Six Generations of Quilt Makers
Recently I heard a wonderful guild program given by two local quilters. They have quilts made by women over six generations of their family. You read that right—six generations! It was an unusual and interesting approach.
Ruth Haarberg and Gretchen Kubik are mother and daughter. They own Wagner’s Quilts & Conversation in Arapahoe, Nebraska, and their presentation was delightful.
The quilts from the six generations were hung on stands with skirt hangers (very effective!). On each quilt was a picture of the maker with a few important details.
Do you suppose Ella Mae ever dreamed that her work would be shown to the oohs and ahhs of a quilt group in another town? She was born during the Civil War.
I bet Mabel would be pleased to know how much the Prairie Quilt Guild enjoyed her quilts in 2017!
It was interesting to see the makers’ photos with their quilts, right along with the dates they lived. It seemed to put things into perspective.
I love to examine hand embroidery and to think about how long ago those stitches were taken.
This quilt was made by Ruth’s daughter Gretchen. I like the rickrack.
This is the youngest of the six generations. I didn’t get a photo of the doll quilt she made but it was precious.
Ruth has a deadpan humor that had us rolling. She loves to make scrappy quilts like the one above.
She also has a knack for uncovering quilts in odd places, like the “dog basket” at the local thrift shop. You must understand that her community is a small town of about a thousand people. She finds these quilts and hangs them in her shop, and sometimes people decide they want them back!
These Jacob’s Ladder blocks were made by Aunt Sarah, whose work was evidently not considered up to par with some other quilters in the family. The blocks were found in a drawer. The fascinating back story is that Sarah devoted her lifetime to raising four children whose mother was committed to an institution. So in reality, Sarah had quite a full plate and can be forgiven for less-than-perfect stitches!
When I see vintage quilts up close, I realize how wonderful the reproduction fabrics of today really are. We are so lucky that fabric companies have gone to the trouble of reproducing the beautiful materials of years past.
Ruth bought this rectangular quilt from a local woman, and it was one of my favorites. Its odd shape (like a cot quilt?) appealed to me, along with its brick-like configuration. This maker was fearless.
Ruth pointed out this cigarette fabric. Probably not something you’d find today.
And in two colors, no less! I wonder how the quilter came to have cigarette fabric in two hues. Samples from a factory? I just don’t know.
I had to show you this house quilt that Ruth shared. The colors tell me it’s from around the same time that I learned to quilt in the 1980s. Dusty blue, unbleached muslin, mauve…my bedroom walls were papered in mauve, and my first and second quilts were in these colors! It’s wonderful how fabric can evoke memories, isn’t it?
I’m always inspired by seeing other people’s work, especially over a lifetime. When you make a quilt, you’re building a legacy for others to enjoy long after you are gone. I think that’s a very good thing.
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