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In 1927, Bert leased the Sandhills ranch for four years and moved their family to be near Bert’s sister, Alice, in the beautiful Willamette Valley, north of Salem, Oregon. Another reason for the move was to send their two youngest daughters, Billie and Bertie, together to a high school that was close by.
Forty-five-year-old Grace thought the Pacific Ocean looked like the rolling Sandhills, except it was a different color. During the years away from the demands of Sandhills ranch life, Grace enjoyed the frequent gatherings of a local quilt group. She later said, “I never had it so good.”
© IQSCM #2009.032.0003
While in Oregon, Grace wrote to her oldest daughter, Nellie,
“. . . have started a pretty new one called the Double Wedding Ring. The rings are made of little print pieces, and I’m exchanging prints with the quilting club ladies. I want as many different pieces as I can get.”
Later, Grace wrote, “The pieces you sent me were just what I needed to finish the Wedding Ring.”
It is not known whether or not this is the same Double Wedding Ring quilt Grace made in Oregon, but the fabrics are clues belonging to this period. Her daughter Billie remembered this quilt as always being on Grace’s bed. Perhaps it reminded Grace of the happy years she spent in Oregon quilting with her new friends. Quilts serve as scrapbooks of memories for many quilters.
When Grace was quilting, Bert was fishing, his favorite hobby. Grace later made the Fisher Boy quilt, based on the popular Straw Hat Boy pattern. It depicts a series of young boys, each holding a fishing pole with a single fish. The exception is the lucky grandson, for whom the quilt was made, who appears in red overalls with two fish dangling from his line. During his childhood, the young boy enjoyed fishing with his grandfather, and Grace personalized the quilt to celebrate that special relationship.
Machine-pieced and hand-appliquéd, the quilt is well-loved, and the front of it has been covered in a sheer fabric to preserve the pieces and exposed batting from further deterioration. The twelve little boys are surrounded by small fabric squares from a wide variety of 1930s’ cotton fabric.
Embroidered representations of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, Wild Bill Hickok, and Buffalo Bill (Bert’s former employer) fill three of the corners of the Fisher Boy quilt.
The fourth corner contains a young cowboy and cowgirl roping a seated bull. This design is very similar to the ones Grace used in Home on the Range, for another grandchild’s quilt.
A piece of land used to raise animals for sale, usually cattle.
A bed covering or blanket, usually created in 3 layers: a decorative top, an interior batting made of cotton, wool, or polyester fibers for warmth, and a backing. Quilting is the process of stitching all three layers together.
Traditional 6-Step Process
- Select a pattern, fabrics for top and back, and interior batting.
- Measure and cut fabrics to the correct size to make blocks from the pattern.
- Piece (sew together) blocks to make a finished top layer. Add embroidered details or appliqués, if desired.
- Make a quilt sandwich by layering the quilt top with batting and backing, usually using a quilt frame to hold the fabrics taut.
- Quilt (stitch) the three layers together.
- Square up and trim excess batting from the edges, sew the binding to the front edges of the quilt, and then hand-stitch the binding to the backing.
Stuffing for the interior (middle layer) of the quilt to make it warmer, usually out of cotton, wool, or polyester fibers. hand-appliqué
An appliqué that is sewn on by hand rather than by machine. appliqué
In needlework, a decorative piece of material applied over a foundation material. deterioration
Wear and tear. Because most quilts were designed to be used, frequently they become worn out, frayed, soiled, or damaged. machine-piece
To sew or stitch together a quilt using a sewing machine. piece
Sewing together small pieces of fabric for a quilt top. Quilts usually start with a number of smaller blocks that are then sewn or "pieced" together. pattern
A guide design or example used to help create other designs. piece
Sewing together small pieces of fabric for a quilt top. Quilts usually start with a number of smaller blocks that are then sewn or “pieced” together.