Monday, August 9, 2010


SERENDIPITY: "The propensity for making fortuitous discoveries while looking for something unrelated."
On yesterday's post, I asked if anyone knew the designer of the antique redwork blocks I have been working on.
My gratitude goes to Allie who left a comment sharing that these are Ruby Short McKim designs from the book Mother Goose Quiltie.

Ruby Short McKim is nationally known as the top quilt designer of the 1920's and 1930's. I have read many articles on her work, and have always loved her quilt designs. I was unaware of her extensive redwork publications until Allie sent me to the McKim Studio's web site.

Here is where the serendipitous part comes in.
Ruby Short McKim was from Independence, Missouri the same city where my mother was born and raised.
Ruby would be a contemporary of my grandmother. They lived in the same town and gave birth to their children during the same time period.
I wonder if they knew each other?
AND, this is the same area where my genealogical research is taking place.
As Sue is helping me with my family history in Missouri, I am working on her quilts that have their origins from the same area.
Gives me chills just to think about it.

Taken from the McKim Studios:
Ruby Short McKim, known as “Grammy” to family, was a true Renaissance woman, way ahead of her time. She is nationally known as a top quilt designer of the 1920s and 1930s, but she was so much more. She was a fine artist who expressed her talent in many mediums, as well as a sharp business woman. Grammy was a devoted wife, loving mother and an attentive, loving grandmother. She had a tremendous impact on us all, making us all feel extra special.
Our family wants to bring Grammy’s life and her life’s work back to life, no longer packed away in dusty boxes in the attic. We are lighting up her legacy and want to share the joy of her life and beauty of her talent with those who would appreciate it.

Ruby Short McKim 1891-1976
McKim Studios:
"To her children and grandchildren she was an example of how a person, man or woman, can set and achieve goals. She believed in living life to the fullest, taking time to enjoy the beauty nature has to offer. She shared that beauty with family, friends and all who came to know her work. She was a woman ahead of her time, and one that will be remembered by many for a long time to come."
Ruby was inducted into the Quilters Hall of Fame in 2002.


Chartreuse Moose said...

We love a good mystery and this a great one! How fun to journey along as you unravel possible links to your own family heritage! Hmm, do we have a quote for this...maybe "the needle doesn't fall from the quilter"? :-))) Good luck in your sleuthing!

AnnieO said...

Bloggers are so helpful! Glad you found the thread of the clue, LOL, and that it lead straight to your family's background. I know Ruby's name and have read it many times in quilting mags. How fun to imagine she was known to your family.

Jane's Fabrics and Quilts said...

That is one of my favorite words!! and boy does it fit this situation! Wow, history just seems to find you Nedra. That is so exciting!! I love the red work blocks and cannot wait to see what you do with them.

Nanette Merrill said...

Flora and Bonnie Miles talked about her last year at a meeting we had celebrating the 30s. I loved the photo of her and her husband. She looks like any woman from that era. I was unaware of that book though and unaware of her redwork too. This is what the cool thing about family history is Nedra. Things will drop in our laps if we only look.

Jan Marie said...

This is so cool. I think it would be fun to imagine that maybe they did know each other.

Nat Palaskas said...

Thank you, thank you Nedra for spreading the good word on Ruby McKim, I love her story and own one of her book. History of the pattern or quilt makes it more interesting to create a new quilt. We quilters are romantic at heart. I will following along with you in your adventure of making this quilt - Hugs Nat

Allie said...

Glad I could help and WOW you really picked the right word for all this - serendipity! Gives me chills. I wonder if Sue's family could have known her too???

Rosalyn Manesse said...

One of the first quilting books I ever bought was Ruby Short Mckim--and back in 1962 quilting books were hard to find.

Material Mary said...

Love the history of this great quilt designer. Thanks