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A Letter from Indiana Gives Bird Quilt Story
By Edith B. Crumb.
You will be so happy, I know, when I tell you that I have received a letter from Mrs. Ada B. Chilton, 435 W Gilmore street, Angola, Ind. Mrs. Chilton, as you remember, made the bird and flower quilt, and I know that you will enjoy knowing more about the history of it. She wonders if she may have space in the column to express her appreciate for her "Honorable Mention" of her quilt which she names "Cherokee Roses and Feathered Friends" which she exhibited at The Detroit News Quilt Show. Yes, indeed, she may have space, and knowing that all of you will be interested in her letter, here it is:
"After spending much of my leisure time during 14 months making a quilt, it is gratifying to know my effort was not in vain.
"Something besides mere stitches woven into it. The inspiration came from a quilt made by a pioneer grandmother, an expert needle worker, to whom I was very devoted. The design of her quilt was 'sunflower and Birds"
"During her last illness the quilt was stolen from a chest in her room. The memory of it remained with me and years later found expression in this quilt. While my quilt differs in colors and form, yet it is of flowers and birds.
"I chose the Cherokee rose because of its simplicity in form. The snowy flowers against the sky blue background creates an attractive setting for the vari-colored birds.
"Stems and petal effects are made possible by means of the padded or raised quilting. Every stitch in the quilt is my own work. I depended mainly for bird references from Gene Gratton Porters bird book and National Geographic magazines. The greatest difficulty I had was in finding materials to represent the various birds.
"I was fortunate in living near a lady who was in a great quilter and she had a vast supply of materials. Many unusual bits of print came from her accumulation but sill there were many shades and tints lacking. I shopped everywhere possible and friends shopped for me and yet I had to confine myself to those kinds of birds my supplies would make rather than those first planned. There were six pairs of birds and 24 others-single.
"Many mothers are desirous of handing down to posterity something that represents their best efforts and this quilt was made with that thought in mind.
"My most treasured possession is a Star of Bethlehem quilts a prize winner made by my mother, and a coverlet, dated 1845, made from yarn spun by the grandmother mentioned in the first part of the letter.
"I am sure that my son will sometime appreciate my work as I do these treasures of mine.
"Circumstances kept me from the quilt show, much to my regret for I know I would have enjoyed the wonderful display.
"The work of the judges is not an enviable one, with the various angles involved in such a colossal show. I am indeed happy if I merited your "Honorable Mention" and also because of the many compliments received. I enjoy the Quilt Club Corner news and hope it will be continued.
Really, Mrs. Chilton should have been at the show for it would have done her heart good to see the people stop and study her quilt and make complimentary remarks:
It has been a pleasure to have this letter for the Corner and I hope that Mrs. Chilton will write often and keep in touch with the friends she had made.
Dear Miss Crumb:
I have received some very nice quilt pieces through your Quilt Club Corner and will be pleased to exchange with some of the members.
Will Mrs. Rabinski and Mrs. Joselin please their addresses to me? They only sent a parcel without the addressed and I would like to know where to send patches to them as I wish to send some in return.
I would also like to exchange Friendship quilt blocks. I already have two to start with.
Mrs. John Maurstad
184 Second Street Port Arthur, Ontario
Well, the exchange of patches is starting again and I feel quite sure that more patches will be flying around this year than last, although that was a very busy year.
I hope that the two quilt makers who failed to put their addresses on their packages will write notes to Mrs. Maurstad.
And I also hope that Mrs. Maurstad will write again to the Corner.
Husband Liked Show
Dear Miss Crumb: Well I finally got to attend the Quilt Show and surely did enjoy looking at the beautiful quilts.
The prize quilts were the prettiest I have ever seen. The only trouble was that I could not stay long enough.
The lady who won the grand prize is from my native state. My friend who was visiting at the time went with me to the show. After we came out of the Armory she said, "I didn't think I would care anything about it, but I think I will go back next year. It was wonderful and I enjoyed it very much."
My husband didn't want to go to the exhibit either. He said that he was going to take a walk around Belle Island while we were there; but my friends husband decided to go with us to my husband stayed too, and you should have seen hum going from quilt to quilt, expressing his opinion of each one. Afterwards he expressed himself by saying "It wasn't so bad after all." I had to laugh at him with my friend.
Mrs. Thelma Barnes
Route No. 3 Ypsilanti, Mich.
Maybe after being at the exhibit and seeing all of those quilts, your friend will decide to make one. That happened to lots of visitors last year. Many who never even cared about quilts have been making them because they realized how beautiful and fascinating they were.
Thank you for writing In, Mrs. Barnes, and write again for we don't want to be neglected.
She enjoyed Exhibit
Dear Miss Crumb: I have enjoyed the Quilt Club Corner very much. I have made several of the quilts from the News Patter.
The Quilt Show was wonderful and I enjoyed every minute I was there. I do hope the corner remains in the News.
The ladies of the neighborhood have formed a club. There are 15 of us and we plan to make quilts from New patterns this winter.
Mrs. P Lupian
Thank you for that nice little note, Mrs. Lupian and I am happy to know that you enjoyed the show. Manty wishes for a successful neighborhood club. I know that you will enjoy it and those pot-luck lunches that always just seem to belong to a quilting circle. Don't you think so?
Tan and Green Scheme.
Dear Miss crumb: Will you please give me some hints about paint, etc., for my kitchen and curtains? It is 12 by 13 feet, has two windows of the old long type, three doors, and a door with glass in it. My stove is black, gray, and white and I cannot change it. I also have new linoleum, with the cream, green, and tan in it. I have painted the woodwork a flat white so I can paint it any color. I did think of cream or ivory and green furniture. I have a kitchen cabinet ...(clipping cut-off)
Beauty in the Home Editor:
Please enter my name as a member of the Beauty in the Home Quilt Club.
Street and number
Courtesy of The Detroit News Archives.
Detroit News Quilt History Project
Detroit News Quilt History Project
With its Quilt Club Corner column, association of registered members, sponsorship of an annual quilt show, and underwriting of a quilting program on WWJ-radio, The Detroit News played a major role in quilting in the 1930s.