Celebrating OCQG's 40th Anniversary in 2021
Each month during the 2020-2021 membership year, we are running short articles in the Old Capitol Quilters Guild newsletter featuring interesting events, personal stories, or nuggets of inspiration preserved by previous OCQG Historians. Some will highlight how much things have changed, while others will show how much is still the same. We are also posting them here to make them readily accessible to all. The most recent article will appear near the top.
From the December 2020 OCQG Newsletter
Holidays and the Winter Season
As we look through the binders assembled by earlier OCQG Historians, it’s clear that every year about this time, quilters get busy making quilted gifts for themselves and for others and sewing decorations for their homes. Occasionally members of the Guild have been called upon to contribute to exhibits or displays.
In 2006 a nationwide call went out from Washington DC asking makers of all kinds in each state to send handmade ornaments to decorate a display of 50 state trees near the White House. The October OCQG newsletter that year reported that the Guild would be sending 42 ornaments (4”x4” quilted squares) for the Iowa tree thanks to 16+ members, several of whom have remained active for many more years: Helen Dietrich, Barb Fisher-Krueger, “Diedre Fleener’s small group,” Connie Funk, Jean Hospodarsky, Twila Meder, Linda Nudd, Nancy Rehling, and Barb Voss.
Shannon Hunger, the local coordinator for the effort, said that the DC “organizer for the state trees has sent word the Iowa tree was the favorite of the people who set up the display in the part near the White House.”
Although the December 2006 newsletter carried three photos of the ornaments, it was printed in black-and-white. So far we haven’t found any color versions. The February newsletter also noted that the tree organizers in DC would be sending a photo of the Iowa tree that would be “published on the website soon,” but if that happened, we no longer have access to it.
Other ways we’ve had holiday and winter fun over the years.
The creative organizers of the February Service Days in 2001 and 2002 (including Janann Schiele, Twila Meder, and Diane Lohr) were inspired by the coming Winter Olympics as they made their plans for the “Winter Sewing Olympics.” All participants were organized into teams that worked together to create the quilts. In 2002, teams of five were encouraged to “skate through 9 patches, race to the design wall, and cross the finish line with tops ready to be quilted.”
Make it/take it sessions for Christmas ornaments can be a quick but productive way to spread some holiday cheer. A “Cathedral Window Christmas Ornament” designed by OCQG member Kim Haigh had special appeal, appearing first at the December 1990 evening meeting (led by Sharon Somer), again during an activity carnival in June 1994, then for a third time at the December 2004 evening meeting. It’s worth repeating again, so we encourage you to download the pattern from the website.
For many years, Winter Retreats have been held in February. They have been a great way to get away after the holidays and focus on some relaxing time with our sewing machines and quilting friends. Twila Meder even made a small quilt to celebrate the one in 2000.
From the November 2020 OCQG Newsletter
Quilters Helped Celebrate Iowa City’s Sesquicentennial in 1989
When Iowa City celebrated its Sesquicentennial (150th anniversary) in 1989, members of the quilt guild, then known as “Quilting for Fun (QFF),” helped commemorate the event by creating a quilt with images from the city’s past. In the photo, below, you can see Old Capitol and the county fair in the large center block, surrounded by landmarks such as “Lean-back Hall,” an early tavern (3); Terrell Mill (6); a Mormon Handcart (8); the Coralville School House (9); and the Black Angel (10).
Photo (left) of quilt created by the members of "Quilting for Fun" to commemorate the sesquicentennial of Iowa City in 1989.
The quilt came together very quickly. In February 1989, QFF received an invitation to display at least two quilts for the Iowa City Sesquicentennial celebration that was scheduled for May 4-5-6. QFF member, Marge Reese, designed the blocks and got started on the applique work right away. By late March the QFF newsletter reported that the quilt top was ready for quilting (by hand, of course!). On April 10 they set up a quilting frame and invited QFF members to bring their own needles and thimbles to help. By the time the next newsletter was distributed a month later, all the quilting was done and only the binding was left to finish.
The quilt was displayed at the Johnson County Heritage Museum during the celebration in early May and later donated to the Museum by the QFF.
Help us learn more about this quilt!
The accounts in the QFF newsletters only talk about the process of getting the work done but not about the content of the quilt. The one image of it preserved in the Guild’s history notebooks (see above) is not easy to read.
1. Can you identify any of the other images? (We’ve posted a copy of the scanned photo on the website to make it easier for you to zoom in on details.)
2. Do any of our current members remember working on the quilt and/or do you have a better photo of the quilt?
3. If the OCQG undertakes a similar project for the city's Bicentennial in 2039, which of these historic images would change?
Please contact the History Committee if you can provide answers (or guesses?) to any of these questions!