A Stitch Back in Time

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Many people who visit the museum have questions about the quilt that hangs in the carriage gallery. Today we look back at the creation of this quilt and answer some of those questions.

In 2012 we developed a quilt exhibit focusing on the everyday quilt; the one on your bed or cuddled with on the couch, rather than the works of art displayed at quilt shows. Quilts in this exhibit ranged from one made from cotton grown as part of the Cotton Mission in the late 1800's to a modern t-shirt quilt. Early in the design process our curator mentioned a box of quilt patterns clipped from a newspaper that we have in our collection. Thus the Frontier Homestead quilt was born.

In 1928 the Kansas City Star newspaper started publishing a quilt block a week. Our patterns come from a series published in the second half of 1931. Amazingly, only three of the twenty-five blocks were missing, but with the names given on the overview, these were found and the quilt recreated.  

 Like many quilts, the blocks tell a story. The "Crazy Ann" Block was the first to be made. Since this was Amy's (one of our museum educators,) first time hand piecing a quilt this was the learning block. After several of the blocks had been made, a photographer working on the exhibit came to take some pictures. He asked for a blue and orange block. Thus the colors in "Grandmother's Cross". The red and white "Hickory Leaf" was appliqued on a road trip to the Springville Museum of Art to look at their quilt display. The center block, "Grandmother's Fan" with the park name, represents the employees at the time the quilt was made. The blades of the fan are made from a piece of fabric for each person. Elvis, sheep, yoga, cats, and traveling are tied together with a horse to symbolize the horse drawn vehicles of the museum.

Amy created the quilt using scraps of donated fabric and some new pieces. Each block was hand pieced using a different color scheme.The sashing between and around the blocks was attached by machine then a mad dash to hand quilt the entire piece followed. It was finished shortly before the exhibit opened and has remained on display since. Like many quilts in that exhibit and on beds and couches across the country, the Frontier Homestead quilt is a physical reminder that tells the story of the time and place of its creation.