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Dorothy Overholt and possibly the world’s largest quilt label on the back of the Victorian crazy quilt made by her grandmother Matilda prior to her marriage in 1890.You make it-own it! I encourage quilters to label the quilts they make. Whether it is a quilt masterpiece or just a cheerful quilt for the toddler to lug around. Some quilters reject the idea on the premise it makes them look boastful, but from a historic perspective labeled quilts allow generations ahead to cherish them and the hands that made them.

Last week I had the pleasure of speaking to the Curios Antique Club members. Meeting hostess Phyllis informed the group it was fine to bring in quilts to share and they did! Century old finely stitched quilts hung around the meeting space making for a dramatic backdrop to my presentation. One of the quilts intrigued me because it looked like one big quilt label. Later, I turn up a corner revealing a beautiful Victorian lavishly embroidered crazy-quilt dated 1889 on the other side. Quilt owner Dorothy Overholt did not want to show the “crazy” side because at some point her mother washed it causing damage. The 54″ x 74″ quilt was started in 1888 by Dorothy’s maternal grandmother Matilda (Crowl) Swander in anticipation of “some day” getting married. Her dreams come true on June 1, 1890 when she marries Emery M. Swander.

Sadly, Matilda was struck down with paralysis in 1921 and six years later died at her oldest daughter’s home in rural Albion on November 27, 1927 at 41. How could Matilda predict her life would take such an unexpected and tragic turn? She couldn’t. It was with great foresight that she embroidered in huge letters in her hand “Emery and Matilda maried (sic), June the First 1890 age 24 and 22” on the back of her quilt.

Dorothy never knew her grandmother Matilda. The quilt is their link. Now at eighty years old Dorothy plans to bestow it on a younger family member to care and cherish it until their time to pass it down again.

As is often the case, the members learned a lot about the care and restoration of quilts and I in turn learned about the Curios Antique Club. The club was founded in February 1966. The current members’ interests range from antique pottery to kitchen items to purses and hat pins to dolls and garden implements which makes for a wealth of knowledge and understanding of antiques which is shared at their monthly meetings. The club members support philanthropic causes and enjoy social gatherings too. Anyone is welcome to join them on Tuesday, September 3, when they travel to Cambridge, Indiana for their annual day trip. For membership information contact Gloria Laird at 749-0577 for bus trip information contact Nancy Murphy at 485-2623.

Lois Eubank is the owner of Born Again Quilts a restoration studio located at 4005 South Wayne Ave.

Lois Levihn

She is the author of the "Around the Frame" quilting column. She is a graduate of Wayne HS. Quilts have always been important to her, she loves the stories surrounding them, the techniques used in making them, & restoring them. > Read Full Biography > More Articles Written By This Writer