Bugle Boy Blog

Quilting 101

Quilts are always one of the most popular items at our estate sales. I understand why…they are beautiful and represent so many hours of work. I was curious as to the history of American quilting and decided to do a little research.

To start, the word “quilt” comes from the Latin word “culcita,” meaning stuffed sack. Early quilters would fill top and bottom layers of the quilt to provide additional warmth.

Quilting came to America with the early settlers. Quilts we’re practical in the beginning, used for keeping warm in bed as well as covering windows and doors to protect against drafts. Quilts we’re not so decorative at this time as time was scarce because of all the other chores early settlers needed to accomplish every day. In addition, fabrics were expensive as most were imported and those produced locally were not affordable for most families. Women would repurpose old clothes and scraps of fabrics to make their quilts. Many times, worn quilts would be patched with scraps of fabric, generating the term “patchwork.”

According to Barb Bergquist, author of “The History of Quilting,” it wasn’t until the early 1800’s the whole cloth quilts became popular. It was at this time that the quilts received appreciation for the intricate and decorative stitching and cording. Different types of quilts began based on the needs of early Americans. Some quilts had extra layers sewn between the top and bottom layers to create additional warmth. Lighter quilts were made with just top and bottom layers for warmer nights.

Quilting was a skill passed on to each generation. Young girls would make quilts in preparation for marriage. Additionally, mothers made quilts for their children when it came time to leave home.

Quilting soon became popular for social get-togethers. Oftentimes the women (and sometimes men) would spend time together, working on one quilt with each member assigned a specific part of the quilting process. These social workshops became known as “quilting bees.” From these quilting bees would come a variety of quilt styles. Quilts were still practical usage but could still be more “artful” and decorative. Quilts would be created for brides, hence the creation of the “Wedding Ring” quilt. Other times quilts would be made for men leaving home to serve in the military. It was at this time the “signature quilt” became popular. Families would sign the quilt of the departing young man to show their love and appreciation for their service.

Barb Bergquist points out that “art of quilting took a big leap forward in the mid-1800s with the development of the sewing machine.” Sewing machines allowed for more detail in a quicker time. As time passed, quilts evolved to become more decorative or colorful, often using all new fabrics of similar weight and feel rather than a hodge-podge of reused materials

Other popular styles evolved including the “appliqué quilt.” In this style of quilting, shapes are sewn onto a background. This style allowed for more imagination and creative expression. Create the shapes and designs and just sew. “Paper pieces quilts” used paper patterns where the fabric was sewn onto the paper. The patterns came with preprinted lines and numbers that directed the sewer in assembly of the quilt. Shannon Reed, author of “The Most Popular Styles and Techniques of Quilting,” cleverly refers to this style as “Quilt by Numbers.” “Memory quilts” became popular as a way to tell a family’s history or celebrate life’s special moments. Memory quilts were made from a loved one’s personal clothing such as shirts, dresses, hankies, etc. Designs and placements of the quilt blocked were arranged to share the story of the family or person. Over time the quilts have become works of art, appreciated for not only the craftsmanship but the style, creativity, beauty, and emotion.

Quilts have always held a special place in my heart. My grandmother was a master-quilter. Every winter she would bring a quilt over for my brother, sister, and I. The quilts were basic patchwork quilts. We loved them. We would spread them out on the floor and spend hours examining each patch or piece, determine which one was our favorite. She saw the quilts as a necessity. We saw the quilts as a work of love.


“The Most Popular Styles and Techniques of Quilting”” by Shannon Reed

“History of Quilting” by Barb Bergquist

Candlewick Glass

Candlewick is a line of handmade glassware produced by the Imperial Glass company. It was Imperial’s most successful series. The Imperial Glass Company opened its doors in 1904 in Bellaire, Ohio, under the direction of Edward Muhleman, a man with experience and a passion for the glass industry. His focus was to produce high quality glass that was also affordable for the average family. This resonated with the American consumer and lead to the Imperial Glass company taking its place as a leader in the glass industry.

In the early 1930s Candlewick glassware was developed by Imperial’s Chicago sales representative, Earl Newton. While on a trip to New York, Newton was introduced to glassware from the French Cannonball line. Newton fell in love with the elegance and uniqueness of the glass. French Cannonball glass was identified by a string of heavy glass ‘beads’ around the base of the glass. The glass inspired Newton to consider making the beads smaller and lighter in appearance. The finished product was reminiscent of the edging on a popular Colonial-style embroidery technique called “candle wicking.” Formally introduced in 1936, the Candlewick line quickly became one of Imperial’s best sellers. The collection launched with about 40 pieces with a high of exceeding over 200 items in the 1950’s.

Because of its popularity with the consumer, several companies attempted to knock-off the Candlewick design. But true Candlewick glassware is easy to identify by its glass beads. According to Judy Prather, author of “Information on Candlewick,” on items such as plates, ash trays and candy dishes the “beads should never touch on the horizontal plane. Beads on the stems of glassware may be large, small, or graduated and may touch each other on the vertical plane. There are no safe edges on any of the Candlewick glassware. The safe edge is identified as a bump on the interior edge of the rim of a glass.”

Unfortunately, as competition increased, numerous changes in management, and changing American tastes, Imperial ran into financial difficulty, filing bankruptcy in August of 1984. But the memories of what once was live on. Candlewick’s popularity has increased as collectors enthusiastically seek to add treasured pieces to their collections. The list of pieces is amazing, from everyday pieces like teacups, ashtrays, and candy dishes to cigarette boxes and cake plates. The most sought-after items are the coveted banana bowl and the covered punch bowl, both of which draw a higher price.

Check your drawers and cabinets – you might just discover you already own a treasured Candlewick piece.

Royal Doulton Toby Jugs and Character Mugs

One of the best parts of owning an estate sales company is the education I receive with each sale hosted. Collectibles are part of all of our lives and reveals a bit of our personality. With each estate sale I get to learn about the history of our clients collectibles. Each week, I am introduced to collectibles I never knew existed. I have learned so much so fast. I love it! I thought it would be fun to share those learnings in hopes that you find their stories as fascinating as I do.

First up, Royal Doulton Toby Jugs and Character Mugs. My recent client had an extensive collection of Toby Jugs. I know…I had the same question. What is a Toby Jug? “Toby Jugs are sought-after estate sale collectibles, for the value they bring to homes and the high prices they fetch at auction. These quirky figurines feature happy, seated men, each with a mug of his favorite beverage. Jovial-looking Toby Jugs have been a part of English culture for generations. Although the jugs’ notable appearance gradually evolved, they retain their lively spirit and are still popular with collectors to this day.”

“Toby Jugs first made their appearance in 18th-century England. Speculation continues about the origin of the Toby Jug name. One potential source is Sir Toby Belch, a memorable character from Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night.” Or, perhaps the name sprang from a popular song of the era, “Brown Jug.” Brown Jug’s tune features a character named ‘Toby Fillpot (or Philpot)’.”

“Royal Doulton is a leading name in Toby Jug collectibles. Toby Jugs have been around since the 18th century, but it wasn’t until Royal Doulton started producing them that they became a household name.”

“During the 1920s, Character Jugs were introduced. Each new jug would feature the subject’s head and shoulders instead of a head-to-toe depiction.”

“Over the years, the Character Jug handles began to reveal more about each character’s personality. For example, the Long John Silver Jug sports a parrot handle. The Alice in Wonderland Duchess Jug shows off a flamingo handle.”

Interesting to note…”If Character Jug was unexpectedly discontinued, the remaining pieces typically have a high value. The Clark Gable Character Jug is a good example. In 1984, Royal Doulton produced 2,000 Clark Gable Character Jugs to sell in the United States. However, Gable’s estate didn’t approve the jug, so Doulton stopped production of new pieces, recalled all sold pieces, and demolished all unsold pieces. Today, there are approximately 100 remaining Clark Gable Jugs in existence. Each is valued at approximately $3,363, considerably more than other celebrities’ jugs of that era.”

It was so much fun to unwrap the clients collection and see each character mug. Customers went crazy for them at our sale. One customer purchased twenty! And I will admit, I purchased one too. Which one? William Shakespeare. I am an English major after all!


Source “Toby Jugs Value & Price Guide” by Paul Williams

Attention Collectors: Blue Ridge Pottery Available!

Join us this weekend for the Great Greenville Estate Sale featuring ... a large collection of authentic Blue Ridge Pottery. New to Blue Ridge? Check out Southern Vintage Table or Wikipedia for a beginner's lesson. Great history, quaint vintage collectable dishware - and we have a BIG colleciton available at our next estate sale in Greenville, Texas (June 18-20, 2021). See our listing at EstateSales.net. This a MUST SEE sale, not to be missed. Join us!