Quilter reproduces family heirloom

Bryce Forbes

Like many of the quilts currently on display at the Fort Frances Museum, Kerry Harper wanted to create another family heirloom
Since last spring, the local resident has been reproducing the double wedding ring pattern quilt of her great-grandmother, Florence Fuller.
Harper said the quilt originally was stitched in 1950 as a wedding present Fuller gave to her grandson, Bill Adair (Harper’s dad).
Fuller made at least 10 similar quilts—one for each married grandchild.
Since the day the Adairs received it, the quilt stayed on their bed up until the mid-1970s, when it was too worn. In an attempt to preserve it further, the quilt was packed away.
Harper started reproducing the quilt in 2008 but was having trouble finding original fabric used in the first one. But then her sister-in-law gave her 56 of the 80 fabrics used.
For the remaining material needed, she was able to use reproduction cloth from the original era.
So in February, 2009, Harper started the quilt, using a machine to put the fabrics on before hand-quilting it together.
“It was totally amazing how she [Fuller] hand pieced and hand-quilted it,” noted Harper, adding there were curves in the quilt she had never seen in her almost 30 years of quilting.
“It’s amazing that she got it all to work and it’s a neat quilt.”
Harper’s quilt is one of 114 items currently on display at the museum as part the Cabin Country Quilt Guild’s “Swing into Spring” show, which opened last Thursday (May 6) and runs until May 26.
“That’s the thing about these quilts, they all have a story behind them,” said Gail Govier, one of three co-presidents of the Cabin Country Quilt Guild (the other two are Phyllis Johnson and Marie Gregory).
“They are being given as wedding gifts or baby gifts. They all have a meaning to them,” noted Govier, who added she wouldn’t sell her quilts but rather give them as gifts.
Govier said she was impressed with the turnout on opening night, with more than 100 people coming through the museum doors to see the exhibit.
She also was excited about the wide variety of work the guild created for the show.
“Everybody’s good, but we help each other out, as well,” Govier remarked. “There’s a lot of different techniques in here, different fabrics and patterns.
“Some people make up their own patterns, others get their patterns from magazines or books.”
Although the reception was positive towards the show, Govier does not expect it to become an annual event. Rather, by keeping the event once every few years, she said it allows for different quilts to be exhibited.
On the second floor of the museum is the Mother’s Day Challenge as part of the show. Govier said 10 women created one item apiece that reminds them of their mother.
A few of the quilts used different patterns while a couple put pictures of their mother on the quilt using a special kind of fabric.
Throughout the show, people can vote for which quilt they like the most, with prizes to be given to the top three vote-getters courtesy of Crazy Ladies Fabric.
The Cabin Country Quilt Guild is a group of about 40 women who meet on the first Wednesday of every month at the Zion Lutheran Church (1105 Scott St.)
Their skill runs from beginner all the way up to advanced.
“It’s social, it’s learning, and you have a feeling of accomplishment,” Govier remarked.
“You come home from the meeting and want to sit down at the sewing machine,” she added.