For Immediate Release
For information or to view the quilt:
Gail Miller (413) 743-2189
Connie Logan (413) 528-9941
Berkshire Quilters Replicate Susan B. Anthony’s Quilt
Adams, MA – June 12, 2012
Berkshire quilters have created a replica of the quilt top made by Susan B. Anthony when she was 15 years old. The 8-pointed LeMoyne star pattern is pieced with predominantly indigo and tan calicos with a muslin backing that resemble as closely as possible young Susan’s original fabrics. The original quilt is in storage at the Rochester Museum and Science Center because it is too fragile for public display.
According to Cheshire quilter and coordinator of the project Gail Miller, the quilt top took 13 months to complete. “64 quilters participated. They came from as far as Windsor and Bennington in the north and Great Barrington in the south,” she said. “We first met to shop for reproduction quilt fabrics. Next, we gathered at the Ralph Florio Senior Citizen Center in Pittsfield to cut the fabric into 1,500 squares, diamonds, and triangles to create the 6” blocks.” Two Berkshire quilt shops, Tala’s Quilt Shop in North Adams and The Pumpkin Patch in Lee, MA, assisted in the fabric selection and cutting.
Please click image to enlarge.
Because Susan’s quilt was hand-pieced and some quilters had never done hand-stitching, the quilters attended a tutorial by Connie Logan, quilt historian and juried quilter of Great Barrington who oversaw the technical assembly. “The stars use 16 different fabric designs in uncoordinated prints, suggesting that this was likely made of scraps,” Logan says. “Perhaps she collected the scraps from fabrics that her father’s mills produced here in Adams.”
Carol Crossed, President of the Susan B Anthony Birthplace says young Susan demonstrated fine needlework skills at an early age. “I can just imagine her sitting by one of these windows at her mother’s knee learning to make her stitches straight and small.”
From the Berkshires, the masterpiece will travel to Overland Park, Kansas, where a second group of quilters will add thousands of tiny hand stitches to join the quilt top to its backing and batting (lining). Kansas was selected for the finishing phase of the quilt because two of Susan’s brothers moved there to take part in that state’s antislavery activities and because Kansas was one of the early states to give women the vote. The finished project will return to its permanent home at the Susan B. Anthony Birthplace Museum.
“We had a great time working on the quilt,” says Miller, whose textile art is for sale in the Birthplace Museum’s gift shop. “And though we’re sorry to see it go, we’re looking forward to seeing it completed and hanging in the Birthplace Museum.”
Please click image to enlarge.
About the Susan B. Anthony Birthplace Museum and Gift Shop, Adams, MA: The Susan B. Anthony Birthplace Museum, recently restored and opened in the spring of 2010, is the childhood home of the legendary human rights leader. Learn about her Quaker community and the beliefs and influences that sustained her in her life-long struggle to win the vote for women and freedom for slaves. This rural, Federal-style home contains period pieces and ephemera, depicting family and work life in the early 1800s, and a detailed timeline of significant events in her life. Call 413-743-7121 or visit www.susanbanthonybirthplace.org.