The wool quilt on the left was made in Chicago by my great great grandmother in the early 20th century and was most likely used as a parlor quilt. My aunt Marguerite would get wool suit samples from the tailor’s shop to make the pinwheel patchwork. The quilt on the right came from an antique store in Montana and is an example of a “suggan” or cowboy’s quilt.  As part of  his bedroll a cowboy might have such a quilt made from rectangular wool patches and filled with thick padding. Although made of the same materials and roughly the same time period these quilts served very different purposes.

Pinwheel quilt from a Chicago parlor and cowboy’s bedroll, both made of wool pieces with very different uses.

I have a passion for making new quilts from antique quilt designs, and reproducing them accurately. The Shoo Fly quilt was the first authentic reproduction of an antique quilt that I made around 1985, this was before there were many fabric lines or  stores selling reproduction fabrics. I faithfully copied the fabrics and design from a photo. The diagonal set lattice was a real challenge, and I don’t think I’ve attempted it again, although I love the way it looks, and it is indicative of the time period. My passion for sewing antique quilt designs paid off when the quilt appeared in the movie, Return to Lonesome Dove. The movie  was filmed in Montana had cowboy, Captain Call, played by Jon Voight, wrapped in the quilt for a scene with actress Barbara Hershey. The Lonesome Dove series is said to be based on Nelson Story’s historic cattle drive from Texas to Montana, the longest cattle drive in American history. As only God could ordain(I don’t believe in coincidences) I eventually met my husband, Rob Story, who is the great, great, great grandson of Nelson Story.

Authentic reproduction of 19th century Shoo Fly Quilt.

Shoo Fly Quilt from movie: Return to Lonesome Dove.