History from the hands of women

Roberta Clay poses with a crazy quilt created by her Great Grandmother Rebecca Humes. Photo available for purchase

Roberta Clay poses with a crazy quilt created by her Great Grandmother Rebecca Humes.

Lois Swoboda
Published: Wednesday, April 2, 2014 at 02:43 PM.

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.

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