Monday, June 25, 2012

Ruby McKim's Big Bad Wolf

I just heard from the author of the story I posted in May 2009.  I was so excited to finally learn who actually wrote this story!  I  originally found the article in my mother-in-law's file after she passed away in 1999. It had appeared in a 1997 North Carolina guild newsletter but the clipping didn't contain the name of the author.

Now I know it was Kathy Smith Harris! You can read Kathy's story about how she came to write this story on her own blog

Okay, now for a little quilt show. 
A recent acquisition. It is my 3rd in this pattern. 

One of my favorite McKim crib quilt patterns is The Three Little Pigs, though I prefer to call it The Big Bad Wolf. I guess I just think a wolf is more exciting than a pig so why not give the wolf some air time? (Click here to read my in-depth blog article about Ruby McKim.)

The embroidery work on this Big Bad Wolf quilt is particularly delightful. I am constantly amazed at the variety found in this pattern, which of itself seems so straight forward.

A bit of trivia about this quilt. I counted today----there are 74 different fabrics in the circles in outer border; 52 different fabrics in next border; 30 different fabrics in the blocks. Not one fabric is repeated in the circles and only the fabric in the houses is repeated within a block!

Here are more Big Bad Wolf quilts in my files.  As far as I can recall, all of these came from eBay at one time or another.  If you recognize one as yours, please contact me and let me know.

The above version was made by Beryl Quay in Grand Rapids, Michigan around 1939 for her nephew, John Davis. Beryl was known for her hand quilting and often hand quilted tops for others who simply enjoyed making the tops. However, she tied this quilt with embroidery floss rather than quilt it. The photo and story was shared with me by Bobbie Davis, John's wife, who is also a quilter.

AQSG member, Rosie Werner, owner. Rosie  is an independent quilt historian 
who specializes in identifying 20th Century quilt designs that were sold as quilt kits. For more information about her Quilt Kit ID subscription service
visit her website here

Another version  of this quilt. The quilt above is being shared with permission from the blog Garden of Daisies. Please click here to see this quilt on her blog. Also check out her quilts, paper dolls and vintage linens.

Below are two photos of this same Three Little Pigs quilt in the collection of the New England Quilt Museum in Lowell, Massachusetts.   Their quilt is a bit different from the others I have shared with you.  The top is “wholecloth” cotton muslin with cotton print circles appliqued on.  The back is silk and there is a thin blanket or flannel for filler.  There  is no quilting but the applique stitches of the circles go through to the backing.  There is an embroidered inscription on the back: Christmas, 1935 

Used with permission from the New England Quilt Museum

The maker was Florence Elizabeth Heisler Tate of Mechanicsberg, PA, the 62 year old wife of an Episcopal minister.  She made this crib quilt for her granddaughter and the granddaughter eventually donated it to NEQM.

This delightful version of McKim’s the Three Pigs/Big Bad Wolf crib quilt will be on display in NEQM’s next exhibit called "Great Quilts, Great Stories", which runs from Oct.18 through Dec. 29, 2012. Thank you to Laura Lane, the acting curator of NEQM, for bringing this quilt to my attention and for granting permission to share the photos with you.

Just who is the Big Bad Wolf?

Just put him in a Zoot Suit and you've got Killer Joe. 
To hear Manhattan Transfer singing, click here Killer Joe.

or here for Benny Golson playing it.

PS: See my next blog post for more about The Three Little Pigs and that wolf guy!

Click here or here to see the post I wrote for The Quilters Hall of Fame about 
Ruby Short McKim. Ruby is one of their Inductees.

Do you like quilt history? Is there a particular type of quilt you would like to hear more about? I always enjoy hearing from readers!



  1. I love your new quilt! Also interesting that Big Bad Wolf quilts were popular...did not know that.

    1. Yes, you wouldn't think a quilt based on the story of a Big Bad Wolf would be something children would be comforted by. But then, by the time they could actually understand the story, they may have outgrown the quilt. I just discovered a new storybook version of The Three Little Pigs/Big Bad Wolf story as though written by a modern architect. It's a real hoot because the drawings are so cool. I have added the book's cover to my blog above.

    2. Changed my mind. Decided to write a whole new post about these two books!

  2. It amazes me always to see how different quilters can start with te same pattern and make such a variety of quilts. My Friend Bobbi has one in this pattern that was made for her Husband when he was a baby...and it is also different than these but still in the pattern....very fun to see the variety

    1. Yep, variety is the spice of life when it comes to quilts! Tim, would you be willing to ask your friend if she would like to share a photo of her husband's childhood quilt on my blog? I would love to continue adding more examples. You could just email the photo. Thanks, Karen

    2. I will ask her for a picture...her quilt is a beauty

  3. Hi Karen, I love this version of the piggy quilt!! Thanks so much for sending me an e-mail and introducing yourself!

  4. Wow! these quilts are fascinating to me. Never seen or heard about them. The previous post about the house is really neat too. I have always liked an "Arts & Crafts" designed home.
    I am a new follower now.

    1. Thanks, Carrie! And Welcome! I love to research and write as much as many of you like to quilt!

  5. Thank you, Carrie, for stopping by and for taking the time to leave a comment. I am so glad you enjoyed the post on the Arts & Crafts houses. They absolute delight me. I love all the craftsmanship that does into them. Each aspect of the house is like a piece of art.

  6. Karen, please read the e-mail that I sent to you concerning my piggy quilt. Thank you.

    1. Yes, I got your email GArden of Daisies, and I posted your photo and put links back to your blog. Thank you so much for sharing!

  7. Karen, I truly appreciate the links to my blog, but the e-mail I sent has nothing to do with links. Did you read the e-mail message I sent you? (I replied to the e-mail you sent me, so I know I didn't mess up the e-mail address.)
    Your description of my quilt is not accurate. For some reason you assumed that my Piggy quilt is a "midwest version". It is not. My Grandmother, who made the quilt, never lived a single day of her life in the midwest and I would really appreciate it if you would remove that from the description. Thank you.