Official Nebraska Government Website Nebraska State Historical Society

Quilts A to Z

  Quilts A to Z

Quilts M to P

Medallion Quilt: A quilt with a central motif as the focal point, which is often surrounded by multiple borders.

Mill Wheel

Maker unknown
85" x 70"
Nebraska State Historical Society, Source: Pound Family,

Olivia Pound, assistant principal at Lincoln High School from 1918 to 1943, owned this Mill Wheel quilt. Pound Junior High is named for Olivia and her family. The Mill Wheel pattern belongs to the same family of pieced quilt patterns as Drunkard's Path, Boston Puzzle, and Snowball, and can be varied by the number of corners cut out and the arrangement of the blocks.

Miniature Quilt: Quilts made on a small scale that are sometimes reproductions of full-sized quilts. Blocks tend to be two to three inches in size.

Miter: Two edges joined at a 45-degree angle. Miters are used in the corners of borders and binding.

Mosaic Star/Grandmother's Flower Garden (top only)
Maker unknown
88" x 84"
Nebraska State Historical Society, Source: Roger T. Grange, Jr.,
8027-16 [dup 1]

The Grandmother's Flower Garden-style quilt is one of the most popular within quilting circles. This labor intensive and beautiful pattern grew in popularity in the 1920s and emerged from earlier hexagon patterns known simply as Mosaic or Honeycomb. Godey's Ladies Book published the hexagon pattern in 1835 and early patterns were generally one-patch hexagon repeats. In time, quilters arranged these hexagon shapes into patterns of their own liking creating mosaic-like effects. By the twentieth century the Grandmother's Flower Garden design had emerged with the "flowers" surrounded by rows of single-colored hexagons representing garden paths or hedges.

Mountain Star

Maker unknown, possibly made in Ohio
Circa 1920-1940
International Quilt Study Center, Ardis and Robert James Collection,

A plain, undyed cotton fabric, available bleached or unbleached. Muslin is commonly used in quilting as a neutral background or as a foundation under thinner fabric.

Needle-Punching: The process of inserting a needle through the layers when hand quilting. It
is done to prevent shifting and to help the batting maintain its loft. Also called needling.


Maker unknown, possibly made in Holmes County, Ohio
c. 1925-1945
73" x 69"
International Quilt Study Center, Ardis and Robert James Collection,

A very basic pattern, the nine-patch refers to how many squares are within a single block. Nine-patch is perhaps the most common with numerous variations on the theme, but one-patch, four-patch, and even twenty-five-patch quilts are frequently seen.

North Carolina Lily variation

Catherine Eby Miller, possibly made in Indiana
Circa 1857
86" x 84"
Nebraska State Historical Society, Source: Miss. Pluma Sageser,

The name North Carolina Lily has often been applied to combinations of diamond and triangle shapes that make up flowers, stems, and leaves in appliqué or pieced quilts. In this example it has been appliquéd by the donor's maternal grandmother, Catherine Eby Miller, probably in Indiana around 1857. The quilt was brought to Nebraska from Iowa by the donor's mother in 1886 and was used in their sod house on a homestead in Chambers, Nebraska.

This quilt illustrates two important trends in nineteenth-century appliqué quilting: the predominance of red and green and the reliance on simple shapes found in nature. Many early appliqué quilters looked to nature for their influence and floral shapes and designs were prevalent. It was not until the late eighteenth to early nineteenth century, however, that these shapes began to look more and more like identifiable flowers and plants. Additionally, appliqué quilters, for numerous reasons including aesthetic trends and available fabrics, favored red and green color schemes. Technological advances throughout the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries led to abundant fabric choices and, in turn, abundant use of color and pattern in quilts.

Novelty Print: A fabric printed with small whimsical designs. Also called "conversation" prints and "craft" prints.

Oak Reel

Maker unknown, possibly Pennsylvania
1880 -1900
97" x 96"
International Quilt Study Center, Jonathan Holstein Collection, 2003.003.0148
Purchase made possible through James Foundation Acquisition Fund, partial gift of Jonathan Holstein

Ohio Star

Alternate names: Variable Star, Eight-Point Star, Lone Star, Texas Star, Tippecanoe & Tyler Too, Eastern Star, Shoofly
Maker unknown
Nebraska State Historical Society, Source: Mrs. B. N. Nesmith,

The eight-point star is a basic and enduring design in the quilting tradition. Numerous variations exist, with even more numerous names to accompany them.

Ocean Waves

Maker unknown, possibly made in Holmes County, Ohio
Circa 1920-1940
83" x 66"
International Quilt Study Center, Ardis and Robert James Collection,

On Point:
A block arrangement in which a block is placed with its corners up and down and to the sides.

One-Patch: Any quilt pattern that uses a single, repeated, shaped patch for the pieced top. Commonly found in multicolored patterns and/or varying fabrics.

Patchwork: The process of making a quilt by sewing many small pieces of fabric together. Also known as piecing.

Piecing: The process of sewing two or more pieces of fabric together to form a larger whole.

Pin Basting: Using safety pins to hold the layers together during the quilting process.

Postage Stamp Nine-Patch

Emma Herring, possibly made in Oketo, Kansas
74" x 61"
Nebraska State Historical Society, Source: W. J. Curtis,

A very basic pattern, the nine-patch refers to how many squares are within a single block. Nine-patch is perhaps the most common with numerous variations on the theme, but one-patch, four-patch, and even twenty-five-patch quilts are also seen.

Emma Herring made this quilt, probably in Oketo, Kansas, and gave it to her daughter, Vinnie Victoria Herring, before her marriage in 1896. Vinnie and her husband soon moved to Nebraska and lived there for the rest of their lives.

Prairie Points: Squares of fabric folded into triangles. Often used as an edging, prairie points also can be sewn into other seams.

Puffed Squares

Alternate names: Biscuit, Bun
Maker unknown
86" x 66"
Nebraska State Historical Society, Source: Mr. & Mrs. A. W. Epp,

This style of quilt is made from individually stuffed squares that are then sewn together. They were popular in the Victorian era and the earliest known pattern dates from the 1880s. Before the days of polyester batting, these quilts could be quite heavy due to the stuffing of cotton or wool.

According to the family, Frank Bell of Illinois, the donor's uncle, brought this quilt to Ong, Nebraska, about 1885. Although the donor thought this quilt dated from much earlier in the nineteenth century, it is likely that it dates from the 1890s.

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Last updated 23 May 2007  

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