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Serving: MO

Quilt blocks tell Missouri’s history

A Hermann quilt shop opens its doors for a look at the Missouri Bicentennial Quilt.

My grandmother taught me to quilt. She’d pull up a chair at the wooden frame in her front room, hand me a thimble, needle and thread, and instruct how to hand-stitch around the Dutch Girl bonnets. She said it was a way to slow me down and develop focus. Apparently, I needed a little of both.

Today, I look back on that time with great joy. My grandma and I would talk as she gently guided me, corrected me, but mostly provided me with a keepsake both in my memory and in my home. You see, I still have that very Dutch Girl quilt we made together.

So, when I saw that the Missouri Bicentennial Quilt was making its way across the state, I had to take it in.

Quilters respond

When the State Historical Society of Missouri made the call for quilt blocks two years ago, there were no rules of what could be on the blocks, just that they represent the county. Of course, many of the quilt blocks were related to farming and rural life.

There were a number that looked at historical sites and notable individuals who called Missouri home. A total of 203 blocks were submitted; a committee selected 115.

The Missouri Star Quilt Co. out of Hamilton, along with the State Quilters Guild, worked to get the word out to quilters. Two hundred quilters from across the state responded. The Missouri Star Quilt Co. donated the time and materials to put the blocks together and quilt and bind the project.

Taking it in

The Bicentennial Quilt tour was cut short last year because of COVID-19, but returned for a limited engagement in 2021. That is how it ended up in Silver Owl Specialty Quilts & Fabrics in downtown Hermann, Mo.

Store owner Rita Wright had only been open for eight weeks when she received the call. “It was a great opportunity,” she says. “The quilt is a historical education piece.”

She’s welcomed more than 200 people from across the state to her small quilting story in Gasconade County. “I’ve had grandmothers bring their grandchildren,” she says.

I can only imagine if this traveling quilt display would’ve been around when my grandmother was still alive. I think we would’ve packed up the car and took a little trip and been just one more grandma and granddaughter admiring the craft of quilting.

Click through the slideshow to see 20 of my favorite quilt blocks.

To hear from Rita Wright about her experience with Missouri Bicentennial Quilt, click below.

 

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