Q & A: Judie Rothermel's New Sturbridge Prints

In 2016, Old Sturbridge Village celebrates its first 70 years as the largest outdoor history museum in the Northeast, depicts a rural New England town of the 1830s. And since 2004, Judie Rothermel has worked with Marcus and the Museum to create authentic reproduction fabrics of the period for quilting and sewing enthusiasts. We took a few minutes to reflect on Judie's work with the Museum:

Q: We're introducing the OLD STURBRIDGE VILLAGE ANNIVERSARY COLLECTION in March 2016. Tell us about your inspiration for this line.

A: I was simply asked to create a Collection for OSV's 70th Anniversary. I figured a lot of the new quilters today just starting out may never have seen nor heard of the Sturbridge Village prints from so long ago. At the same time, I felt that the quilters familiar with our earlier Sturbridge fabrics would also welcome a new collection these gorgeous prints, with an updated look.

Q: Of the OSV collections you've designed, which are your favorites and why?

A: This would probably be the very first group that I did. It was a large collection and had such a great variety of unusual prints in a pleasing variety of olde-looking colors. I made several quilts with this collection for our home and for store models. Many of them are quite used and mellow as of this writing... I still love them worn and used as they really have the look of a well loved quilts, which they are.

Q: What makes the OSV archives different from other collections?

A: Since the museum's focus is life in the 1830s, most of of their textile archives date back to the early 1800's, my very favorite era of textiles. The designs have an Old English look to them, and possibly a little French influence. So sophisticated, not the typical Calico look of many of the mid-century antique quilts. When I look at my past Sturbridge collections I never tire of their beauty and will always love them. I am very honored to have been the designer chosen by Sturbridge Village to access their archives and reproduce some of these most beautiful textiles from the past. I try to keep them as authentic as I possibly can.

Q: Sturbridge represents the entire lifestyle of a particular era, not only quilts. How can quilters incorporate their creations into their everyday lives, beyond the bed covering?

A: I think that the sophisticated feel of these prints makes them very adaptable for things in home decor beyond the bed coverings. Even clothing and costuming, and accessory items such as handbags, book covers, pretty boxes, etc. The Sturbridge collections are so special, and how ever a quilter decides to use these fabrics in their own lifestyle, I'm confident she or he will treasure them as I do.


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