‘To England and Back,’ a quilting masterpiece

“To England and Back,” a quilting masterpiece, is on display at The San Juan Historical Society Museum May 12 through Sept. 19 as part of the special exhibit “Quilts from the Trunk of Cindy Vermillion Hamilton.”

This quilt took first place honors at the American Quilter’s Society Quilt Show and Contest held April 22-25, in Paducah, Ky. This was the 25th year for this prestigious show.

Hamilton entered “To England and Back” in the handmade quilts category. The entire top was hand pieced and finished with hand quilting. The quilt is made in the traditional medallion style with the utmost attention to detail. The colors are exquisite and the handwork is exceptional.

Fortunately for Pagosa Springs residents and visitors, the quilt was returned to Hamilton last week, just in time to be included in this show. This is a unique opportunity to see such an exceptional quilt. The only place it will be on display this summer is at our own museum.

Over 35 quilts will be included in the exhibit. With the exception of “To England and Back,” all of the quilts in the display are antique quilts collected over Hamilton’s years of studying quilt history. The quilts date from 1843.

‘Victorian Wheels’

You won’t want to miss the “Victorian Wheels” quilt on display. Hamilton tells us, ”This quilt attempts to capture the richness and luxury of Victorian crazy quilts while utilizing a wheel pattern that required much less time to stitch. A minimum of quilting fastens the blocks to the backing. For binding, the backing is brought to the front and secured with a feather stitch.”

The quilt is made of silks and rayon fabrics and is in remarkably good condition. It dates from about 1890.

This history of the quilt is that it was a wedding present for a daughter in the Herschmer family of Lyndhurst, Ohio. It was then handed down to the first daughter of the first child. The passing of the quilt ended when a granddaughter died before she had any children. Upon her death her possessions were auctioned.

Free admission

This summer, there will be no admission fee to the museum. The board of directors is making this offer to encourage more people to attend this unique exhibit and also take advantage of all of the interesting artifacts from Archuleta County’s history.

Voluntary donations will be accepted to defray operating expenses.

No quilts will be for sale, but the museum has a small gift shop, which will carry Hamilton’s book “Medallion Quilts Inspiration & Patterns.” Books of regional historical interest, vintage quilt patterns, historical playing cards and a few locally handcrafted items will also be available.

The San Juan Historical Society Museum is located at the corner of U.S. 160 and 1st Street on the eastern end of Pagosa Springs. It is open Tuesday through Saturday from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. Opening date for this season is May 12, closing date Sept. 19.

Be sure to take advantage of this special opportunity to visit Pagosa Springs’ own museum.


PREVIEW photo/Shari Pierce
“To England and Back,” is on display at The San Juan Historical Society Museum May 12 through Sept. 19 as part of the special exhibit “Quilts from the Trunk of Cindy Vermillion Hamilton.” The quilt took first place honors at the American Quilter’s Society Quilt Show and Contest held April 22-25, in Paducah, Ky.