Collecting quilt patterns is the pathway through the decades of the American experience. They are woman's way of marking major events and historic eras throughout her lifetime. Every major battle and event in the tumultuous times in which she lived was quietly recorded by her with needle and cloth and gave to us this wonderful journey through time. They are as uniquely American as the women who recorded the events and news of the past century and a half. It was woman's way of honoring the presidents and their ladies, of remembering notable politicians, men and women of outstanding courage, of journeys, family, mundane household items, great events that marked the decade, religious devotion, politics and even flowers, trees, and blossoms were given recognition in woman's quiet quest for the beauty that surrounded her.
As I near the end of my own journey, I stand in awe at the inventiveness, humor, attention to detail and variety of the quilt blocks that woman created contained within this index series. What began as a set of thirty indexes has grown to thirty six. The fifty or sixty sources I envisioned had also grown to finding more than ninety three. It is also with a bit of sadness that I reach the end of my five year journey. But along the way, I have met and made such wonderful friends, who in times of need, have been so generous with their patterns and resources. It is to these women I say thank you for being there with that helping hand. To Patricia Randolph, who is no longer with us, I miss you so and our constant conversations via our fingers, reaching across the country from Vermont to Oklahoma, to my good friend Connie Chunn in Missouri, who was always there with help from her own collections and her "you go girl!", to Gloria Nixon, my good friend on the prairie in Kansas, to Merikay Waldvogel in Tennessee, RoseMarie Werner in Minnesota who always managed to meet me at the front door, Sue Wildemuth in Illinois, Sharon Pinka in Ohio and who is always full of Rainbows, Diane Zumfeldt in Ohio, Melinda Pease in Oklahoma who keeps guard over the website, and the distinct pleasure of having many conversations with Cuesta Benberry. In one e-mail, Cuesta wrote, "I know you are compiling individual volumes but I can't help but think of this effort in an overall way. To me this is AN ANTHOLOGY OF LATE NINETEENTH CENTURY AND TWENTIETH CENTURY PUBLISHED QUILT PATTERNS. It is a major undertaking and a significant contribution to American quilt history. It is a comprehensive work." That statement to me made the long years of research so worthwhile. My fingers have indeed spoken and traveled to visit many across this country.
© 2010 Rose Lea Alboum
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