Friday, July 27, 2012

1893 Album Quilt

All week I've been side tracked by the Indians Women's Missionary Society Album Quilt that is in the collection of the Bloomington MN Historical Society.  I seem drawn back to the computer like a magnet to search just one more name out.  Then you should hear me Whoop Whoop when I find someone.

Yesterday I made a replica of the title quilt block.  It's too large, and I'll have to make another one starting with smaller blocks, but it turned out well.  The edges are nearly all bias, and I used a trick from garment sewing called 'stay stitching'.  I carefully straight stitched around the edges to keep them from stretching.  I may need to use fabric starch on the muslin squares if I decide to make a reproduction for the Historical Society fundraiser.  I think this single block would be nice for a throw pillow.

Most of the signatures are those of Native American women from Wahehe, S.D. many of whom were married to Canadian Frenchmen.  Names also include Presbyterian Missionary J.P.Williamson and his wife, the Native American pastor and his wife, and missionary women who were school teachers in the Mission School.  One document I found mentioned how this Women's Missionary Society supported the work of the Mission 'with their needles' and brought in half the yearly income for the mission. 

The quilt was donated to the Historical Society by the Pond family, one of the earliest families in Bloomington.  Edward and Mary Frances Pond were missionaries with Rev. Williamson in South Dakota at one time.  The signature of their daughter, Agnes Pond, is on the quilt.  The 1900 census has Mr. & Mrs. Pond back in Bloomington, MN but Agnes and her sister were still at the mission in South Dakota.  I wonder if this quilt was a going away gift to Mrs. Pond when she and her husband returned to Minnesota.


  1. I would use the starch for the block. I did that recently for a block with bias edges and it worked very well.

    Such a fantastic story you have shared here. How interesting how the women brought in half the yearly income for the mission!

  2. It's a beautiful block, and interesting to hear the story behind it! Whoop whoop!!