This 'yoyo' quilt made by Margaret Rintoul McGee in the 1950's was comprised of 4224 circles. It took her 3 years to complete it. This is an example of a quilt made primarily for decorative purposes when there was more time that could be devoted to completing an intricate design.
Quilting skills were traditionally both a necessity and a source of great pride. Young girls were taught the craft as soon as they could reliably hold a needle. They would practice over and over on small samples, perfecting the tiny stitches. When they reached a high level of proficiency, they could participate in the making of a quilt at a community quilting bee. They would be schooled in the common and popular patterns at an early age, as well. They would learn how to put together pieces of fabric and find a way to incorporate whatever material was on hand. Nothing was wasted. Even velvet and satin dresses were cut up into quilt pieces when they had served their purpose otherwise. As time went on, women could purchase fabric at the general store and order new patterns in the mail. Despite these new conveniences, the art of the traditional way of making a quilt persisted for many generations. Today, many daughters and grandaughters of quilters carry on the tradition using new methods and techniques.
Quilts embroidered with local community member names were often made as fundraising projects. Families paid about 10 cents per name to be included in the quilt. The proceeds raised by the raffle of the quilt would fund such things as the Church or a local cause.
The Middleville and District Museum has a number of old quilting patterns clipped and added to scrapbooks of favourites. Quilting and sewing patterns were a popular feature in magazines in the 1900's. Each publication would bring a new pattern to be collected.
Be sure to look for the quilt display in the parlour section of the Museum on your next visit to view the variety of these exquisite works of art that have been preserved for generations to enjoy.
This journal is written, researched, and maintained by the volunteers of the Middleville Museum.