December 2023

Covering Quilts

My Old Kentucky Home – Quilt adventures with the American Quilt Study Group​

by Sandra Starley


I recently revisited “My Old Kentucky Home,” having lived there briefly as a youngster, for the Annual Seminar of the American Quilt Study Group, aka AQSG, (

The main event was held in lovely downtown Louisville right on the Ohio River waterfront. It is a beautiful old city full of Southern charm. Seminar is the annual meeting of AQSG and is much anticipated by all as a chance to visit with friends we only see once a year; see beautiful old and new quilts in exhibits, as well as the vendors mall; and learn about interesting in-depth research in the scholarly paper presentations. It is a magical time of rejuvenating friendships and quilt knowledge, along with fun and good food. And that is just what happens at the on-site hotel location. Annual Seminar rotates around the country and allows members a chance to experience regional differences in quilting both old and new.

One of the benefits of the rotation of seminars is the opportunity to take optional small group tours to area museums to see more of the local quilting and area history. There were several tours available this year and I was able to do a couple. A very special tour was to the Kentucky Historical Society in Kentucky’s Capital Frankfort to visit an unusual and famous quilt: the Elizabeth Roseberry Mitchell Graveyard Quilt. The pieced star quilt features a central graveyard with appliqued coffins bearing the names of the maker’s family members. It was quite emotional to see this important mourning/memorial quilt from the 1850s. I hope to share more information about the quilt in a future article. We also toured the Old State Capitol Building for some educational history lessons. We then had time on our own to visit Frankfort, a very charming small town unlike most capitals. We visited with old and new friends and hit the local bakery, gift shop, and bookstore. What a wonderful day! I was also able to visit the Speed Museum at the University of Louisville. It is a unique museum full of hidden gems; you think you’ve seen all the exhibits and then you find a stained glass from the 1600s, step into part of a German castle, or find a waterlily painting by Monet. You can see some of their wonderful quilt collection in a special online exhibit at


a rocky road quilt

Log Cabin Crazy Quilt

Unique Kentucky Log Cabin Crazy Quilt. (Image courtesy of the author)


We saw a dazzling array of antique treasures in the quilt vendors mall, which is like visiting a museum where you can get up close and touch and even buy the displayed items. There was a special exhibition featuring new Kentucky quilts and another with miniatures and other wonderful quilts from The National Quilt Museum in Paducah, KY. A distinct highlight was the Biennial Quilt Study -Nineteenth-Century Blues exhibit. It featured almost 50 antique quilts reproduced in small scale by members of AQSG and shown for the first time. There will be a book available next year with all the new quilts and their antique inspirations, and 25 of the new quilts will be traveling around the country. More about that later. We were treated to new foods like “The Hot Brown” and sweet treats like modjeskas. Then there were all the items available to purchase in the silent auction. And I haven’t even mentioned the live auction, which began with a stunning rendition of “My Old Kentucky Home” by the official Churchill Downs bugler. Don’t you want to join AQSG and see what happens next at Seminar 2024?

See you in September in New York!


Sandra Starley is nationally certified quilt appraiser, quilt historian, and avid antique quilt collector. She travels throughout the U.S. presenting talks on antique quilt history, fabric dating classes and trunk shows as well as quilting classes. Learn more at Send your comments and quilt questions to