Quilts preserved for history

For more than 50 years she was alone, and her quilts kept her company.

“This little lady had so many struggles in her lifetime. I found her so interesting,” she said.

Davis volunteered with the quilt documentation project to preserve the history of women like Maude White.

“If I didn’t tell the story of that pedestrian quilt made out of what people would normally throw away” no one would have known about that brave soul, she said.

Since 1986, the Colorado Quilt Council has documented 8,858 quilts. Davis and her group, formed in 1995, have registered more than 800, Davis said.

The documentation process is simple but involves filling out a lengthy registration form. Davis and her team may interview the owner about the quilt, looking for information about when the quilt was made and by whom and any known history of the quilter.

The quilt is photographed, then is inspected by a research team that tries to identify the block pattern using “The Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilting Blocks” by Barbara Brackman.

The researchers also identify the fabric and make note of such elements of the quilt as the type of stitching, backing, and borders used.

The team doesn’t appraise the value of quilt. Nor does it date them. That’s a pretty tricky proposition, Davis said.

Certain quilt block patterns have been dated, so quilts can be placed after a particular design appeared.

Finally, a quilt receives a registration number that is entered in a computer database at the council’s headquarters in Denver and a registration tag is attached to the quilt.

The goal, Davis said, is to publish a book of Colorado quilts. In the meantime, stories such as Maude White’s will be preserved for generations to come.

Contact Donna Daniels:

945-8515, ext. 520

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