Iowa QuiltScape for August 30th, 2019

Learning from a Crazy Quilt

This 1889 crazy quilt has become somewhat of the darling of our current exhibit, and it’s no wonder. This is a stunning example of a Crazy Quilt, made by Harriet A. Whitney of Green Bay, Wisconsin. She used silks (woven, ribbons, & jacquards) in this hand pieced, hand embroidered beauty. (It’s actually not a quilt because the layers are not quilted together). Harriet’s father was the owner of the largest department store in Green Bay at the time, affording her a wide selection of fabrics, ribbons, and embroidery floss.

Crazy quilts became popular after the Philadelphia Exhibition of 1876, where crazed and crackled glazed ceramics were shown in the Japan pavilion. Crazy quilts grew to be a major fad, with designs for embroidery published in newspapers, and bundles of silk satins, velvets, and other fancy weaves sold through retailers such as Montgomery Ward. These “fancy” quilts were never meant to be used on beds; rather they were intended to be artistic additions to home decor. So what you are seeing is essentially the first type of “art” quilt.

In this exhibit, the Crazy Quilt is serving as a great illustration of the idea of social class and its relationship to the art of quilting. Curator Judy Schwender writes, “People often assume patchwork, appliqué, and quilting grew out of necessity—that quiltmaking originated with poor people stitching together scraps of fabric to create warm bedding. Research reveals [and this particular quilt illustrates] this is not so. Until the 19th century…the only people with the means to purchase costly fabrics and the time to sew elaborate textiles for the home were upper class women. Until the industrial revolution of the early 1800s, patchwork and quilting remained the leisure activities of these wealthy, respectable ladies.”

You can see Judy talk more about this quilt (and see the quilt in greater detail) in this video.


“Thank You” to our sponsors


Laura Ingalls Wilder Remembered Quilting Bee

September 1st, 10:00 am – 4:30 pm
Herbert Hoover Presidential Library & Museum, West Branch

The Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum is hosting Laura Ingalls Wilder Remembered, Sunday, September 1, 2019. A part of this event at 2:00 p.m., A Long Way Home, will feature Kirkwood Community College Reference Librarian and historical interpreter, Sarah S. Uthoff. A Long Way Home is a presentation about the famous author and pioneer, Laura Ingalls Wilder.

As part of the Laura Ingalls Wilder event, guests are invited to participate in an old fashioned quilting bee. There will be a bear paw quilt on a large frame in the Museum lobby for anyone to come and quilt, stay a little while – or stay all day. Needles and thread will be provided. The Bear Paw quilt pattern was chosen because it is mentioned in the Little House books. The quilt blocks have been donated by Laura fans from near and far and the Cotton Creek Mill Quilt Shoppe in West Branch has kindly assembled the blocks into a quilt top.

The day will be great for both children and adults and everyone is invited to wear period clothing! A Long Way Home is at 2:00 p.m. and the Quilting Bee is from 10:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. A Long Way Home is free with paid museum admission, the quilting bee is free.


Sac County Quilt-A-Fair

September 21st & 22nd
Sac County Fairgrounds in Sac City

You’re invited to the Northwest quadrant of the state for a quilt show on September 21st and 22nd, 9:00 – 4:00 both days. Admission for one day is $8 or $12 for both days. This show, which will display over 300 quilts, will also feature vendors, demonstrators, scissor sharpening, a silent auction and a Quilt of Valor program. Quilt artist Mickey Dupree will present a lecture each day during the show.

Sac County also has a barn quilt trail that you might enjoy while you’re traveling to and fro, and Sac City is home to the World’s Largest Popcorn Ball of all things.


We Color the World Quilt Show

September 26th – 18th
Cultural Center, Iowa State Fairgrounds, Des Moines

Show Hours: 9:00 to 6:00 on Thursday and Friday, 9:00 to 5:00 on Saturday
One of the Raffle Quilts Available at the 2019 DMAQG “We Color the World” show.

Iowa’s largest quilt show, sponsored by the Des Moines Area Quilters Guild, is set for Thursday – Saturday, September 26, 27, and 28. This, their 37th annual quilt show, will be held at a new location, the Cultural Center at the Iowa State Fairgrounds.

“We Color the World” is the theme of this year’s show. The third floor of the Cultural Center will be filled with more than 400 quilts created by the group’s members. Dozens of vendors from several states will be displaying and selling their goods on the first and second floors, including our Gold Level Sponsors: APQS, Bernina-Woodside Quilting, Gruber’s Quilt Shop, Off the Rails Quilting, The Iowa Quilt Block, and The Woolen Needle. Several special exhibits will be on display, including a “We Color the World” collection of treasured quilts; a “Color Me with Wool” exhibit; and the President’s Challenge quilts.

Free demonstrations and quilt turnings will take place throughout the three-day event. A “Little Quilt Silent Auction” features numerous little quilts and treasures created by members. This year’s raffle offers not one, but two colorful member-created quilts. Show hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday and Friday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. Tickets are $7 at the door. Shuttles will be available between the parking areas and the quilt show. The three floors of the Cultural Center will be fully accessible by two sets of elevators and several stairways. Find more information on the DMAQG website or follow Des Moines Area Quilters Guild on Facebook.


Thank you for reading Iowa QuiltScape.
Get out and enjoy some quilts!

Iowa QuiltScape is a feature of the Iowa Quilt Museum’s periodical e-newsletter, and will highlight quilting events happening all around the state. The goal of Iowa QuiltScape is to provide a central place for Iowa quilting organizations to share upcoming events and help quilters and quilter lovers across Iowa reach a broader audience.
If you have an event you would like to share via Iowa QuiltScape, send your information to
Museum Director Megan Barrett: director@iowaquiltmuseum.org.
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  1. Jan Masenthin
    | Reply

    I wish I lived closer. All of the above sounds wonderful, and I was specially interested in the crazy quilt. I took restoration classes from Nancy Kirk and I remember her saying “if you can fix a crazy quilt you can fix anything.” She loved them and had some amazing ones. Maybe next year.

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