BACK TO QUILTS
Irish Chain; Quilt of a Thousand Prints, Steps to the Garden, Steps to the Altar (Mary McElwain pattern)
CITE THIS QUILT
QUILT INDEX RECORD
Gasperik's early quiltmaking projects show her eagerness to try the popular patterns of the day. This unfinished pieced quilt top is missing. A quilt in the same pattern was featured in the Quilt Club Column (Detroit News-September 1, 1936).
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.
TYPE OF QUILT OBJECT: Choose the best description for the quilt being documented.
Quilt top with unfinished edge
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.
ALTERNATE NAME(S) FOR QUILT'S PATTERN IN COMMON USE: This is the name of the quilt pattern that it is commonly used among quilt makers and historians. It may be different in different regions of the country.
Quilt of a Thousand Prints, Steps to the Garden, Steps to the Altar (Mary McElwain pattern)
BRACKMAN NUMBER: If you have used Barbara Brackman's Encyclopedia of Pieced Patterns or Applique to identify the pattern, enter the number assigned by Brackman here.
OVERALL WIDTH: Enter how wide the quilt is.
OVERALL LENGTH: Enter how long the quilt is.
OVERALL COLOR SCHEME: Choose the best color scheme description for the quilt being documented.
OVERALL CONDITION: Choose the best description for the quilt being documented.
COMMENTS OR NOTES ON QUILT'S CONDITION OR REPAIR HISTORY: Some quilts have had extensive or unusual repair work done. Please use this field to describe anything that didn't fit in the previous fields.
Quilt is missing. Amateur photo is only visual record of the quilt.
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.
DATE FINISHED: Enter the date the quilt was finished.
FAMILY/OWNER'S DATE FOR QUILT: If there are family stories that indicate a date when the quilt was made, enter that date.
OTHER DATE ESTIMATION BY WHOM: Enter the name and/or title of the person who estimated the quilt's date for field 23d.
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 pattern. Family photograph showing this quilt top printed Sep 13, 1941 by the Madson company (of Chicago).
LAYOUT FORMAT: Choose the best description for the layout (or set) of the quilt.
One patch or allover
SPACING RELATIVE TO OTHER BLOCKS: This field only applies to quilts with a block format. Choose the best description for how the quilt blocks are set together.
Side by side
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.
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.
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.
QUILT TOP MADE BY: Enter the name of the person(s) who made the quilt top.
QUILTED BY: Enter the name of the person(s) who quilted the top.
CITY: Enter the name of the city where the quilt was made.
COUNTY: Enter the name of the county where the quilt was made.
STATE: Enter the name of the state where the quilt was made.
COUNTRY: Enter the name of the country where the quilt was made.
HOW WAS QUILT ACQUIRED BY OWNER: Choose the best description for how the owner acquired the quilt.
QUILTMAKER'S REASONS FOR MAKING THE QUILT: If the quilt was made for a specific purpose, choose the reason from the list.
QUILT WAS ORIGINALLY DESIGNED TO BE USED AS: Choose how the quilt was originally used.
Bedding, daily use
QUILT IS PRESENTLY USED AS: Choose how the quilt is being used by the present owner.
QUILT TOP PATTERN SOURCE: Choose where the quilt maker found the pattern for this quilt.
Commercial/Published source: Pattern
COMMERCIAL SOURCE NAME(S): If you know the commercial name of the pattern used for this quilt, please enter it. This may include books, magazines, newsletters, pattern companies, computer software programs, and kits.
Mary McElwain Quilt Shop
ANY ADDITIONAL NOTES OR STORIES ABOUT THE QUILT'S DESIGN OR MATERIALS SOURCE: Describe anything about the design of the quilt that wasn't already recorded in a previous field.
Pattern appeared on Lockport Mills Inc., of Lockport, N.Y. batting inserts. Called Quilt of a Thousand Prints the "pattern [was] furnished through the courtesy of the Mary McElwain Quilt Shop, Walworth, Wisconsin." The wrapper is undated. The McElwain 1936 catalog offered Quilt of a Thousand Prints as a pattern or as a finished quilt, but not as a set of cut fabric pieces (a kit). It is a mystery exactly how and when Gasperik came to make this top. The top appears to be pieced from die-cut pieces of many different prints, but the kit would also have included solid black squares and solid green squares - to form the sides of the criss-crossing 'paths'. It would also have included red squares to mark the centers of the crossed paths. Locating such a kit will help determine when and from what source Gasperik could have constructed this quilt top. After 1930 many different companies offered kits of a similar design, including the die cut pieces.
Alternate names for this quilt design include Steps to the Garden and Steps to the Altar. A Steps to the Flower Garden quilt made by Wisconsin quilter Zoe Johnson Roth looks quite similar to the Gasperik top. Information about Zoe Roth can be found on page 125 of Wisconsin Quilts: Stories in the Stitches.
OTHER RELATED ITEMS: List other materials that exist about this quilt like oral histories, wills, diaries, or patterns.
This quilt might be the one described on a list of quilts given as gifts. There is an entry "Martina Buckley - Irish Chain" If the woman in the photo holding the quilt is Martina Buckley, she appears to be a contemporary and, perhaps a friend, of Elsie, Mary's daughter. Elsie's writing, on the back of the photo, reads: "Irish Chain gift to Martina Buckley". Printed on the back is "Madson Print Sep 13 1941".
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.
NAME OF QUILT OWNER:
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.
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:
QUILTMAKER'S BIRTH DATE:
DEATH DATE OF THE QUILTMAKER, IF APPLICABLE:
QUILTMAKER'S ETHNIC BACKGROUND:
QUILTMAKER'S EDUCATIONAL BACKGROUND:
QUILTMAKER'S COUNTRY OF BIRTH:
IN WHICH KIND OF ENVIRONMENT DID THE QUILTMAKER GROW UP?
CITY WHERE THE QUILTMAKER LIVES/LIVED:
COUNTY WHERE THE QUILTMAKER LIVES/LIVED:
STATE WHERE THE QUILTMAKER LIVES/LIVED:
COUNTRY WHERE THE QUILTMAKER LIVES/LIVED:
QUILTMAKER'S FATHER'S NAME:
FATHER'S ETHNIC BACKGROUND:
QUILTMAKER'S MOTHER'S NAME:
MOTHER'S ETHNIC BACKGROUND:
SPOUSE'S ETHNIC BACKGROUND:
Milk Dealer/Grocery Store Owner/Butcher
NUMBER OF CHILDREN:
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?
WHY DOES/DID THE QUILTMAKER QUILT:
OTHER, WHY THE QUILTMAKER QUILTS:
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.
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?
DOES/DID QUILTMAKER TEACH QUILTING: Is the quilt maker also a quilt teacher?
unknown, family photo
ACCESS AND COPYRIGHT IS:
HOLDER OF COPYRIGHT:
Cite this Quilt
Gasperik, Mar. Irish Chain. 1936-1941. From Mary Gasperik Legacy Project, Mary Gasperik Private Collection. Published in The Quilt Index, https://quiltindex.org/view/?type=fullrec&kid=18-14-75. Accessed: 12/09/21
Gasperik 03: 1930s Quilt Pattern Sourc...
Gasperik 03: 1930s Quilt Pattern Sources
May; 12; 2005
Chicago; Illinois; United States
Mary Gasperik made more than 80 quilts while living in Chicago at the height of the quilt revival of the 1930s and 40s.18-47-2