Iowa-Illinois Quilt Study Group

The April 2, 2005 meeting was held at the Kalona 
Quilt and Textile Museum in the Kalona Historic Village.
The pictures below are all thumbnails.
Click on the to see them close up.

The magnolia tree in front of the Kalona Quilt and Textile Museum was no match to the quilts presented inside the Grout Church located in the Kalona Historical Village. Last Saturday, 51 quilt historians from Iowa, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Missouri came to the beautiful Midwestern Amish community of Kalona, Iowa to study timeless quilt treasures with fellow quilt enthusiasts. The group was welcomed by The Kalona Historical Village President and Marilyn Woodin, the quilt curator of the Kalona Quilt and Textile Museum.

Cathy Litwinow opened up the morning Show and Share portion of the meeting and the group was treated to some eye candy.

Stop_Sign_Quilt_with_Red_Centers.jpg 1Juanita started the show and share with a Hexagon and Triangle of navy blue, rose, muslin, and brown dating circa 1870's -- a similar quilt can be found on pages 38 & 39 of American Quilts from Michigan State University Log_Cabin_Pinks_Indigo_Burgandy_Marilyn_G.jpg 2Museum, 2003. Marilyn G. showed a Log Cabin in the Straight Furrow set. The quilting was done diagonally. The indigo, burgundy, shirting, and pink log quilt came from an estate in Cambridge, Illinois. Barb showed a Single Irish Chain-9-patch, which Log_Cabin_Browns_and_Pinks.jpg (60049 bytes)doubled as an indigo study piece. Other colors were bronze, madder, chrome with feed sacks used as well. Janice found a lovely Log Cabin at a garage sale with Baptist fan quilting. With white and pink centers the logs were mostly browns.

Connie_Bandstra_Quilt.jpg (56273 bytes) Connie brought Grandma Klynn's family treasure. The pinwheel variation colors were arranged to make identification of the pattern difficult. The family has always called it the Scrappy Quilt. Susan discovered a basket quilt made by Carlie Sexton's Aunt Raney. Ms. Raney used Susan_Price_Millers_Quilt.jpg (56684 bytes)mail order patterns and magazine articles from the 1920's that won her State Fair awards. Carlie gave the quilt to a neighbor who lived in Wheaton, IL. The quilt came back to IA. The unusual feature, for a quilt made in the 1930's, was the small scale piecing and the 5 inch featured wreaths in the setting squares and 3/8th inch grid quilting. 

Tulip_Border_Quilt.jpg (116216 bytes)Babette wowed the group with a Bow Tie quilt with 2 and a half inch squares. A Trip Around the World setting was used. The quilt thought to be made in Iowa was finished with a now faded red tulip border. Purchased at an auction in Springfield, Illinois, Vyki's 4-block Cherry Tree Top amazed the group. The historians in the group discovered the pattern was from a 1922 LADIES HOME JOURNAL. Similar quilts are in the Art Institute of Chicago and the Denver Art Institute. LHJ sold a V_Jacksons_Cherry_Tree.jpg (170233 bytes)transfer pattern for the quilt. There was a Bucilla kit with four simplified cherry trees and a few birds. The Tree of Life with birds in the branches and vases in between had the border vine just basted on. The number of cherries in the tree's been not counted but close to 40+ per tree. Jacqueline's sister-in-law's father bought a Applique_-_Beautiful_Red_and_Green.jpg (92442 bytes)Rose Cross with Oak leaf and Tulips - when the husband saw it he hated it so the quilt became Jacqueline's. The four blocks were set together with the tiniest green piping between blocks and border. There was wreath quilting. This pattern was seen in the 1850's-60's. 

Carrie_Quinns_Stars_and_Stripes.jpg (120328 bytes)Another highlight was the bars and stars quilt brought by Carrie. It was thought to be handed down from the owner's family. A similar quilt can also be found on p.31 of Barbara Brackman's QUILTS FROM THE CIVIL WAR. Leona found a Tumbler quilt which was almost a charm quilt. There were only a few fabrics Scrap_Quilt_-_Twin_or_Smaller_Size.jpg (168693 bytes)duplicated. One unusual conversation print was of a newspaper boy. The top was found in an Iowa antique mall and finished by quilting in the ditch.

Tan_and_Red_and_White_Quilt.jpg (100495 bytes)Flower_and_Lime_Solid_Square_Quilt.jpg (118713 bytes)Shirley displayed a Burgoyne Surrounded - some of the colors have faded. The quilt was made by a Great Aunt and given to the owner's mother as a wedding present at her 1896 wedding. 4-H members might have made the Ruby Short McKim's Flower Garden Quilt (published in 1930). Some of the flowers were colored rather embroidered. Signatures (Initials) were embroidered on each block. The light green alternating blocks were quilted with a four-leaf clover. Bev exhibited a red and tan baby quilt. This 9-patch set on point was dated as circa 1880. 

Small_Peach_Quilt.jpg (31148 bytes)A quilt purchased in Des Moines, IA at the Marilyn Hines auction came with a history. Supposedly it was made by a Dr. Park's wife and daughter Jennie for him to take to the Civil War. The red fabrics were for love of his wife, the pinks for Jennie, and the blue and whites for the Union. Jennie died in her 90's and the quilt was given to Mrs. Hines. Jane is the fortunate owner. 

Shirleys_Find.jpg (94807 bytes)Bowtie_Comforter.jpg (99679 bytes)Shirley amazes us each meeting with her fabulous finds. This time it was printing blocks used to print fabric. The holders' arms got tired holding the heavy wood and metal pieces. The blocks came from Scotland, the registration points were seen on each corner so the blocks would line up accurately. One was a flower pattern and the other could have used for a border. 

Dr1._Barbaras_Qult.jpg (104218 bytes)Barbara started a discussion on a tan and dark green quilt with a tape binding, which could possibly be Amish/Mennonite and from Lancaster, PA. It was dated circa 1880's. 


Log_Cabin_Yellow_Center.jpg (68162 bytes)Jenean's Log cabin quilt did double duty as an antique in the am and an Indigo study in the afternoon. Purchased from a Cedar Rapids antique shop, this Barn Raising set top was a study in the many Indigo's available in the 1870's. Other colors were creams and yellows. The squares were stitched on a fabric foundation. 

Scrap_Square_Quilt.jpg (280297 bytes)Over 700 different fabrics were used to make Kim Cairns' Herringbone/triangle quilt. Purchased at an antique shop in 2002, only 6 or 7 fabrics were duplicated. The rich madders and double pinks added to the movement of the piece. To top it off the back was an Eli Walker fabric. Kims_Scrap_Quilt_with_Browns.jpg (118637 bytes)DeLaine brought a double 4-patch made in the 1880-90's. This was only one of the few quilts that were machine quilted. Catherine Noll Litwinow ended the morning show and share by showing paternal twins Dogwood Blossom Applique Kit Quilts. One had a lime sherbet background and the other a light blue. The kits were "Progress #1392. It should be noted that the kit was also available with a peach background. 

Scrap_Quilt_Red_Checked_Center.jpg (125289 bytes)Next on the IIQSG meeting agenda was a tour of the current quilt exhibit at the Kalona Quilt and Textile Museum entitled "Baltimore Beauties from Iowa." The Baltimore Album Quilts were appliqués by Thuy Nguyen, these magnificent works of art awed the Study group. This must-see exhibit is a bit of Maryland in the Midwest.

Cathy_and_Babette_Indigo_Kit_Demonstration.jpg (128270 bytes)After lunch the group was treated to an afternoon Indigo study. The Indigo program began with a dye kit demonstration, led by Cathy Litwinow and her assistant Babette Moorleghan, of the oxygenation needed to turn the yellow tape which was submerged in a mixture of activated indigo and sodium hydrosulfite solution. The dyeing kit can be purchased from the Universe of Science. Inc at


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The Indigo demonstrations items were swept away and an afternoon Indigo Show and Share began. 6 large tables were filled with examples of a large variety of Indigo items. The group got to see: 1 Kimono, 1 silk Sari (a sorry sari), 2 items from the Amana Print Works in the form of an apron and a pillow, 19 quilts, 11 tops, 4 set of indigo blocks, and a comforter. Sixteen pieces of new and old indigo fabrics were shown and Da Gama fabrics (some of these fabrics are available at

Karan Flanscha shared her Indigo Textile Study notebook with the group. Some Japanese Indigos were brought -- To make Japanese Indigo, the cloth is fermented in Japanese Cypress vats. This technique is dying out. (See the 1994 Sept/Oct PIECE WORK MAGAZINE). With Indigo, a difficult to date fabric, it is only through discussion and comparing the fabrics used with the indigo, that some of the pieces were dated. 

AKeota_Ia_Harper_Ia_Signature_Album_QUilt_1890.jpg (283049 bytes) fabulous Redwork Album Fundraising Signature quilt made by the Ladies Social Circle, M.E. Church, Keota, Iowa was shown to the group by Rachel (from the Wilson Memorial Libary) and Andi Reynolds (IIQSG member). Made in 1890 as a church fundraiser the quilt contains business ads within blocks ($3.00) and signatures (10 cents). The quilt hung in the M.E. Church for years until the church closed. A member stored it in her home for a number of years until it was given to the Wilson Memorial Library, Keota, Iowa which houses Keota's museum. As of March 2005, this quilt is being documented and researched. The quilt is approximately 60 x 70 and is tied at the block intersections.

The group had time to visit the village with special attention given to the Weaving House. The next meeting of IIQSG is Saturday, August 6, 2005 and we welcome all of you to come.

Sue in Illinois


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