happened, but I didn't take any pictures at Lynn's place. This photo, provided by Lynn, shows a small corner of her long arm quilting space.

And here are a couple collages that show a few of her quilts in reds and whites, or red, whites and greens

Here is a little bit information - from Lynn herself.....

"I am a retired bookkeeper, happily married to my best friend for 55 years. We have 3 children and 7 grandchildren, number 8 is on the way. I am a quilt maker, antique quilt collector, student of quilt history, and a vintage quilt and linen rescuer.

From my earliest memories, sewing of some kind has been in my soul and spirit. I often wonder where it came from. I am an only daughter of an only daughter, with grandparents long gone by the time I was born in 1950. My mother was the typical housewife of the late 40’s and 50’s. My only exposure to sewing from her was sewing on a button, if anything more was needed it was done by a seamstress in our little hometown in Missouri. I was always digging for scraps of fabric from the “rag bag” to make doll clothes for my Barbie, all by hand. At thirteen my mother bought me a sewing machine for my birthday. I took sewing classes in junior high and high school. I enjoyed making clothes for myself, decorating for my home and making clothes and costumes for my children.

In 1987 I remember going to an antique store and seeing some wonderful antique quilts. Of course they were not something I could afford. I decided I should learn to make quilts. Living in Tucson, Arizona at the time and not knowing anyone who was a quilter, I looked in the yellow pages under “Quilt Store” and listed was one store, the Quilt Basket on Grant Road. I called on the phone to inquire if they had classes. I signed up over the phone for a six week class on beginning quilt making.

At the first class, taught by Pat Smith one of the shop owners, I was immediately hooked. Pat was a purest (cotton, cotton, cotton) and taught everything by hand, I feel very lucky to have had her as my first quilt teacher. I like all parts of the quilting experience, from designing to sewing on the binding and everything in between.

In 1994 I joined and became very active in the Tucson Quilt Guild. I was on the board for several years. Wearing many different hats, from treasurer, quilt show hanging chair, and quilt show vendor chair. For many years I was very active in the Tucson Appliqué Society. We were always making a quilt to be donated for charity. I have to say Laurene Sinema (1929-2003), owner of the Quilted Apple in Phoenix, Arizona, Arizona Quilters Hall of Fame 2008, was a big influence on my quilt making and my antique quilt collecting. She taught appliqué which is my favorite type of quilt to make.

In 1999 I started to collect antique quilts especially crib quilts made from kits produced from the 30’s to the 60’s. I have a large collection of over 350 antique crib quilts. I research the different manufacturers and designers of my antique kit quilts. I love to talk about and show my antique quilt collection. I collect Redwork Quilts, Mountain Mist, Kit Quilts, Star Quilts, and Red and Green Quilts.

In 2021 I donated my 20th century crib quilt collection to the International Quilt Museum in Lincoln, NE.

I make quilts and like to have several different project to work on and still am trying to finish all those work in progress I started from the 1990’s. Making charity quilts is still one of my favorite things to do. I do long arm quilting for several charity groups in Gilbert, AZ. I have entered several quilts in our local Arizona quilt shows and have several ribbons. The most recent is a quilt I made using vintage and antique linens, pillow covers, and dresser scarves. It won a first place in the Patriotic category. I plan on making more quilts using my collection of antique linens.

I have a blog about my antique quilts called Quilts Vintage and Antique.

In 2009 I started a Facebook group called Quilts Vintage and Antique, there are over 5700 members worldwide and over 40,000 photos of quilts (I don’t allow photos of anything but quilts on the Facebook group). It is a great source for learning and sharing info on antique quilt designs, fabric, and makers. I call it a virtual photo museum for antique and vintage quilts. Most of my quilt collection will never be in a museum, it is a great place to share quilts with others who appreciate antique quilts.

See my YouTube channel for some of my antique quilt collection.

I am one of the founders of the Arizona Quilt Documentation Project, begun in August 2012. Getting Arizona quilts and their makers documented all around Arizona is a very exciting project. Currently taking a lot of my time. One goal is to document the quilts in our Arizona Museums. I take most of the photos for the project. With the help of many volunteers Arizona now has over 5000 quilts on the database of the Quilt Index.

Now it seems I have another hat on my head. Being the caretaker/curator/shepherd of the Emma Andres Collection. (See my blog about Emma ). I just wanted to save Emma’s quilts and not have the collection get separated. I had no idea when I purchased the quilts that a huge collections of letters from Carrie Hall, Florence Peto, Charles Pratt and other well-known quiltmakers from the 1940 were included. Along with watercolor paintings by Emma, handmade dolls by Carrie Hall, a Charles Pratt quilt and letters. My goal is for Emma’s quilts to be seen by many. For her ephemera to be available for further research and her story to be told for all to hear. Hoping everything can get to the proper facility where research can happen. I think the collection is a very important part of our quilt heritage. I am happy to say Emma’s collection is now at the International Quilt Museum in Lincoln, NE.

Here is a sweet news story about sweet Emma- you will adore her!

I was Featured on Pat Sloan’s Podcast. Pat is a great interviewer. This was a lot of fun to do. CLICK HERE to listen in!

I photographed all of the DCWM quilts published in the catalog “Following the Thread: Quilts from the Desert Caballeros Western Museum Collection”. More information about their collection and their upcoming exhibits. ""

Isn't Lynn just great?

This visit to Lynn and Ralph was an absolute blessing for Dakota & Ryan. They are two fantastic people with a love and passion for vintage and antique quilts that is hard to surpass. They spent their vacations perusing antique stores all over the country to create an incredible collection- the best I have ever seen!

The additional blessing - we brought dozen of dozens of these beauties back to the Missouri Quilt Museum! We are delighted to share with you many of the fantastic quilts that the Millers have been collecting over the years. You will love them!

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