A few weeks ago, I had planned to meet my friend Robin who summers at the family farm near Fairmount, Indiana for our annual trip to the Quilter’s Hall of Fame Celebration in Marion, Indiana. The morning of our planned rendezvous, I was in contact with fellow quilter Georgi Schneider who had also planned to attend The Celebration. Georgi picked me up and when we arrived, Robin and Georgi were introduced, as we hurried to watch the Zoom presentation being given by the latest inductee Diane Gaudynski. Diane was the first machine quilter to be inducted into the Quilters Hall of Fame and she was well deserving of the accolade. We were surrounded by her quilts as she flipped up photos and described her inspiration, techniques, and challenges of making them. For one quilt, she purchased 50 shades of pinks, but when she started putting it together, it just didn’t have the look she expected, so she set it aside, had some chocolate and came back to find her calico cat sprawled over it. Seeing the cat, she understood the issue and knew what she needed to do: She bought more pink fabrics: 150 more! Looking at her quilts, they were astounding when you learn she doesn’t use templates to quilt them; they just got in her way, and she could envision and create the exact look she wanted without them. She also did all the quilting on a regular sewing machine. She told us about the first time she had a full -size quilt rolled up and ready to learn how to quilt it with assistance from Harriet Hargrave, author of Heirloom Machine Quilting. As Diane struggled to position it, she threw herself backwards off her chair!
After viewing Diane’s gorgeous quilts, we admired the quilts in the exhibit honoring the Heritage Inductee, Florence LaGanke Harris (1886-1972). At age 22, she became the editor of the Home Economics Department of the Plain Dealer newspaper in Cleveland, Ohio. She became nationally known when her column Nancy Page was picked up by newspapers across the USA. Originally her columns focused on child-rearing and running a household. In the early 1930s, quilting was having a renaissance fueled in part by the celebration of President George Washington’s Bicentennial birthday celebration in 1932. Florence added Nancy Page’s Tuesday Quilt Club to her daily articles. Every Tuesday a pattern was printed in series. The column ran until after WW II.
The quilts made from Nancy Page columns were on display highlighting the “soft colors for hard times” of the Depression and WW II eras. A quilt with two birds sitting in an urn, that I’ve viewed several times, I now know is a Nancy Page design. The Heritage Inductee’s works were accomplished 80 or more years ago.
Well known Queen of Scraps, Judy Martin, was also at The Celebration with a new book on patriotic quilt designs. Lots of red, white, and blue here! Robin and I were looking at one quilt made of stars and squares, and I commented it looks like a double wedding ring. As Judy conducted her walk-through she made the same comment as I poked Robin. The way it was designed is quite interesting because there are no curved pieces. An illusion is made by off-setting squares. Judy folded a side over to show that the squares were in a straight row, losing the illusion. Her quilting philosophical gem is “laziness is the mother of invention!”
Both Georgi and Robin were stunned by the quilt display in the large sanctuary of the United Methodist Church. Robin declared she would never experience a church sanctuary quite the same again. Walking the streets of Marion, tree lovers Robin and Georgi were both impressed with a magnificent old tree. Georgi now wants to bring her husband Bill to Marion so he can enjoy the various architectural home styles that line Washington St. Over lunch at a locally owned BBQ spot served by the delightful Ella, Robin and Georgi learned about each other’s health-imposed and self-imposed diets as well as their love of travel and family.
When it was time to part, Georgi expressed how happy she was to have been included in our annual Celebration jaunt and to make a new friend. Next year we plan to meet again not as “new friends” but cherished “old friends”.
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