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ATF 121815Snowballs and Job’s tears: What do they have in common?

Obviously they both consist of water and are wet, but they also adjoin each other on a popular quilt pattern from the 1930s and ‘40s.

Now like many quilt patterns these two have more than one name. Some call them baseball and kite. The “tears” pattern is also known as hummingbird and periwinkle.

The snowball/baseball pattern generally applies when the quiltmaker uses white fabric for the alternate block. The beauty of this quilt is it is a great way to use up a lot of small scraps and the snowballs break up the busyness of the design giving the quilt structure.

Three snow-tears have recently passed through Born Again Quilts. One from the 1880s has a new home in Wauna, Washington, one made by Mary Alice in 1942 now resides in West Linn, Oregon, and the third quilt brought in by Steve and Judy Wiwi of Fort Wayne for restoration.

Steve’s quilt came down through the family. His mother Martha Sintz Wiwi was born in 1910 and grew up in New Trenton Indiana-Franklin County. She was the youngest of ten children. Martha’s maternal grandmother made the quilt. Steve remembers her last name was Metzler. She made the quilt with brown-white shirting fabrics of the first quarter of the 20th century and later floral and geometric prints. Nicely hand-quilted it is a beautiful quilt except…the brown prints have rotted from the shirting fabrics leaving behind tears of shreds.

Steve and Judy were present for the quilt’s autopsy and they decided to have the shredded pieces replaced. Various vintage fabric scraps from the era were used to blend in with the other floral and geometric prints.

Steve’s grandson Cohen tagged along when he came by to pick up the quilt. A safety pin held in place the heap of tatters next to the twelve sets of replaced tears. Steve and Cohen could see how the new fabrics blended in with the “good” set of tears in each block. Thankfully, there were a couple of sets of shirting fabric tears that although not in great shape were determined to be sturdy enough to remain as reminders of the decades long spans between the original fabrics.

The safety pins were removed and the original fabric pieces returned to Steve as a reminder of how deteriorated they had become. Now it will be up to Judy to see if she can find without assistance the new vintage pieces on their “Born Again” quilt!

Lois Levihn is the owner of Born Again Quilts, 4005 South Wayne Avenue. The studio is open Wednesdays from 5:30pm-7pm and Saturdays 9-4pm or by appointment. Contact her at 260-515-9446 or bornagainquilts.com. Watch the BAQ PBS video at: bit.ly/1jnFJ4N.

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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