Those Wonderful Mountain Mist Quilts

I love antique quilts.  When the hubs and I go “antiquing,” I’m always on the lookout for old quilts and quilt tops that need rescuing.  I consider it my mission to help them escape from the store, clean them up, and give them a good home.  My favorite era of antique quilts are those from the 1930’s.  I love the colors, the feed sacks, and the fact that the women (and some men) during that time made do with what they had.  They took the time and the resources on hand to make something beautiful that would brighten their lives during the dark times of the Great Depression.

My favorite group of quilts from the 1930’s is the Mountain Mist Quilts.  Several months ago, my friends Lisa and Susan asked me to go with them to the Quilt Museum in Virginia.  At that time, the museum had a group of the Mountain Mist Quilts on display.  You could look as long as you wanted and take as many pictures as you wanted, as long as you didn’t use a flash.

Before I show the pictures of the wonderful Mountain Mist quilts, let me give you a little background on the company.  Mountain Mist was and is a batting company.  For more than 180 years, Mountain Mist has produced batting and it’s still available for purchase.  Nowadays, the batting is packaged in plastic bags, but during the early days it was sold with paper wrappers around the batts.  These wrappers protected the batting during shipping and while it was on the shelf.  On the inside of these wrappers, the company included full instructions for one of the featured quilts.  Directions for making the quilt, color suggestions, and quilt designs were also included.  As new quilt patterns were developed, the outside wrappers were updated to show the new designs. 

Mountain Mist Paper Wrapper — Outer View
Inner Wrapper with Pattern for Grandmother’s Flower Garden. This Pattern is Still Popular.
Another Mountain Mist Pattern…
And This is the Quilt Made from the Pattern Above

As the 1930’s brought a resurgence in quilting (partly due to necessity), the Mountain Mist Company upped their quilt game a bit.  They contracted with various quilters across the country to make quilts from their patterns.  They worked with only the best quilters and these women would take the patterns and create beautiful quilts.  These quilts made up the Mountain Mist Collection.  During the 1930’s and until some point in the 1960’s these quilts were shipped across the country to stores that sold Mountain Mist Batting.  The quilts were displayed with the batting and patterns to promote sales.  And it worked beautifully.  Eventually as time and tastes and hobbies changed, Mountain Mist discontinued shipping the quilts with the batting.  Most of the quilts were collected at the Mountain Mist company offices and eventually they became a permanent display at the International Quilt Study Center and Museum at Quilt House at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.  Occasionally the university will allow the quilts out to be displayed at other museums so that quilters everywhere can enjoy and be dazzled at these quilts.  That’s why Lisa, Susan, and I were on our way to The Virginia Quilt Museum.  The International Quilt Study Center had loaned them out to the museum for several months.  And the Quilt Museum, housed in a historic house, was the perfect backdrop to these wonderful quilts. 

The Beautiful and Wonderful Virginia Quilt Museum
This is an original Mountain Mist Quilt, aptly named Sunflowers. This is one of my favorite Mountain Mist Patterns.

This is a newer interpretation of the same pattern. I am seriously digging that background fabric. Also the different shades of yellow in the petals give the quilt more depth and I do like the border treatment on this one.
To me, this was kind of any “odd duck” among the mostly traditional Mountain Mist patterns. I do remember this one is named “Hollywood.”
Here’s a closer look at the hand quilting on this quilt.
This is my second-favorite Mountain Mist quilt. I love all things daffodils.
Here’s a closer look. The applique is stylized and not complicated. The quilting is simple, but look closely at it — soooooo many tiny stitches! And if you squint, you can still see the blue pencil marks on the quilt.
This quilt is my FAVORITE Mountain Mist Quilt. I love the simplicity — there’s not a lot of “busy-ness” in this quilt. The quilt’s name is “Orange Blossoms.” The quilter used the negative space to showcase her quilting talent. And while I’m not a great fan of prairie points, they are a great addition to this quilt.
Close up of the quilting on Orange Blossom
Another view of the gorgeous quilting. Also notice the applique isn’t perfectly shaped. Most, if not all, of the applique on these quilts was needle turn.
Can you imagine prepping all those petals for applique?
I love the way clam shell quilting was juxtaposed next to cross hatch. And notice the tiny brown circles appliqued on the white petals to make the dogwood blossoms look as realistic as possible.
Spider webs were quilted in the center. While this may seem odd to us, it could be a throwback to the embroidery and quilting done on Victorian Crazy Quilts when spiderwebs were a symbol of good luck.
This is a child’s quilt. The applique is applied with the buttonhole stitch — the only Mountain Mist Quilt I saw that had this treatment.
My third favorite Mountain Mist Quilt. I’ve never see tulips designed that way.
Ohio Rose
Look at the feathered wreaths quilted into the background!
The quilter evidently won a blue ribbon for this quilt — it’s attached on the left. Look at all those perfect circles! Look at the GORGEOUS quilting! Be still my heart….
More spider webs.
All of the quilts on display showcased that wonderful 1930’s color palate — one of my very favorites color ways.
Rose Tree. Lovely quilting and equally lovely applique. I’d throw this one in “My Favorites” category, too.
Even back then, quilters were looking for ways to use up their scraps. This would be a great pattern for anyone in any time frame.
Isn’t this Iris quilt beautiful? Some of the petals have faded on this one, but I love this pattern, too. I like the way the flowers are staggered.
Beautifully quilted negative space, simple, but perfect stitches, and those 1930’s bubble gum pinks. It doesn’t get much better.

I know this blog is “picture heavy,” but these quilts are worth the viewing. If you ever get a chance to see them in person, go for it. And if you’re near the Virginia Quilt Museum, be sure to take time to visit. Bonus — there’s a great fabric store right down the road from it!

Until next week, Quilt With Passion!

Love and Stitches,

Sherri and Sam

2 replies on “Those Wonderful Mountain Mist Quilts”

Thank you Sherri! That was such a wonderful pleasure to look at your superb photos of these gorgeous quilts! I have a nice collection of the wrappers but haven’t seen any of the quilts in real life as I live in Australia. But it was the next best thing to read your blog!

I love Mountain Mist Quilts, too. I have a few wrappers and have made a quilt or two from them. I also like Marie Webster’s quilts from that same time era. Hers were primarily applique and they are simply lovely.

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