Rail Fence, Modern Design, Modern Blocks, Up and Down Blocks, Colt's Corral



Cite this Quilt

Bode, Esther Amand. Rail Fence. April 1993. From Michigan State University Museum, Michigan Quilt Project. Published in The Quilt Index, Accessed: 09/23/19



What is the quilt maker's father's name?

Gruedemann, August

Choose the time frame that best describes when the quilt was made.


What is the layout (or set) of the quilt?

Block pattern

What is the best description of the quilt's condition?

Good/moderate use

What is the quilt maker's maiden name?


How many quilting stitches are there per inch? Count only the stitches on the top.


What is the quilt maker's birthdate?


Choose another spot on the quilt. How many quilting stitches are there per inch? Count only the stitches on the top.


Where was the quilt maker born (city)?


What fibers were used to make the quilt back?

Cotton, Flannel

How did the owner acquire this quilt?


Where was the quilt maker born (state)?


If you are a relative of the quiltmaker, how are you related? The quiltmaker is my

Quilt owner

Tell the story of how a quilt was obtained.

From the maker Esther A. Bode

If you are the quilt owner, how did you acquire this quilt?

Received as a gift

What color is the back of the quilt?


Describe the overall quilt design.


Where was the quilt maker born (country)?

United States

Who is the copyright holder?

MSU Board of Trustees

How many pieces of fabric were used to make the quilt back?


Where was the quilt made (city)?


If applicable, when did the quilt maker die?


How do you describe the quilt back?


Where was the quilt made (county)?


What is/was the ethnic or tribal background of the quilt maker?


Where was the quilt made (state)?

Michigan (MI)

What is/was the last level of education completed by the quilt maker?

HS: Powers-Spaulding HS, Upper Penninsula, MI College: Dr. Martin Luther College, New Ulm, MN

What is/was the quilt maker's religious affiliation?

Wisconsin Lutheran Synod

What is/was the occupation of the quilt maker?

Elementary school teacher

Where was the quilt made (country)?

United States

Where does/did the quilt maker live (country)?

United States

Choose the best color scheme description for the quilt.


Quilt owner's country:

United States

Contributing Institution Name

Michigan State University Museum

What is/was the occupation of the quilt maker's spouse?

Lutheran school teacher and principal, local representative for AAL insurance, now Thrivent

If one shape is used throughout the quilt, what is that shape?


Did the quilt maker have children? If so, how many?


Enter the number of different block patterns used in the quilt.


How many of the quilt maker's children were girls?


How many of the quilt maker's children were boys?


How did the quilt maker learn to quilt?

From TV show, Self-Taught

When did the quilt maker begin making quilts?

Age 50 or over

Why does/did the quilt maker make quilts?

Gifts, Pleasure

If you chose Other, explain the why the quilt maker quilts.

Esther was completely self-taught, using the help of quilting shows on TV. She videotaped many of the programs; I have the tapes. Esther stopped quilting at age 88 because of cripple fingers.

How many quilt has the quilt maker made?

more than 50

Has the quilt maker ever sold quilts?


Has the quilt maker ever taught quilt making?


Who did the quilting?

Bode, Esther Amanda

How are the quilt layers held together?

Hand quilting

Who made the quilt top?

Bode, Esther Amanda

Quilt owner's state.

Michigan (MI)

How are the blocks arranged in the quilt?


How are the blocks spaced in the quilt?

Side by side

Describe any favorite patterns, tools, etc. of the quilt maker's.

Esther had her quilt frame set up in the basement, each of the four boards supported by the rungs of ladder-back chairs. She did not baste the entire body of the quilt. She attached the quilt backing to the frame with large thumbtacks, and then spread out the batting and finally the quilt top, before securing the edges and rolling up the two long sides. The hand quilting was Esther's favorite step of the entire process. Esther normally quilted everything in the ditch. She often quilted diamonds in the sashing.

Are there any stories about the quilt maker?

Esther kept a photo scrapbook from 1988-1998, the first ten years of her quilting period. Many of the photos have completion dates listed on the back. Esther had six living children, 15 grandchildren and 26 great-grandchildren. They currently live in nine states and two countries. Each one of them owns at least one of Esther's quilts. Her usual method of operation was to stack each quilt, as it was completed, on a bed in the guest room. When we came to visit, we would often be asked to view all the quilts in a bed turning. Then Esther might say, "Please pick one out for your bed...or for your girls....or for your husband." Sometimes should would arrive at a birthday or Christmas party with a wrapped quilt. Perhaps 10% of the time she would design a quilt with a specific person and a specific color scheme in mind. I know that years might go by before a quilt on the bed was actually given to a new owner. In September of 2009, five months before she died and living in an assisted living facility, she asked us to go to her home and choose quilts to give to any of the great-grandchildren who hadn't already received one. She asked us to decide who should receive any other quilts still there.

What is the shape of the corners?


What piecing method was used to make the quilt top?

Machine Piecing

What is the fiber content of the quilt filling?

No filling

Quilt owner's county:


Where does/did the quilt maker live (city)?


When was the form filled out?


List other materials that exist about this quilt. This may include oral history, articles, additional photos or publications, etc.

Self-published Shutterfly book, "Mama's Quilts"

Where does/did the quilt maker live (county)?


Where does/did the quilt maker live (state)?

Michigan (MI)

List all known exhibits where this quilt has been displayed.

Quilt Retrospective honoring Esther A. Bode, quiltmaker; Saturday, June 6, 2009; St. Paul's Lutheran Church.

Quilt owner's city:


What is the number for this pattern from Barbara Brackman's Encyclopedia of Pieced Patterns or Applique?


What is the shape of the quilt edge?


Choose the gender of the quilt maker(s).


What is the pattern name that it is commonly used among quilt makers and historians for this quilt?

Modern Design, Modern Blocks, Up and Down Blocks, Colt's Corral

How long is the quilt?


What is the construction technique used to make the quilt binding?

Straight grain

If you chose Other, please explain where the pattern was found.

Although she did not create the block designs, she drafted the blocks to the sizes she wanted and designed the way the blocks would be assembled into the quilt. Only a handful of quilting magazines from the early 90s were found in her home. She owned a book called 1,001 Patchwork Designs by Maggie Malone (Sterling Publishing Co., 1982). It was a gift from her daughter Lorna Bode Fryer in the spring of 1991. The names for the blocks that she wrote on the backs of many quilts match the names for blocks in that book. This seems to have been overwhelmingly primary source for block designs.

Quilt owner's name:

Marc and Karen Bode

Access and copyright information:


When was the quilt finished?

April 1993

How many blocks are in the quilt?


What is the quilt maker's mother's name?

Gruedemann, Hermine Detjen

What size are the blocks?

9" x 9"

What types of fiber were used to make the quilt top?


Describe any unique binding.

She had her own unique style of binding, which I have not seen done anywhere else. Her method was to cut four strips of fabric on the grain, 3" wide. On one long side, she would iron under 1/4". She would attach the other long side to the quilt folding the top and bottom raw edges under at each end. This left a little pocket in the ends of the last two strips sewn on, and many a child loved sitting on a mother's lap, thumb in mouth, with a finger tucked into one of the four tiny pockets in Grandma Bode's quilt.

What is the source of the quilt's pattern?

Traditional pattern variation

Ownership of this quilt is:


Collection or Project Name

Michigan Quilt Project

Michigan Quilt Project Number


How wide is the quilt?


Who documented this quilt?

Daughter of quiltmaker

What type of quilt is this?

Finished quilt

What is the title of the quilt?

Rail Fence

What fiber type was used to make the quilt binding?


This quilt was made to be used as a

Gift or presentation

How did the quilt maker acquire the fabric for this quilt?

Purchased new