Rail Fence (my first quilt)
Printable version

  • Copyright 1976 Caryl Bryer Fallert
  • Size:  80" x 90"
  • Techniques: machine pieced and tied
  • Materials: fabric: 100% cotton and cotton/poly blends  / batting: old wool-knit filled quilt
  • Price: nfs

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Design Concept

In 1974, my husband and I bought an old farm in Missouri from Ida Vohs, a 79 year old woman who made quilts. She had closets full of quilts, and I was entranced when she got them out and showed them to us. At that time I was a painter, and also dabbled in a number of other mediums. I had been sewing since I was ten years old and quilting seemed like one more fun thing to try, so I bought a book on quilts from the literary guild. In that first book was a picture of a quilt called "Rail Fence". It seemed pretty simple, and I figured I could make it without a pattern. So I gave it a try.

This is my very first quilt, made in 1976. I didn't know very much about quilts or how to make them, so I made a single template out of cardboard and cut out each piece with scissors. The print fabrics are drapery samples from a book of discontinued wallpaper samples. The solid fabrics are heavy "trigger" cotton/poly blends. I laid out the pieces like a knitting pattern and began to sew. The whole quilt was made with 5/8" seam allowances, and when I started to sew the rows together I discovered that accurate cutting and seaming might have made the task easier. I didn't know how to quilt, so I tied it with knitting yarn, using a sheet as a backing. Instead of batting I used an old, very used-up quilt that had been made by my husband's grandmother. It was filled with layers of thin, white, wool, knitted fabric, which I can only conclude, must have been worn out long underwear. The finished patchwork comforter weighs about fifteen pounds, and is very warm even on the coldest nights.

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  • Wisconsin Museum of Quilts and Fiber Arts, (retrospective exhibition of my work) Cedarburg, WI, January 14-April 12, 2015
  • Caryl Bryer Fallert: A Retrospective, New England Quilt Museum, Lowell, MA, August 20 - October 31, 2015
  • Caryl Bryer Fallert-Gentry: 40 Years of Color, Light, & Motion,
    • University Museum, University of Mississippi, Oxford, MS, January 26 - April 16, 2016
    • Mitchell Museum, Cedarhurst Center for the Arts, Mt. Vernon, IL, July 31-October 9, 2016
    • Texas Quilt Museum, La Grange, TX • March 30 - June 25, 2017


  • First Quilt/Last Quilt series Quilters Newsletter Magazine, 1990's
Web Site Design by Caryl Bryer Fallert-Gentry 1997-2022 All Rights Reserved
Bryerpatch Studio • 10 Baycliff Place • Port Townsend, WA • 98368 • USA
360-385-2568 • caryl@bryerpatch.com

Updated 12/24/16