A Fan of Education and Friendship.

On this day in 1827, abolitionist and educator Emily Howland was born in Sherwood, New York. Howland taught the children of freed slaves in Washington, D.C.  In 1857, she built a school in Sherwood and personally founded and financially supported fifty other schools for emancipated slaves. She taught in several of these schools and was also active in local to national suffrage movements. Myla Perkins machine pieced, hand appliqued and machine quilted this quilt, titled “Underground Railroad” (or Grandmother’s Fan variation), in 1984.  Perkins made the quilt when she was a member of The Quilting Six group, a small quilting circle in Detroit, Michigan made up of former sorority sisters, college friendships and two sets of sisters. The quilt is owned by the Michigan State University Museum. View this quilt on The Quilt Index to find out! Read more about its history, design and construction. Be sure to use the zoom tool for a detailed view or click the “See full record” link to see a larger image and all the data entered about that quilt. Source: http://www.howlandstonestore.org/#history Posted by Amy E. Milne Executive Director, Quilt Alliance…

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Cherokee Leaders and Cherokee Quiltmakers.

On this day in 1945, Wilma Pearl Mankiller, who would become the first female chief of he Cherokee Nation, was born in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. She was the sixth of eleven children; her father was full-blooded Cherokee and his mother was a Caucasian of Dutch and Irish descent. Mankiller received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1998 for her work on the relationship between the Federal Government and the Cherokee Nation. This “Indian Boys and Girls Quilt” was made by the Senior Citizens Sewing Club in Cherokee, North Carolina in 1996. The piece was machine and hand pieced and hand quilted by the group who “meet each Wednesday to make quilts, share stories, discuss tribal politics, and speak the Cherokee language.” The quilt is now in the collection of the Michigan State University Museum. View this quilt on The Quilt Index to find out! Read more about its history, design and construction. Be sure to use the zoom tool for a detailed view or click the “See full record” link to see a larger image and all the data entered about that quilt. Source: http://www.biography.com/people/wilma-mankiller-214109 Posted by Amy E. Milne Executive Director, Quilt Alliance…

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Elizabethan Quilt.

On this day in 1558, 25-year-old Elizabeth succeeded her sister Queen Mary I, beginning the Elizabethan Age. Elizabeth was the daughter of King Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn and was nicknamed the Virgin Queen because she resisted marriage feeling it would endanger her authority as ruler of England and Ireland. Elizabeth Briskey Mast made this scrap crib quilt around 1898 in Arthur, Illinois. The 34” x 39” quilt was machine pieced and hand quilted and is now in the permanent collection of the Illinois State Museum, who contributed it to The Quilt Index in 2000. View this quilt on The Quilt Index to find out! Read more about its history, design and construction. Be sure to use the zoom tool for a detailed view or click the “See full record” link to see a larger image and all the data entered about that quilt. Source: http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/elizabethan-age-begins Posted by Amy E. Milne Executive Director, Quilt Alliance…

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Born in Virginia.

On this day in 1915, Booker T. Washington, founder of Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute (now Tuskegee University) died in Alabama at the age of 59 from congestive heart failure. Washington was born into slavery in rural Virginia and after the Civil War he worked many jobs and still managed to go to school. At age 16 he left home and walked 500 miles to the Hampton Normal Agricultural Institute and took a job as a janitor to pay his room and board. Eva Perkins Ragsdale of Trevillians, Virginia (about 170 miles from Washington’s birthplace) made this Brick Pattern Quilt around 1915 from checked, striped and plaid wool flannel. The quilt was documented as part of the Kentucky Quilt Project. View this quilt on The Quilt Index to find out! Read more about its history, design and construction. Be sure to use the zoom tool for a detailed view or click the “See full record” link to see a larger image and all the data entered about that quilt. Source: http://www.tuskegee.edu/about_us/legacy_of_leadership/booker_t_washington.aspx Posted by Amy E. Milne Executive Director, Quilt Alliance…

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Go Tell It at the Quilt Show in Houston!

They say everything is bigger in Texas, and they might be right! At the end of October, the Quilt Alliance visited the International Quilt Festival in Houston, Texas. It was the festival’s 40th anniversary–its Ruby Jubilee–and there were more quilts than ever before. With all those quilts and quiltmakers in one place, it was a perfect location to capture some Go Tell It at the Quilt Show videos… lots of them! We filmed the stories of over 100 quilts this year in Houston! We hope to have all of the videos on our YouTube channel soon, but in the mean time, kick off your weekend with this sneak peek: Flora Joy, Viewer’s Choice winner: Marisela Rumberg: Sandra Lauterbach: Candice Phelan: Look for more Go Tell It at the Quilt Show videos from the International Quilt Festival…

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A Crib Quilt to Comfort and Remember.

On this day in 1982, the Vietnam Memorial, designed by Yale University architecture student Maya Lin, was dedicated in Washington, D.C. The monument is a simple v-shaped black granite wall inscribed with the names of 57,939 Americans who died in the war, arranged in order of the date of their death versus their rank. This Double Irish Chain Crib Quilt was entirely handmade by an unknown quiltmaker in 1830 and was purchased for the Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum from Kathi LaTourette of Evergreen, Colorado through memorial donations for Staff Seargant Joshua Ryan Hager, the son of a museum member who was killed while serving in Iraq in 2007.  LaTourette lost her first husband in the Vietnam War and had a son who also served in Iraq. RMQM is so pleased to house this crib quilt as a symbol of a mother’s love for her child, and in keeping with that, as a symbol of new life that each child begins. Last, in tribute, that we may be reminded always, that mothers before, in the present, and mothers still to come, have and will lose their children to war.   View this quilt on The Quilt Index to find out! Read more about its history, design and construction. Be sure to use the zoom tool for a detailed view or click the “See full record” link to see a larger image and all the data entered about that quilt. Source: http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/vietnam-veterans-memorial-dedicated Posted by Amy E. Milne Executive Director, Quilt Alliance…

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Laguardia and the Ladies Auxiliary.

On this day in 1954, Ellis Island shuts its doors. The immigration gateway that opened in 1892 processed more than 12 million people with a peak occurring from 1892-1924. The island was name for its owner in the 1770’s, Samuel Ellis. This Navy Signature fundraising quilt was made by the Ladies Auxiliary, Fleet Reserve Association, Unit No. 5 in Norfolk, Virginia between 1941-42. It contains 35 blocks and over 400 embroidered names, including that of NYC Mayor Fiorella Laguardia. From the age of 25-28 Laguardia, whose father was Italian and whose mother was Jewish of Austrian heritage, worked as an interpreter for the U. S. Immigration Services at Ellis Island. Karen Biedler Alexander of Lopez Island, Washington, owns the quilt and contributed her photos and research to the Quilt Index as part of the Signature Quilt Pilot Project. View this quilt on The Quilt Index to find out! Read more about its history, design and construction. Be sure to use the zoom tool for a detailed view or click the “See full record” link to see a larger image and all the data entered about that quilt. Source: http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/ellis-island-closes Posted by Amy E. Milne Executive Director, Quilt Alliance…

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Remembering Those Who Served and Stitched.

On this day in 1918, World War I (also known as the Great War) ended on the 11 a.m. when German forces, low on manpower and supplies and facing certain invasion, signed an armistice agreement with the Allies outside of Compiegne, France. The war left nine million soldiers dead and 21 million wounded, and at least five million civilians dies from disease, starvation or exposure. In honor of Veteran’s Day I’d like to spotlight two quilts and their makers whose work is documented in the Quilt Index, one made by a solider and one made in honor of a military nurse. Levi Griswold of Yarrow, Missouri machine and hand pieced this Schoolhouse Variation quilt sometime between 1890-1925 and his aunt hand quilted it. From this Quilt Index record, contributed by the State Historical Society of Iowa: “Levi made the quilt when he was about 15 years old. He was awarded Distinguished Service Cross in WW I where he was killed in action.” Quiltmaker Ann Holmes from Asheville, North Carolina, made “Thank You Clara Barton” as her entry to the Quilt Alliance’s “Home Is Where the Quilt Is” contest in 2012. Ann’s artist’s statement: “It is amazing all that she accomplished for our country. Establishing a public school; “Angel of the Battlefield” during the Civil War; spent four years to identify over 22,000 missing soldiers; established the American Red Cross and served as president for 23 years; at 83, president of National First Aid Association. She certainly patched many lives together! Her work was not considered women’s work and never had the right to vote. Clara died in 1912.” View these quilts on The Quilt Index to find out (just click on each image above)! Read more about their history, design and construction. Be sure to use the zoom tool for a detailed view or click the “See full record” link to see a larger image and all the data entered about that quilt. Source: http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/world-war-i-ends Posted by Amy E. Milne Executive Director, Quilt Alliance…

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Q.S.O.S. Spotlight

This Sunday’s Q.S.O.S. Spotlight is a few days late, but we have a very special quilt to share in honor of today, Veterans Day in the US. When Pam Neil’s son Scott was deployed to Afghanistan after September 11, 2001, she decided to make a quilt for him and add one square for every day he was gone. Scott’s children, friends and extended family wrote messages on each block, which grew, square by square, each day Scott was gone. Pam shared the quilt in a 2009 Q.S.O.S. interview: Well, the name of this quilt is “Scott’s Victory Quilt”and he named it sort of tongue in cheek. When the events of September 11, 2001 occurred, Scott was in the Army Special Forces and he was a first responder to Afghanistan after those attacks in New York. I told him that it was more danger than we knew he had ever been in before knowing that he was going to Afghanistan. I think the country in general was in shock during that time and we just didn’t know what to expect with his going over there. But because of that I said, ‘Scott, I really don’t know what to do to help you, but I’m going to make a quilt while you’re gone. We’ll put a block in it for every day you’re gone so that you will know without a doubt that we thought about you every single day and that we did not just become complacent about your being over there.’ We chose to do this quilt as a memory quilt and we used Pigma markers to actually write messages on the blocks each day. The pattern is a half square triangle, a very simple quiltmaking pattern. The construction method or technique is called quilt-as-you-go [all three layers are sewn at once.] and while I developed the specific construction plan for this quilt, I’m pretty sure I was influenced at the time by a book written by Georgia Bonesteel. And I forget the name of her book, but it was a book about quilt-as-you-go methods. The blocks I did by machine and we wrote messages on the blocks and then all the quilting was done by hand and then each block was added day by day and row by row. We chose to start the blocks in the center of the quilt and then we added the rows in a clockwise fashion around to build out from the center and the reason we did that was because we didn’t know how long Scott was going to be deployed. He could have been deployed 2 years. He could have been deployed 2 months or God forbid, he could have been gone 2 weeks and come home in a box. We just really did not know how big this quilt was gonna be so we started in the center. The quilt is almost a play by play of the war and in many cases it documents things that were going on in the family like his dad’s 60th birthday, his brother being deployed in the Navy reserves and there was even a proposal of marriage documented in this quilt. It was signed by his children, his siblings, his cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents, and a couple of strangers that he didn’t even know that were friends of the family. There are even some secret messages in this quilt that some people wrote on the seams of the quilt and I’ve never told Scott where they are or what they say. I only told him that someday I might tell him. It just really documents a whole lot that was going on in our lives. That first deployment Scott was only gone 6½ months and he’s fine. I should say that he did come home and he was gone about 6½ months for that deployment but a couple of weeks before he was due to come home, he was able to let us know that and so we planned the edges of the quilt. The borders we actually sent out to California to his grandmother, who is Lucille, my mother-in-law. She quilted those and sent them back and they became part of the quilt too and then the top and bottom borders that you’ll see were actually signed by people who came to his coming home party when he got home. And because we had done it in a quilt as you go fashion, the quilt was done just a couple of weeks after he came home even though it was all hand quilted. If I had made the quilt top and then quilted it after the fact, he would have had to wait for it probably 6 months or more. Pam also recorded an audio ‘postscript’, sharing a bit about Scott and the quilt since her interview in 2009, and how this quilt provided comfort in a difficult time: You can read more quilt stories on the Quilters’ S.O.S.- Save Our Stories page on the Quilt Alliance website. Posted by Emma Parker Project Manager, Quilters’ S.O.S.- Save Our Stories…

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Streets of Our Childhood.

On this day in 1969, “Sesame Street,” the educational television show for young children conceived by documentary producer Joan Ganz Cooney, debuted. Cooney hired puppeteer Jim Henson to create diverse characters with positive social messages to help underprivileged 3-5-year-olds prepare for kindergarten. Bert and Ernie, Big Bird, Oscar the Grouch, Cookie Monster and friends have aired in more than 120 countries and today, an estimated 8 million people watch the show each week in the U.S. alone. Letha Lundquist of Port Sanilac, Michigan, hand pieced, hand appliqued and hand quilted this original design of scenes from her childhood, titled “A Village Street” in 1978. Lundquist documented her quilt as part of the Michigan Quilt Project in 1984. View this quilt on The Quilt Index to find out! Read more about its history, design and construction. Be sure to use the zoom tool for a detailed view or click the “See full record” link to see a larger image and all the data entered about that quilt. Source: http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/sesame-street-debuts Posted by Amy E. Milne Executive Director, Quilt Alliance…

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A Georgia Star for Daisy.

On this day in 1860, Juliette Gordon Low, the founder of the Girl Scouts of the USA was born in Savannah, Georgia. Known to her family as Daisy, Ms. Low had a lifelong interest in the arts and a love of animals including exotic birds. Visitors to the family home–a museum since 1956 (www.juliettegordonlowbirthplace.org)–can view a star-patterned quilt, made by Low’s niece Sarah Stites Gordon, proudly displayed in one of the bedrooms. This remarkably modern looking “Star of Columbia” quilt was made in Fort Gaines, Georgia between 1876-1900. It was pieced by hand and machine, and quilted by hand and is 79 inches square. The owner of the quilt, the granddaughter of the quiltmaker, contributed this documentation in Minnesota. She recalled: “The big house burned in 1939 from a chimney fire. The tenants were able to get 2 trunks of quilts & my grandmother’s organ out. Family bible, 14 portraits and 5 trunks of quilts burned. My father and mother kept the quilts and at their death passed on to me and my sister. My sister died July 2008. She had no children.” This quilt was documented during the Minnesota Quilt Project in 2010. View this quilt on The Quilt Index to find out! Read more about its history, design and construction. Be sure to use the zoom tool for a detailed view or click the “See full record” link to see a larger image and all the data entered about that quilt. Source: http://www.girlscouts.org/who_we_are/history/low_biography/ Posted by Amy E. Milne Executive Director, Quilt Alliance…

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Deviled and Angel.

On this day sometime in the early 1940’s, the tradition of “Devil’s Night” began in the Detroit, Michigan. Similar to “Mischief Night” practiced in other parts of the U.S. and the world, the night was marked by vandalism including arson, especially from 1970’s to the 1990’s. Community activists have attempted to tame the cultural phenomenon by renaming it “Angel’s Night” and organizing volunteer neighborhood patrols to keep the peace and prevent crime. Jane Burch Cochran of Rabbit Hash, Kentucky made this 65” x 54” quilt, titled “Deviled and Angel,” in 2003. It is part of the Founders Collection at the National Quilt Museum. View this quilt on The Quilt Index to find out! Read more about its history, design and construction. Be sure to use the zoom tool for a detailed view or click the “See full record” link to see a larger image and all the data entered about that quilt. Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Devil%27s_Night Posted by Amy E. Milne Executive Director, Quilt Alliance…

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