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Indianapolis 500 Quilt

CITE THIS QUILT

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quilt

Cite this Quilt

Holder, Jeanett. Indianapolis 500 Quilt. 1981. From Michigan State University Museum, Michigan Quilt Project; The Henry Ford. Published in The Quilt Index, https://quiltindex.org/view/?type=fullrec&kid=12-8-6180. Accessed: 09/22/21

QUILT INDEX RECORD

12-8-6180

Who documented this quilt?

Michigan Quilt Project; The Henry Ford

Where are the records for this quilt housed?

Michigan State University Museum

Michigan Quilt Project Number

13.0144

If this quilt is owned by a museum, enter the accession number here

2009.171.18

What is the name of the quilt given by the owner?

Indianapolis 500 Quilt

Are there any stories about the quilt maker?

On May 30, 1932, the day that Jeanetta Pearson Holder was born in Kentucky, racecars sped around the track at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway about 250 miles to the north. The timing of Jeanetta’s birth was certainly a hint of things to come: she would grow up with a passion for auto racing, and as an adult, become that sport’s “Quilt Lady.” For nearly 35 years, Jeanetta has combined her love of auto racing and her sewing talents to create unique quilts for winners of the Indianapolis 500 and other auto races. As a little girl growing up on a Kentucky farm, Jeanetta made her own small racecars out of tobacco sticks and lard cans which she “raced everywhere [she] went.” Jeanetta’s childhood creative streak soon extended to sewing. By the time she was 12, Jeanetta began sewing quilts, filling them with cotton batting from cotton she grew herself. As a young woman, Jeanetta started going to the race track. Soon she was speeding around an oval dirt track at the wheel of a 1950 Hudson at Beech Bend Park in Warren County, Kentucky. In the early 1950s, women racecar drivers were uncommon--and so was safety equipment. Jeanetta was dressed in a t-shirt and blue jeans for these regional races. Jeanetta soon left behind her experience as an amateur racecar driver for a career as a wife, mother, and decorator. She and her husband moved to Indianapolis in 1953. Jeanetta--who attended her first Indianapolis 500 race in 1950--remained a racing fan, collecting autographs from drivers whenever she had the chance. In the mid-1970s, a friend suggested that Jeanetta use her sewing talents to create a racing-themed quilt that included these signatures. That same year, Jeanetta presented the finished quilt to 1976 Indianapolis 500 race winner Johnny Rutherford. In the years since, Jeanetta has looked through her pile of fabric and embroidery thread and cut her own quilt design patterns out of newspaper to create over 75 racing-themed quilts. She has presented them not only to winners of the Indianapolis 500, but also races like the Pocono 500, the California 500 at Ontario, the Norton Michigan 500, and NASCAR’S Brickyard 400.

When was the form filled out?

2013

Who made the quilt top?

Holder, Jeanetta

Who did the quilting?

Holder, Jeanetta

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

Quilt owner

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

Purchased the quilt

WHERE WAS THE QUILT MADE: City:

Indianapolis

State:

Indiana (IN)

Country:

United States

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

1976-1999

When was the quilt finished?

1981

If the date was estimated by an antique dealer, quilt historian or appraiser, enter that date.

1981

This quilt was made to be used as a

Gift or presentation

How is this quilt used?

Museum collection

Choose the gender of the quilt maker(s).

Female

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

Plainfield

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

Hendricks County

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

Indiana (IN)

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

United States

What is the quilt maker's birthdate?

05-30-1932

Where was the quilt maker born (state)?

Kentucky

What environment did the quilt maker(s) live in?

Rural

When did the quilt maker begin making quilts?

Age 11-19

How many quilt has the quilt maker made?

more than 50

What type of quilted object is this?

Finished quilt

What is the shape of the quilt edge?

Straight

What is the shape of the corners?

Rounded

What color(s) is the quilt?

Black; Blue; Brown; Orange; Red; Yellow; White

Choose the best color scheme description for the quilt.

Multicolor

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

Good/moderate use

If the quilt has an inscription, what type(s) of inscriptions are on the quilt?

Message

Enter the exact inscription here, including dates in the same form in which they appear on the quilt. Do not correct any spellings.

MADE BY JEANETTA HOLDER/ TO BOBBY-UNSER/ THANKS FOR ALL YOU HAVE GAVE/ TO RACING. KNOWING YOU HAVE BEEN/ A JOY TO BE. I'M SURE RACING/ WOULD NOT HAVE BEEN THE SAME WITHOUT/ YOU. SO FROM ALL THE FANS AND ME/ THANKS/ "MUCH LOVE"/ THE QUILT LADY JNET

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

Block pattern

How many blocks are in the quilt?

32

What size are the blocks?

18-19 in x 21 in

What size is the medallion?

40-41 in x 39-40 in

How are the blocks arranged in the quilt?

Straight

How are the blocks spaced in the quilt?

Side by side

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

Squares

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

2

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

Cotton or polyester blend

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

Checked; Floral; Print; Solid/plain; Striped

What piecing method was used to make the quilt top?

Machine Piecing

What applique method was used to make the quilt top?

Hand Applique

What embellishments were used to make the quilt top?

Embroidery

What embellishment materials were used to make the quilt top?

Cotton thread

What fibers were used to make the quilt back?

Other

If you chose Other, please describe the fiber used in the quilt back.

Polyester

What color is the back of the quilt?

Blue or Navy

How do you describe the quilt back?

Solid/plain

What fiber type was used to make the quilt binding?

Cotton

What is the structure of the fabric used to make the quilt binding?

Plain weave

What construction technique was used to finish the edge of the quilt?

Separate binding applied

What is the width of the binding (front side only)?

half inch - one inch

What is the fiber content of the quilt filling?

Cotton or polyester blend

Choose the thickness of the quilt filling that best describes the quilt.

Medium

How are the quilt layers held together?

Hand quilting

Describe the fiber content or type of quilting thread used on the quilt.

Cotton/polyester blend

Describe the color(s) of thread used to hold the quilt layers together.

White

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

4 stitches per inch

Describe the overall quilt design.

Outline

Describe any background/fill patterns used in the quilt design.

None

Who documented this quilt?

Quilt owner

Other relationship to source: If you chose Other, for the relationship to the source, describe the relationship here.

Museum Representative

Ownership of this quilt is:

Private- Nonprofit Organization

Quilt owner's name:

The Henry Ford

Quilt owner's city:

Dearborn

Quilt owner's county:

Wayne

Quilt owner's state.

Michigan (MI)

Quilt owner's country:

United States

How did the owner acquire this quilt?

Purchase

Describe anything about the history of the quilt that wasn't already recorded in a previous field.

Jeanetta Holder met and got to know many racecar drivers, especially Bobby and Al Unser. Bobby Unser’s 1981 Indianapolis 500 win became one of the most controversial finishes in racing history. Unser won the race, but was stripped of his win the following morning in favor of second place driver Mario Andretti. Since Jeanetta was to present the winning driver with a quilt the day after the race, she gave the 1981 quilt to Andretti. Unser was ultimately awarded the win in October 1981, after a lengthy appeals process. In the wake of this dispute and to mark his three Indianapolis wins (1968, 1975, and 1981), Jeanetta decided to make Bobby Unser this special quilt.

Details

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Access and copyright information:

Restricted

What parts of the quilt making process did the quilt maker do?

Made entire quilt

Who photographed this quilt?

The Henry Ford

Who is the copyright holder?

The Henry Ford