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the Mary schafer collection: a legacy of quilt history

 

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Quilt History

As Mary became more interested in quilt history, she began to collect quilts, quilt tops, and vintage fabrics.  Often, she incorporated her finds into a new quilt top.  She would add an original border, create a unique quilting design, and have the top quilted by someone else.

     
Sunburst with compass quilt  

Sunburst with Mariner’s Compass
Maker Unknown
c. 1800-1830
New England
Cotton
86 x 86
MSUM# 1998:53.99

Mary purchased this quilt from Betty in the late 1960’s.  Within the quilt can be found a wonderful collection of early printed fabrics. 

     
Feathered Star quilt  

Feathered Star
Ora Brown
c. 1850-1865
Monroeville, Indiana
Cotton
74” x 90”
MSUM# 1998:53.34

Purchased from a local antiques dealer c. 1963, the Feathered Star was the first historical quilt Mary collected.  Acquired during the early years of her quilt study, Mary sought to collect every bit of information she could find about quilts and quilt history.

     
Pyramids quilt  

Pyramids
Matilda Vary, piecer, Mary Schafer, finishing
Ida Pullum, quilter
Top c. 1876, Finishing 1980
Ceresco, Calhoun County, Michigan and Flushing, Genesee County, Michigan
Cotton with polyester batting
83 x 98
MSUM# 1998:53.78

Within the Pyramids quilt, one can find Centennial fabrics.  These were patriotic fabrics created to commemorate the 1876 Centennial.

     
Sawtooth quilt  

Sawtooth Quilt
Matilda Vary, piecer; Mary Schafer, finisher
Ida Pullum, quilter
Top c. 1876, finished c. 1980
Ceresco, Calhoun County, Michigan and Flushing, Genesee County, Michigan
Cotton with polyester batting
81-1/4” x 97”
MSUM# 1998:53.86

After she added a border and had the quilt finished, Mary Schafer signed the name of the top’s maker in ink on the quilt.   Because a multitude of fabrics appear in the quilt, this textile provides a good study collection of fabrics from the last quarter of the 19th century.  Mary’s paisley border is a typical print of a fabric available during the time she finished the quilt.  A pattern for this quilt will be featured in the MSUM book, Great Lakes, Great Quilts (to be issued in fall 2001).

     
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