Monday, May 22, 2023

Wall Hangings


Happy Monday!

Although I've made a lot of small quilts through the years, I haven't done any since last summer when I made doll quilts. 

A lot of my friends regularly make smaller pieces to use up blocks or to create a variety of projects.  Diann at Little Penguin Quilts makes wonderful table runners and wall hangings if you need inspiration.  In the past I've made table runners and wall hangings but also mug rugs.  I have a whole drawer full of fabric put aside for placemats; our guild collects the placemats to give to folks who receive meals on wheels.

I was thinking of these projects and then I began to wonder when did quilters began to make wall hangings regularly for their homes or others?

Well in 1910, a young woman decided to hang quilts on the wall inspired by the tapestries that once were used to decorate homes. 

 She was an artist and wanted to make her garret more artistic and used suspended rope to hang the quilts that "her sisters had voted out of style...and ultimately discarded."  Although this idea was published widely, it didn't seem to be adopted by the public.

In  February of 1941, I found this blurb:  "Mesdames Margaret Doty and F. A. Ditzler presided at the attractive tea table set before a striking colonial quilt hung as a wall hanging."

Both of these examples were of bed quilts being hung.  But what a quilt made especially to be hung on a wall?

I should have realized earlier, it was Jean Ray Laury who specifically made wall hangings.  Here's a photo from a 1959 newspaper article:

I've written about the designer before (here) but she was an artist who really stretched the concept of quilting by making it personal--and fun.  In a 2000 interview with the Quilt Alliance, Laury stated, "I don't see a big difference between fabric on the wall and paint on the wall."  She was such a strong influence in the quilting world that she was inducted into the Quilters Hall of Fame in 1982 (read here).

In 1958, her quilted wall hangings were even exhibited at Stanford University:

By the 1960s and 70s, more and more (usually young people) were hanging textiles on the walls.  Pattern companies adopted the idea as well:

The Flower Alphabet pattern was marketed in 1969 as a quilt or a wall hanging by Laura Wheeler Designs.

Although other makers may have created wall hangings, I haven't really found one that made a smaller scale (not quit sized) piece.  Do you know of any?

Have a safe and happy day!


  1. The Nancy Page Quilt Club (LaGanke/Kerven duo) offered a Noah’s Ark Wall Hanging in 1929.

  2. You are so sweet to mention me and my love of small quilt projects, Michele! I definitely enjoy filling up my house with quilts on the walls and any horizontal space. I hadn't read about Jean Ray Laury before and really enjoyed reading about her, too!