Archive for Saturday, December 8, 1990


December 8, 1990


The holidays have a quilted look at the Elizabeth M. Watkins Community Museum, 1047 Mass., with a 35-quilt exhibit of the works of Kansas quilter Helen Ericson.

With the Christmas shopping season in full swing and the museum decorated for the holidays, museum director Steve Jansen said the exhibit has been drawing downtown shoppers as well as local and out-of-town quilting enthusiasts. The quilts will be on display through Dec. 21.

"The blending of quilts and Christmas ornaments gives the exhibit a nice holiday flavor," he said.

Ericson, of Emporia, began quilting in 1969 and now writes and lectures on quilt construction and quiltmakers-of-note, including Ruby Short McKim, an Independence, Mo., quilter who published a syndicated column on quilt patterns in the Kansas City Star and other newspapers from 1916 until 1935.

Ericson also sells quilt patterns and quilting designs, including those of Scioto I. Danner, who began selling quilts and patterns in the 1920s in El Dorado, and the Sunbonnet children book and patterns of Betty J. Hagerman, a rural Baldwin quilter who died in 1986.

ERICSON'S newest quilt book is "Our Favorite Sunbonnet Children," a follow-up to Hagerman's "A Meeting of the Sunbonnet Children."

Those publications and examples of patterns also are included in the exhibit.

Among quilts on display are two with distinctly Christmas motifs. "Christmas Star" was made by Ericson in 1984 from a photo in "Country Living" magazine. "Toy Shop Window," made this year, features two blocks from McKim's 1930s series that show Christmas stars, a filled stocking and a teddy bear.

Several examples of the Sunbonnet children, including Ericson's latest, as well as a number of quilts with children's motifs, also are displayed.

A "Nursery Rhymes" quilt made in 1984 features designs from coloring books done in chain-stitch embroidery. Two 1990 quilts, "The Roly Poly Circus" and "Three Little Pigs," both based on McKim designs from the 1920s and '30s, are done with crayons.

ERICSON'S 1973 Kansas State Fair "best of show" quilt, "Delectable Mountains," is displayed, along with her 1974 "best of show" from the Topeka State Fair. That quilt, "54-40 or Fight," features a historic design based on the 1840s slogan for the Oregon Territory.

"Tea Rose" is Ericson's first appliqued quilt, and "Blazing Stars" includes century-old blocks from her grandmother's trunk.

The only quilt in the show that was not made by Ericson is "Lady's Dream." It was made in 1934 for Scioto Danner from a design based on a quilt made in 1856.

Marge Ragle, a local quilter who works with her husband, Dan, in staging Watkins' quilt shows, said "Lady's Dream" is reported to have 18 stitches to the inch.

It was displayed in Australia in 1935 and in London in 1962.

Museum hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and 1:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. A $1 donation is asked.

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