By Anne Ruppert, Sam Rayburn House State Historic Site
The annual Bonham Quilt Hop returned to “Mr. Sam’s” home on Friday and Saturday, July 27 and 28. Visitors viewed the circa 1825-1935 collection of Rayburn family quilts during guided tours of the home. A collection of quilts on loan from the Winedale Quilt Collection made up the display inside the site’s visitor center.
The Winedale Quilt Collection holds over 550 quilts covering 200 years of quilt-making and is housed by the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History at the University of Texas at Austin. The Collection loaned five quilts to the Sam Rayburn House State Historic Site for the Bonham Quilt Hop. Each of these five quilts were created between 1900 and 1930, selected for display because they date near years of U.S. involvement in World War I.
During World War I, the U.S. government encouraged those on the home front to quilt and “save the blankets for our boys over there.” Americans made quilts both out of necessity and to fundraise at raffles, often employing patriotic color schemes to draw attention to the war effort overseas. By the end of the war, America had developed a renewed interest in quilting as an art form.
The five Winedale quilts came in a variety of patterns, colors, and styles.
Interestingly, the smallest quilt in the display seemed to get the most attention from attendees. This diminutive, 11-by-11 inch doll quilt showcases the once popular crazy quilt style. The crazy quilt trend gained popularity in the U.S. in the late 1800s, but some quilters continued to make the style into the early years of the 20th century. Winedale’s doll quilt included a variety of fabrics in different textures and sheens.
Similar in style was the All-Over-Crazy Patch, with a variety of patterned fabrics in various shapes and sizes. This quilt showcased the Crazy Quilting trend as it moved through the 1910s and 1920s, with similar stitching and less showy fabrics than previous crazy quilts.
American patriotism was on display in the “Savvy” Log Cabin quilt with its red, white and blue color scheme. This textile was created in the “quilt as you go” style. This technique is accomplished by piecing and quilting at the same time, which simplifies the overall process.
The red and white color scheme of Winedale’s attractive Thirty Block Redwork quilt featured thirty blocks embroidered in different patterns in red embroidery thread. Redwork quilts became popular around 1880 with the advent of colorfast “Turkey” red dye. The dyeing of fabric red using a colorfast technique originated in the Middle East. This specific color process came to be known as “Turkey red” because of old European associations of the Middle East and Mediterranean regions with Turkey.
Winedale’s Diamond Mosaic quilt was the focal point of the exhibit. This quilt, with its brightly colored green, black and red hexagon pieces arranged in diamond patterns, was quite eye-catching to visitors. The style and border of the quilt are similar to Amish quilts. Though without contributing documented provenance, this quilt could not be accurately linked to the Amish tradition. The Diamond Mosaic quilt was recently stabilized and conserved by a volunteer.
Missed the Bonham Quilt Hop? No worries. Join us on Saturday, September 8 for our next free admission day as we participate in the Red River Valley Tourism’s annual “Stroll N Roll.” Visitors will receive free admission at participating historic sites and museums along the Red River Valley corridor. If you’re looking for an early-fall family excursion, make plans to visit us in Bonham for a tour of “Mr. Sam’s” home.
The Sam Rayburn House State Historic Site tells the real story of Sam Rayburn, one of the most powerful and influential politicians of the 20th century, in his authentic 1916 home. Preserved as a period time capsule, the two-story home contains all original Rayburn furnishings. The Sam Rayburn House State Historic Site is one of 22 historic attractions operated by the Texas Historical Commission. For more information visit www.samrayburnhouse.com.