Sunday, June 14, 2015

Sunday Stories: Grace Snyder's Quilts Part 2

The story as it originally appears in the history book quotes the date as being 1931, though from the dates that appear throughout the article, it must be later, so I guessed 1951.

Excerpted from the McPherson County: Facts, Families, Fiction; Established in 1890

Mrs. Snyder’s Quilts have won International Fame
Taken from Nebraska Cattleman, March 1951



Mrs. A.B. Snyder of North Platte, Nebraska, (formerly of Flats, Nebraska, where she spent forty years on the home ranch) has made quilt making practically a life time hobby, beginning as a very little girl of five or six years. During the past twenty years she has devoted a large share of her time to the study and creation of rare and beautiful quilts. She now has a most unusual collection of more than twenty ‘show’ quilts, all handmade by herself, and featuring great variety: patchwork, embroidery, applique, and a vast amount of incredibly fine quilting.

The gems of her collections are the several quilts in which she has used so many thousands of small pieces. The first outstanding one of this type was her “Mosaic Hexagon”, made about twenty years ago and using fifty thousand tiny pieces. This quilt won the sweepstakes award of the whole hobby show at North Platte in 1941.

Her appetite for working with tiny pieces whetted by her success with the Mosaic quilt, Mrs. Snyder immediately went to work on an original design of tiny triangular pieces featuring thirteen blocks in a flower basket pattern. Eight of the wee triangles sewed together made a “block” less than one inch square and there were 85,789 in the entire quilt. She used 5,400 yards of thread in its piecing. This quilt won the sweepstakes prize at the 1944 Nebraska State Fair.

Another of Mrs.Snyder’s unusual quilts, attracting much attention wherever shown, is the one known as “Dad’s quilt”’ a historical pattern in applique, each block a picture of a famous, colorful character of the old West, Buffalo Bill, Calamity Jane, Custer, Sitting Bull, etc. On one block, showing a mounted cowboy pursuing a “longhorn”, Mrs. Snyder drew her husband’s face, mustache and all, true to his appearance during his cowboy days and gave the picture his cowboy name “Pinnacle Jake”. She then presented the quilt to Mr. Snyder and, thereafter, the family called it “Dad’s Quilt”.

Mrs. Snyder has taken so many show ribbons, mostly blue ones, on her quilts that she could well piece a new quilt of the ribbons. Perhaps topping the array of ribbons are the ones she won the past November when she and her daughter, Mrs. Glen Elfeldt of Sutherland, Nebraska, flew to New York City for the week of the Women’s International Art Exhibition. Mrs. Snyder showed her four quilts at the exhibition, her 85,000 piece basket quilt, Dad’s quilt, and two new ones, an appliqued grape design with quilted basket work and “The Bird of Paradise”, both originals. Each of the four took the top ribbon in its class, Dad’s quilt winning a “special” ribbon in an international group.
Please read more about Grace Snyder's incredible life and her quilts at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln International Quilt Study Center and Museum website. You can also see many of her quilts there.

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