Monday, January 7, 2013

Life Stories With Quilts

I love the stories behind quilts.  The quilt names, who made them, when and where, and was the quilt for a special occasion.  Today I'm sharing a story of a quilt that spans generations.

“A Star Quilt is Born”
By Kay Littleford Quist

In the early 1930’s an eight pointed pieced fabric star quilt was begun by my mother Marie Steitz to be put into her hope chest for the time she would marry Charles Littleford. However, this was not truly the beginning of the quilt.

It was really begun by my Great Grandmother Katie Sander in the 1920’s as she saved scraps of material from old clothes worn by her daughter, my Grandmother, Kate Eliza Sander Steitz. My Grandma Kate had three daughters whom she sewed clothes for; she also saved scrap material from the girls’ clothing. The diamond pieces for the quilt star were cut and hand sewed together by my mother from all of these saved scraps. However, this was as far as mother got on the quilt and it was put away into the cedar chest to be finished “someday”.

The star was always in the chest through my childhood and into my adult married years. My mother passed away in July of 2002, so then the star came to me and I put it away in a drawer thinking always that “someday” I would find a way to have it made into a quilt.

One day I took it out of the drawer to show to my daughter Alisa Anne Quist, who immediately knew what a treasure we had. Thus, I passed it on to her and she cared for it for about 10 years. 

During 2010 Alisa met a lovely neighbor lady one day as she was walking her dogs. They became friends and Alisa learned that she was an expert quilting teacher and designer. My daughter did some graphic design work for her and in spring of 2012 Alisa took the star out and showed it to her new friend, Kerry Green, to see if she could give her some information about completing the quilt. Needless to say Kerry had all the answers and became my daughter’s advisor while she completed the quilt to give to me for Christmas 2012.

The quilt was finally completed about 90 years after it was started. And so this is the story of our “Family Star Quilt”, which has been helped on its way to completion by five generations of the women in our family, and one very good friend. 

 Kay Quist is a well known artist and with the help of her daughter, Alisa, publishes instructional tole painting books.  Kay's logo is a basket brimming over with flowers and it was important to Alisa that this image be included in the quilt.  Expert machine quilter, Cindy Paulsen, quilted Kay's logo in the corners and continued flower motifs in the borders.

When Alisa brought the star to me it was a bit crooked and needed a few repairs where the hand piecing had worn over the years.  We straightened up the star, added the corners and setting triangles, then  purchased 30's fabrics for the borders that perfectly matched the fabrics used in the star.  Rather than quilting in the ditch, Cindy quilted inside each diamond with a slight curve to minimize any crooked pieces. 

I'm happy I was able to play a small part in bring this dream to life for Alisa and Kay.

p.s.  don't forget to label your quilts!

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