Historical quilts were the focus at this year’s Wandering Star Quilt Show.
On Friday and Saturday, March 28-29, members of the Wandering Star Quilt Club shared precious family heirlooms with an admiring audience. Once again, members of the club staged a biennial show that was an affair to remember.
Memories were the focus of this year’s display. Carefully stacked, at the front of Chillas Hall, were quilts created in the first half of the 20th century and history was stitched into every one. About every half hour, members of the club donned plastic gloves to display the stacked quilts for fascinated onlookers. Each antique quilt had a card attached with a bit of family history.
The earliest creation was a crazy quilt belonging to Roberta Clay, pieced largely of silk between April 1901 and March 1904. The date is stitched proudly into one corner. Decorating the quilt are a hand-embroidered rendering of the Lord’s Prayer, an American flag circa 1901 with 46 stars, and souvenir ribbons from reunions including a Civil War reunion from 1888. Many of the quilting pieces are also lovingly embellished with embroidered borders or floral patterns. Clay said she remembers great-grandmother Rebecca Humes, who lived until Clay was 10 years old.
Clay also brought a red-and-white quilt with embroidered detail created by her aunt Marguerite Shelt between 1925 and 1930. Shelt and her sisters each stitched a quilt for their own bed as young girls, Clay said, the beautifully preserved red-and-white quilt on display the only survivor. The charming quilt features illustration of nursery rhymes, days of the week, months of the year and animals.
On display from the same era was a “Dresden Plate” quilt created by Martha Jane Davis Williams circa 1920-1930.
Aline Craig brought two quilts from the 1930s. A “yoyo” coverlet pieced of circles of smocked fabric saved from feed sacks, and “Grandmothers Flower Garden,” an elaborate piece with scalloped edges that belonged to her grandmother. She also displayed a red-and-white pattered quilt in beautiful condition stitched circa 1940.
Pat Bott also brought a quilt created between 1935 and 1940 by her grandmother Annetta Feldman who died just a few years after its completion in 1943. The bowtie quilt in wonderful condition was similar to the one raffled off by the quilt club at the show. Bott restored the quilt and had it requilted.
Donna Briesacker brought a star quilt from the 1940s. It is a scrap quilt where tiny pieces of cloth were used to create a complex pattern. Perhaps the careful use of fabric reflects the austerity of the war years.
From the 1950s, quilter Gene Sewell brought a twin-sized creation featuring roses. The quilt was stitched by her sister Billie Ricketson.
Adding her own flair for history to the event, Judy Cook brought two quilts that recreated former styles. “Emily’s Quilt” is a reversible doll quilt with a rainbow pattern called “The Bars,” which Cook said is based on a quilt created by a young Amish girl. “They were allowed to sew these small quilts first, before they put their hands on the real thing,” she said.
Cook also brought a quilt entitled “Bunny Bits” created from feed sacks.
Another modern quilt with a traditional theme was “Granny Collins’ Birthday Quilt,” a collection of quilt squares each adorned with a cloth heart bearing a greeting to Granny Collins on her 91st birthday. Granny Collins is Millard Collins’ mother, Deanna Collins’ mother-in-law and Richard Kelley’s grandmother. The quilt was brought to the show by creator Marilyn Kelley.
Numerous modern quilts were also on display arranged artfully by the creators or owners.
In a telephone interview, Wandering Star Pat Bott said about 75 visitors came to the show.
She said the club earned more than $1,000 on a magnificent bowtie quilt they prepared as a fundraiser. Money from the quilt will be used to buy materials for the next quilt to be raffled and to purchase materials for club projects. Currently, the Wandering Stars are preparing lap quilts for hospice.
The winner of this year’s quilt was Kay Bowman, of Carrabelle and
Heirloom quilts are treasures that help us stitch together our family history and keep our ancestors alive to us. Many thanks to the Wandering Stars for sharing their memories with the public.