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Snowflakes; Snowflake

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QUILT INDEX RECORD

18-14-71

DESCRIPTION:

“No. 7318 part b” can be found stamped into a front edge of this quilt, indicating Gasperik began her quilt using Homeneedlecraft Creations kit No. 7318 called “Snowflake”. It is unclear (absent finding such a kit) how closely Gasperik followed Needlecraft Creations' design and instructions; but the addition of the brightly colored stars is surely a Gasperik idea. Given the unique creative input seen in so many of her quilts, it is logical to assume that here too Gasperik combined commercial, popular and self-designed elements.

ESSAY:

Several things might explain Gasperik’s motivation to make this particular snowflake quilt. The manual used by Gasperik’s own Tuley Park Quilting Club (Quilting, by Alice Beyer, published in 1934) featured, on pages 57 and 58, thirty different snowflake “Suggestions for Designing Original Patterns – Snow Crystals” . These appear to be copies of some of the astonishing photographs of actual snow crystals taken by W. A. Bentley and published, to some popular acclaim, in 1931. On pages 59 and 60 of her Quilting manual, Beyer offers thirty “Quilting Designs Taken from a Kaleidoscope”. These resemble snow crystals, but, crucially, are rendered in clear lines (unlike the somewhat fuzzy and shaded Bentley photographs). In other words the Kaleioscope drawings appear to be offered as a demonstration of how to turn real snow crystal formations into patterns for cutting fabric to appliqué. Snowflake quilt designs were especially popular as a result of Bentley’s photographs. This perhaps explains how it came to be that a blue and white snow crystals quilts (submitted by Helen C. Dorne of Angola, Indiana) was entered into what was probably America’s first national quilt contest, held at the Eastern States Exposition in Storrowton Massachusetts in 1933, where it received second prize. It is logical to speculate that it was a Tuley Park Quilting Club assignment or suggestion to embark on a snowflake quilt project. Another reason to believe that this is one of Gasperik’s earliest quilts is that its appliqué covers its quilting. As a novice quilter Gasperik did not seem to know that the usual procedure was to appliqué first and then quilt around the appliqué, not to do overall quilting first and then appliqué. In Double Trellis (#041) another early quilt which is dated 1933 (and also embroidered “Century of Progress”, referencing the Chicago World’s Fair) she also showed some confusion about the order in which quilting and appliqué were to be done. In Double Trellis (#041) she quilted over the appliqué, whereas in Snowflake she appliquéd over the quilting. Gasperik’s subsequent quilts are all executed in the traditional way. They are appliquéd first and then quilted to enhance (not cover) the appliqué. It can be argued that Double Trellis (#041) and Snowflake are, thus, probably Gasperik’s first two completed appliqué quilts. Gasperik’s lovely, intricate, beautifully stitched, and unique quiltING designs came to be the feature of her quilts which is, arguably, that which distinguishes her work from that of most other quilters of her time. She learned her lesson in how to skillfully integrate appliqué and quilting; and Snowflake offers a glimpse of her starting point. It is a measure of both her determination to do things her own way, and the distance she travelled to become a master quilter.

Where are the records for this quilt housed?

Mary Gasperik Legacy Project

Who documented this quilt?

Mary Gasperik Private Collection

CONTRIBUTING INSTITUTIONAL INVENTORY CONTROL NUMBERS: Enter the main control number for this item you are entering.

053

TYPE OF QUILT OBJECT: Choose the best description for the quilt being documented.

Finished quilt

QUILT'S TITLE, IF IT HAS ONE: Many quilts have no title, but contemporary quilters often give a name to their quilts.

Snowflakes

OWNER'S NAME FOR QUILT'S PATTERN: Enter the name given to the quilt by the owner. This can be the name the family used to refer to the quilt as it passed through different generations, e.g. "Aunt Susie's quilt" or a pattern name that the owner used.

Snowflake

OVERALL WIDTH: Enter how wide the quilt is.

83 inches

OVERALL LENGTH: Enter how long the quilt is.

96 inches

SHAPE OF EDGE: Choose the best description for the edges of the quilt.

Straight

SHAPE OF CORNERS: Choose the best description for the corners of the quilt.

Straight

PREDOMINANT COLOR(S): Enter all colors that are found in the quilt.

Blue or Navy; Orange; Pink; Purple; Red; White; Yellow

OVERALL COLOR SCHEME: Choose the best color scheme description for the quilt being documented.

Light or pastel colors; Bright or primary colors

OVERALL CONDITION: Choose the best description for the quilt being documented.

Excellent/like new

CONTENT OF INSCRIPTION(S): Enter the exact inscription here, including dates in the same form in which they appear on the quilt. Do not correct any spellings. If you are unsure of a letter or name, place a (?) to indicate uncertainty.

Mary Gasperik 1411 W 176 Street, East Hazelcrest, Illinois. [Note: Gasperik's actual address was 1411 W 174th Street]

METHOD OF INSCRIPTION: Choose the method used to inscribe the quilt.

Attached label

TIME PERIOD: Choose the time frame that best describes when the quilt was made. The date does not have to appear on the quilt to enter it in this field. This can be your best guess based on family stories or your own knowledge of quilts.

1930-1949

DATE FINISHED: Enter the date the quilt was finished.

1930s

FAMILY/OWNER'S DATE FOR QUILT: If there are family stories that indicate a date when the quilt was made, enter that date.

1930s

OTHER EXTERNAL OR PROFESSIONAL DATE ESTIMATION: If the date was estimated by an antique dealer, quilt historian or appraiser, enter that date.

1940s

OTHER DATE ESTIMATION BY WHOM: Enter the name and/or title of the person who estimated the quilt's date for field 23d.

Merikay Waldvogel

FURTHER INFORMATION CONCERNING DATE(S): If you know anything else about the date the quilt was made, please tell the story.

Estimated date based on similar kit quilt dates.

LAYOUT FORMAT: Choose the best description for the layout (or set) of the quilt.

Other

SUBJECT OF QUILT, IF IT HAS ONE: Some quilts are made with a specific intent (e.g. Commemoration of September 11, the 100th anniversary of a town, or an AIDS panel). Enter the subject of the quilt.

Snowflakes

OTHER SPACING: If none of the options in Field 29 describe the quilt, explain the quilt setting here. May relate to Fields 26 & 27, if the blocks sizes are not the same throughout the quilt.

Large and medium snowflakes are appliquéd onto a solid white ground. Some of the medium-sized snowflakes line up to form an outer border. The majority of the snowflakes appear to be randomly distributed, although there may be a pattern

NUMBER OF DIFFERENT BLOCK PATTERNS PRESENT: Enter the number of different block patterns used in the quilt.

41 blue and white appliqué snowflakes which are made from 15 different patterns. 13 are large snowflakes executed in two shades of light blue. 28 are medium snowflakes executed in the same 2 shades of blue. 181 small 6-pointed stars in very bright intense colors are sprinkled throughout.

BLOCK STYLE: Some patterns use the same shape template throughout the quilt (i.e. Charm quilts, Grandmother Flower Garden, Brick wall, Lone Star). If this applies to your quilt, choose the best description.

None

NUMBER OF BORDERS: Borders are the strips of fabric that are added after the blocks (and sashings) are put together. They appear on the outside edges of the quilt. Quilts often have multiple borders. Enter the number of borders on the quilt.

None

FABRIC FIBER TYPES USED IN QUILT TOP: Choose all the types of fiber that are used to make the quilt top.

Cotton; Other synthetic

FABRIC TYPES USED IN QUILT TOP: Choose all the types of fabric that are used to make the quilt top.

Other

FABRIC PATTERNS, STYLES, MOTIFS, OR PRINT CATEGORIES USED IN QUILT TOP: Choose all the types of prints that are used to make the quilt top.

Solid/plain

OTHER FIBER, FABRIC, OR FABRIC PRINT TYPES USED: Describe any fibers used in the quilt top that do not appear in Field 37, including any unique characteristics of fiber, fabric, or fabric prints used. There is a separate Field (38g) for embellishments.

The peach-colored stars are cut from an acetate-like fabric, not cotton.

CONSTRUCTION TECHNIQUES USED IN QUILT TOP: APPLIQUE TECHNIQUES: Choose the applique method used to construct the quilt.

Hand Applique

UNIQUE OR OTHER CONSTRUCTION TECHNIQUES: Enter any unusual technique that hasn't been described in a previous field.

Surprisingly, lines of background quilting run UNDER the quilt’s appliquéd snowflakes and stars. Gasperik appears to have appliqued on top of an already-completely-quilted white wholecloth quilt. The colors of her stars (which may have been additions to a kit featuring snowflakes alone) are reminiscent of the bright color choices associated with Chicago’s Century of Progress World’s Fair and its Star Arcturus theme.

FABRIC FIBER TYPES USED IN QUILT BACK: Choose the fiber type used to make the quilt back.

Cotton

MATERIALS USED IN QUILT BINDING: Choose the fiber type used to make the quilt binding.

Cotton

MATERIAL USED FOR QUILT BATTING OR FILLING: Choose the fiber content that best describes the material used to fill the quilt.

Cotton

QUILTING TECHNIQUES USED: Choose the technique that best describes the way the quilt layers are held together.

Hand quilting

THREAD COLOR: Enter the color(s) of thread used to hold the quilt layers together.

White

QUILTING DESIGNS USED: MOTIFS/OVERALL PATTERNS: Choose the overall quilt design found on the quilt top.

All-over-design; Grid/crosshatch

QUILTING DESIGNS USED: DECORATIVE PATTERNS: Choose the decorative quilt design found on the quilt top.

Floral; Wreaths

QUILTING DESIGNS USED: BACKGROUND FILL PATTERNS: Choose the background quilt design found on the quilt top.

Grid/crosshatch

PLEASE DESCRIBE OTHER QUILTING DESIGNS USED: Describe any other quilting designs that appear on the quilt.

A large oval feathered wreath is quilted in center of quilt. Around the entire border is quilted a chain of flowers design from a commercial pattern.

ANY OTHER FEATURES OR NOTES ABOUT THE QUILT'S APPEARANCE, MATERIALS, OR CONSTRUCTION: Describe anything about the physical appearance of the quilt that wasn't already recorded in a previous field.

"No. 7318 part b" is stamped on front edge of this quilt; the numbering may refer to an as-yet-unfound quilt kit named Snowflakes. Close inspection of the quilt shows that it was made between a half and one inch larger than was intended, making some of the original kit border markings visible. The quilt was intended to have slanted corners and small (~1-inch) notches cut in around its edge, spaced about 8 inches apart.

QUILT TOP MADE BY: Enter the name of the person(s) who made the quilt top.

Gasperik, Mary

QUILTED BY: Enter the name of the person(s) who quilted the top.

Gasperik, Mary

CITY: Enter the name of the city where the quilt was made.

Chicago

COUNTY: Enter the name of the county where the quilt was made.

Cook County

STATE: Enter the name of the state where the quilt was made.

Illinois (IL)

COUNTRY: Enter the name of the country where the quilt was made.

United States

HOW WAS QUILT ACQUIRED BY OWNER: Choose the best description for how the owner acquired the quilt.

Gift

DETAILS ON HOW THE QUILT WAS ACQUIRED:

This quilt was brought to Karen, as a gift from her grandmother, by Elsie Krueger ~1968.

QUILTMAKER'S REASONS FOR MAKING THE QUILT: If the quilt was made for a specific purpose, choose the reason from the list.

Unknown

QUILT WAS ORIGINALLY DESIGNED TO BE USED AS: Choose how the quilt was originally used.

Bedding, special occasion

QUILT IS PRESENTLY USED AS: Choose how the quilt is being used by the present owner.

Keepsake/memento

OTHER PRESENT USE(S) OF QUILT: If you chose Other, please explain the quilt's present use.

Mary's grandchildren regard her quilts as a unique collection to be preserved and appreciated.

SOURCE OF QUILT'S MATERIALS: Choose how the quilt maker acquired the fabric for this quilt.

Purchased new

QUILT TOP PATTERN SOURCE: Choose where the quilt maker found the pattern for this quilt.

Unknown

QUILTING DESIGN PATTERN SOURCE: Choose where the quilt maker found the pattern for the quilting design used in this quilt.

Published material

COMMERCIAL QUILTING DESIGN SOURCE NAME: If you know the commercial name of the quilting design used for this quilt, please enter it. This may include books, magazines, newsletters, pattern companies, etc.

Border quilting - see either #47 and #48 in Needleart Guild's "Original Master Quilting Patterns, pg 12 or Pattern C7 from Grandmother's Perforated Quilting Patterns (WLM Clark, St. Louis, 1934).

EXHIBITIONS: List all known exhibits where this quilt has been displayed.

The Quilts of Mary Gasperik, Ravenswood Historic Site, Livermore, CA, March 14-15, 1992.

CONTESTS ENTERED: List contest(s) entered.

Karen Finn, the quilt's owner, has a 1957 white Illinois State Fair ribbon which she believes was awarded to this Snowflake quilt. Her description, in full, reads: "1957 3rd premium (class K) exhibitor No. 527 date 8/8/57 14190".

OTHER RELATED ITEMS: List other materials that exist about this quilt like oral histories, wills, diaries, or patterns.

Karen Finn, the quilt's owner, has a 1957 white Illinois State Fair ribbon which she believes was awarded to this Snowflake quilt. Her description, in full, reads: "1957 3rd premium (class K) exhibitor No. 527 date 8/8/57 14190".

Alice Beyer, Quilting, 1934, published by the South Park Commissioners (Chicago) and used by Gasperik's quilting club - the Tuley Park Quilt Club - pages 57-58 drawings of snowflake patterns similar to Gasperik's snowflakes. Those Beyer illustrations, in the lower corner, are attributed "3-28-34 W.A." which might indicate they were from W. A. Bentley's groundbreaking photographs of actual snow crystals, pictures first published in 1931.

Snow Crystals, W. A. Bentley and W. J. Humphreys, Dover Publications, Inc. New York. This new Dover edition, first published in 1962, is an unabridged and unaltered republication of the work first published by the McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc. in 1931.

Ladies Home Journal, Jan. 1, 1911, page 25 color photograph of pale blue and white Snowflake applique quilt by Marie D. Webster.

Quilts: Their Story and How to Make Them, Marie D. Webster, copyright 1915. A color picture of Webster's "The "Snowflake" Quilt Design" appears as colour plate facing page 146 of the 1928 Doubleday edition of the book.

AVAILABLE SOURCES FOR QUILTMAKER: List other source materials about this quiltmaker such as photos, oral histories, book or newspaper publications, fame for some other reason or event.

Merikay Waldvogel and Barbara Brackman. Patchwork Souvenirs of the 1933 Chicago World's Fair, (Nashville, TN: Rutledge Hill Press, 1993)102-103.

Merikay Waldvogel "One American Dream Comes True", Quilters Newsletter Magazine, March 2008, 46-49.

OWNERSHIP OF THIS QUILT IS:

Private

NAME OF QUILT OWNER:

Karen Krueger Finn

QUILT OWNER'S COUNTRY:

United States

AUTHOR/INTERVIEWEE'S RELATION TO THE QUILT:

Author/researcher; Blood relative of quiltmaker

OTHER RELATIONSHIP TO SOURCE: If you chose Other, for the relationship to the source, describe the relationship here.

Grand-daughter

OTHER INFORMATION ON SOURCE PERSON TO QUILT:

Grand-daughter Susan Salser began this research effort in 1991, after she and her two sisters divided up the quilts which belonged to their mother (Elsie Gasperik Krueger) who died in 1988. Her ongoing research has been fruitful and interesting.

QUILTMAKER'S MAIDEN NAME:

Mihalovits, Maria

QUILTMAKER'S GENDER:

Female

QUILTMAKER'S BIRTH DATE:

01/25/1888

DEATH DATE OF THE QUILTMAKER, IF APPLICABLE:

05/25/1969

QUILTMAKER'S ETHNIC BACKGROUND:

Hungarian

QUILTMAKER'S EDUCATIONAL BACKGROUND:

Elementary School

QUILTMAKER'S COUNTRY OF BIRTH:

Hungary

IN WHICH KIND OF ENVIRONMENT DID THE QUILTMAKER GROW UP?

Rural

CITY WHERE THE QUILTMAKER LIVES/LIVED:

Chicago

COUNTY WHERE THE QUILTMAKER LIVES/LIVED:

Cook

STATE WHERE THE QUILTMAKER LIVES/LIVED:

Illinois (IL)

COUNTRY WHERE THE QUILTMAKER LIVES/LIVED:

United States

QUILTMAKER'S FATHER'S NAME:

Mihalovits, Istvan

FATHER'S BIRTHPLACE:

Hungary

FATHER'S ETHNIC BACKGROUND:

Hungarian

QUILTMAKER'S MOTHER'S NAME:

Mihalovits, Vidoszava

MOTHER'S BIRTHPLACE:

Hungary

MOTHER'S ETHNIC BACKGROUND:

Hungarian

SPOUSE'S ETHNIC BACKGROUND:

Hungarian

SPOUSE'S OCCUPATION:

Milk Dealer/Grocery Store Owner/Butcher

NUMBER OF CHILDREN:

3

NUMBER OF FEMALE CHILDREN:

1 (Elsie 1909-1988)

NUMBER OF MALE CHILDREN:

2 (Elmer and Stephen)

HOW DID THE QUILTMAKER LEARN TO QUILT?

From guild or club member; Self-Taught

WHEN DID THE QUILTMAKER LEARN TO QUILT?

Age 40-49

WHY DOES/DID THE QUILTMAKER QUILT:

Pleasure; Other

OTHER, WHY THE QUILTMAKER QUILTS:

In this quilt Gasperik seems to have appliqued the bright pieced stars on top of an already-completed snowflake quilt. She was, evidently, reworking a quilt she had already made, altering it to experiment with a new idea. Mary Gasperik made quilts because it was her life passion and greatest talent. As opportunities arose, she entered contests and exhibited them publicly. She also made special quilts for her family.

NAME OF QUILTING GROUP: If the quilt maker belonged to a group, enter the name of the group.

Tuley Park Quilt Club and Detroit News Quilt Club

LOCATION OF GROUP:

Southside Chicago and Detroit MI

SPECIALIZED ACTIVITIES/EVENTS OF QUILTING GROUP: Enter activities the group participated in.

Chicago group met to quilt and held periodic quilt shows; Detroit group held national exhibits and contests.

ESTIMATED NUMBER OF QUILTS MADE BY THIS QUILTER:

more than 50

DID THE QUILTMAKER SELL QUILTS?

no

DOES/DID QUILTMAKER TEACH QUILTING: Is the quilt maker also a quilt teacher?

no

PHOTO CREDIT:

Don Gonzalez

ACCESS AND COPYRIGHT IS:

Restricted

HOLDER OF COPYRIGHT:

Hank Finn

Details

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Cite this Quilt

Gasperik, Mar. Snowflakes. 1930s. From Mary Gasperik Legacy Project, Mary Gasperik Private Collection. Published in The Quilt Index, https://quiltindex.org/view/?type=fullrec&kid=18-14-71. Accessed: 01/18/22

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