A close up of Zelda Zimmerman’s antique comforter. For photos of other quilts featured in this article go to the Born Again Quilts Facebook page.

Over 400 quilt enthusiasts enjoyed the Quilt Fair at the Huber Opera House in Hicksville, Ohio. It was heartening to hear people tell me how they read about it in the Waynedale News!

The attendees, who mostly hailed from Indiana and Ohio, voted for the People’s Choice Award from among the 100+ quilts on display ranging from a hand pieced/hand quilted antique quilt from the mid-1800’s to modern masterpieces. The talent on display was amazing.

I was at the show in dual roles: vendor and quilt pathologist. As a vendor I was happy a scrappy 1960’s quilt that was hand quilted in arcs and a 1920’s kit quilt of large embroidered flowers and French knot “seeds” found their new home. The quilt I was most delighted to find a new home was a pre-quilted kit quilt of a Keystone Cop swinging his billy club as he merrily walks through a field of flowers as he blissfully ignores the “Stay off the Grass” sign while a blue bird chirps. This purchase was special because one of the ladies who worked really hard to make this show a success purchased it because her son who is a police officer and his wife recently welcomed a baby boy! How appropriate is that!

I performed several quilt autopsies at the fair. Cheryl Hanna of Hicksville, Ohio brought in the double wedding ring quilt made by her great-grandmother, Jennie Pearl Baldwin (1884-1970) who lived in Grover Hill, Ohio where she quilted, crocheted and sewed clothes for families and dolls. Looking at the fabrics, the latest fabrics were from the 1950’s. Cheryl remembers it being used as a bedspread back in the 1960’s and when she purchased her first home in 1981 her mother gave her the quilt to treasure. She was concerned that having been washed numerous times damaged it. I assured her that wasn’t the case. There were several places where at first glance appeared to be white rectangular blocks, but on closer inspection what we were looking at was the white batting. Except for a narrow band still sewn to the next rectangular piece the rest of the fabric was gone. Inspecting the remnants I could tell the original fabric was loosely woven and some slight brown that these pieces were most likely unstable madder brown fabric that rots away. Cheryl plans to bring the quilt to BAQ so we can remove some pieces from a wedding ring cutter quilt and restore her quilt. Cheryl would like nothing more than to once again have it back on her bed.

Beth Ann Smith, Paulding, Ohio brought in her green and cream maple leaf quilt from the 1950’s that belonged to her paternal grandmother, Zelma Jackson Smith Gustin. Beth Ann knows she didn’t make it and has no information on how she obtained it. The quilt was passed down to her. Being a two-color solid fabric quilt, makes dating it a little trickier, but based on information and the color of green, the 1950’s seems to be the time period. On one section of the quilt there was red and purple dye on the cream pieces. Beth Ann and I held the quilt up and let light shine through. Beth Ann was surprised to learn that her quilt was “batted” with a piece of printed fabric which bled through creating the spots on the front.

Zelda Zimmerman, Hicksville, Ohio, brought in a comforter that was the oldest textile to be autopsied. She doesn’t know who created it. It was made of a floral upholstery type fabric hand pieced in long strips and tied in two colors. The back was gray striped ticking flannel the type my mother refers to as “outing” which is indicative of the 20th century – 1920’s is a good estimate. The flowers are raised from the background. A two-inch strip of another fabric was added to both of the long sides making those around the autopsy table wonder: Why? It would make such an insignificant difference, why bother? Some puzzles go to the grave with the maker: We are left to wonder.

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