The 1876 Centennial Quilt Project
This beautiful quilt owned by Barbara Menasian was purchased in Connecticut with no other provenance than what was contained in the quilt “EMC 1876.” The quilt is a medallion style with the “Chips and Whetstone” as the center piece of the sampler. The center block is surrounded by seventy-four different patterns, many which are commonly known. However, the unique arrangement of borders was then separated by a different geometric pieced row.
Karen Alexander ran across a photo of the extraordinary quilt in an online history forum. Inspired by the quilt, she secured permission from the owner for a group of quilters from Northwestern Washington to re-create the quilt. Anne Dawson a quilt shop owner and quilt restorer, drafted the intricate patterns to follow the original quilt as closely as possible. Anne then used reproduction fabrics to replicate the quilt.
Other members of the dedicated quilt group were fascinated by the project as well, although not all chose to use the reproduction fabrics. Some of the quilt artists chose original colors and even chose to branch out on the block patterns creating some new additions. Certain members of the group were so inspired, that making one 1876 Centennial Quilt wasn’t enough. Two members of the group made 4 centennial quilts each. The project culminated in an exhibition in Houston of more than 15 Centennial quilts.