HISTORY - Royal Alberta Museum Western Canadian Culture assistant curator Lucie Heins heads a documentation effort of  the Wetaskiwin Heritage Museum's collection of historic quilts

HISTORY - Royal Alberta Museum Western Canadian Culture assistant curator Lucie Heins heads a documentation effort of the Wetaskiwin Heritage Museum's collection of historic quilts

Research project comes together, one quilt at a time

Royal Canadian Museum assistant curator is crafting a look at Alberta's quilters history using quilts in museums and collections.

Piece by piece, memory by memory, a Royal Canadian Museum assistant curator is crafting a comprehensive look at Alberta’s quilters history using quilts in community museums and private collections.

On Aug. 17, Lucie Heins, assistant curator, Western Canadian History, along with local quilters Loree Schafer and Marlene Olson documented the Wetaskiwin Heritage Museum’s collection of 10 quilts.

The following day Heins moved on to 13 quilts from private collections in the community, brought in by appointment.

“I always get local quilters to assist me,” said Heins. “It’s not like I have a team that follows me wherever I go. So it’s an opportunity to engage the quilters in a community.”

“I couldn’t do this project without the help of local quilters,” she added.

Heins is in her sixth year of a research project looking at the quilts and quilters of western Canada, as she says most available literature focuses on eastern Canada. “There’s no real book on its history.”

“It’s the quilts in private collections that have the stories and the photographs,” she added.

Heins recalls one man brought in two of this grandmother’s quilts, which featured decorative embroidered edging, “Which I had never seen before.”

Heins noticed many of the quilts from the area brought in were crazy quilts; a specific technique often used in the late 1800s.

Another memorable quilt for Heins was one estimated to date back to the 1920s. Documenters could see the pre-marked top made with blue ink. Heins says for the markings to still be visible the quilt must not have been washed often.

The quilts with pre-marked tops were purchased as part of quilting kits, which were available as early as the late 1800s. “We don’t often see quilts that was part of a kit,” said Heins.

“When we document quilts and we document the history of the quilter we’re also documenting Alberta’s history,” she added.

With that particular pre-marked quilt Heins says it either took the woman quite a long time to finish that style of quilt or she was a “woman of leisure” who could dedicate her time to the craft.

The story accompanying the quilt is the quilter was married to a man who believed his wife’s role was in the home rather than helping on the farm, as so many other farmers’ wives were expected to. “In this instance she was kind of like a woman of leisure,” said Heins.

Heins is also pleased with the number of older quilts brought in from the Wetaskiwin area. She says she usually sees many from the ’50s and ’60s.

Heins spent the first three years of her project researching contemporary quilters. “How quilters quilt today is in many ways different than how quilters quilted 100 years ago.”

The following five years are dedicated to community museums and private collections. “So that’s where I tend to capture most of the history,” said Heins.

Heins says she will probably hold another event in Wetaskiwin to document the quilts put on a waiting list she did not have the time to get to on Aug. 18. She is aiming for October but does not yet have a set date.

 

Just Posted

(File photo from The Canadian Press)
Red Deer down to 66 active COVID-19 cases

Red Deer has lowest number of active cases since last November

File photo
Wetaskiwin RCMP investigate fatal collision

One fatality in a serious collision on Highway 2A on June 18, 2021.

Participants in Rock Soup Food Bank’s fundraising drag race that took place on June 20, 2021. Shaela Dansereau/ PipestoneFlyer.
Rock Soup Food Bank fundraises with literal drag race down main-street

Participants ran in drag down Wetaskiwin’s main street as a fundraiser for the food bank.

Orange shirts, shoes, flowers and messages are displayed on the steps outside the legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Tuesday, June 8, 2021 following a ceremony hosted by the Songhees and Esquimalt First Nations in honour of the 215 residential school children whose remains have been discovered buried near the facility in Kamloops, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Alberta city cancels Canada Day fireworks at site of former residential school

City of St. Albert says that the are where the display was planned, is the site of the former Youville Residential School

FILE – Perry Bellegarde, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, takes part in an event on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, July 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Indigenous Peoples Day must be a ‘call to action’, says Assembly of First Nations chief

Discovery of children at Kamloops residential school site must lead to change, Perry Bellegarde says

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
VIDEO: Border quarantine to soon lift for fully vaccinated Canadians

Eligible travellers must still take multiple COVID-19 tests

Fans watch the warm-up before Game 6 between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Montreal Canadiens in NHL playoff hockey action Saturday, May 29, 2021 in Montreal. Quebec’s easing of COVID-19 restrictions will allow 2,500 fans to attend the game for the first time in fourteen months. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Two-thirds of Canadians say governments shouldn’t lift all COVID-19 restrictions

Poll reports Canadians who gained pandemic weight say they have gained 16 pounds on average

Paul Bernardo is shown in this courtroom sketch during Ontario court proceedings via video link in Napanee, Ont., on October 5, 2018. Teen killer and serial rapist Paul Bernardo is set for a parole hearing today. The designated dangerous offender, has been eligible for full parole for more than three years. Bernardo’s horrific crimes in the 1980s and early 1990s include for kidnapping, torturing and killing Kristen French and Leslie Mahaffy near St. Catharines, Ont. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Greg Banning
Killer rapist Paul Bernardo faces parole hearing today; victim families opposed

Designated dangerous offender has been eligible for full parole for more than three years.

People look over the damage after a tornado touched down in Mascouche, Que., north of Montreal, Monday, June 21, 2021. Dozens of homes were damaged and one death has been confirmed. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
One dead and extensive damage as tornado hits Mascouche, Que., north of Montreal

Damage reported in several parts of the city, and emergency teams dispatched to sectors hardest hit

FILE - In this Nov. 29, 2020, file photo, Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib leaves the field after an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons in Atlanta. Nassib on Monday, June 21, 2021, became the first active NFL player to come out as gay. Nassib announced the news on Instagram, saying he was not doing it for the attention but because “I just think that representation and visibility are so important.” (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)
Nassib becomes first active NFL player to come out as gay

More than a dozen NFL players have come out as gay after their careers were over

A pair of Alberta residents were arrested after police responded to a report of a woman who had allegedly been assaulted and confined against her will on June 20, 2021. (File photo)
Salmon Arm RCMP arrest 2 Albertans suspected in alleged assault, unlawful confinement

Firearms, stolen items seized including NHL hockey cards believed to be worth thousands

A man makes his way past signage to a mass COVID-19 vaccination centre at the University of Toronto’s Mississauga campus during the COVID-19 pandemic in Mississauga, Ont., on Monday, May 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Canadians encouraged to see mRNA shots as interchangeable as more 2nd doses open up

Doctors urge people not to hesitate if offered Moderna after getting Pfizer for their first shot

Chief of Defence Staff Jonathan Vance sits in the front row during a news conference in Ottawa on June 26, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Defence committee rises without report on Vance allegations

Committee had been investigating the government’s handling of complaints against former defence chief

Tl’etinqox-lead ceremony at the site of the former St. Joseph’s Mission in Williams Lake, B.C., June 18, 2021. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
‘We are all one people’: Honouring residential school victims and survivors

Love, support and curiousity: Canadians urged to learn about residential schools and their impact

Most Read