Mary Ellison came to Kansas in 1870, keeping house for her father and numerous siblings before raising her own family. By the age of 92, she estimated, she'd made more than three hundred quilts. Rose Kretsinger studied design at the turn of the century in Europe and at the Art Institute of Chicago. Quilts made from her award-winning designs are now in an art museum collection. Kay McFarland sold quilts to put herself through law school in the 1960s. Today she is the first woman on the Kansas Supreme Court.
These three women, along with thousands of other Kansans from a variety of backgrounds, have pursued quiltmaking for economic and artistic purposes. The result of their efforts: a treasury of quilts, from plain to fancy, utilitarian to decorative.
In 1986 the Kansas Quilt Project began an ambitious effort to find and document Kansas quilts. Aided by legions of volunteers, this group catalogued 13,107 quilts and quilt tops made in Kansas or brought to the state. From this cataloguing, from interviews with quilters and their descendants, and from extensive historical research, the six authors of this book have produced the first comprehensive discussion of quilts and quiltmaking in Kansas.
They focus on specific types of quilts and fabrics, such as red-and-green appliqué quilts and conversation prints; regional and ethnic quiltmaking communities, including Mennonites, African-Americans, and an unusually prolific and talented group of quilters in Emporia a half-century ago; and present-day quilting groups.
Featuring 165 photographs, 68 in full-color, this volume is a visually rich mosaic that illuminates the enduring community of quiltmakers in Kansas and chronicles its relation to the historical and cultural heritage of the state. [via]