Monday, December 21, 2015

Quilt Found at Shaka Chic Kea'au Hawaii

I couldn't wait to share with you this delightful old quilt, I found at a little second hand store, not far from us in Kea'au, on the Big Island of Hawaii. I usually don't waste my time on such places but Gregg was buying some veg., at the market, and this little place is attached to it. I wanted to kill some time while he was talking numbers with the produce venders, so I wandered in to have a look. I didn't see much and was about to leave, when this lovely little old quilt draped over a chair, caught my eye. I went over and began to look at it more closely, and tried to hide my gathering excitement, for it was a genuine all stitched by hand, antique quilt, in very excellent condition.

The tag said 100 dollars, but as I looked at it more, the lady of the store said she would give me a better deal, so I was able to pick up this wonderful gem for just 80 dollars. As you will see by the pictures it is done in a crazy quilt or scrappy quilt style then cut into squares, and I would date the fabrics from the 1920's to the 30's. I asked the lady if she knew anything about the quilt, and she kindly gave me the name and the phone number of the lady who had put it on consignment with her. Sadly, the lady I called didn't know much about it, other than it had been made by her grt. grandmother, Mary E. Montgomery-Hodges.

UPDATE: Just received this week this lovely picture of Mary Hodges from the Douglas County Oregon Historical Society. I was told that Mary was known as "Mamie." What a sweet nickname for such a talented lady. Doesn't she have a lovely smile?!

Here is the quilt front and back. It is done in the loveliest of pastels.

Here are closeups of some of her squares. Some bits of fabric are less than an inch wide.
The technique used in this style of quilt, is done by hand piecing strips of cloth, then taking a block template and cutting out square's from the cloth, and stitching those together to form the quilt. You can clearly see the labor of love this was. I was so impressed with this lady's work and simply astonished by her quilting abilities. The back of the quilt shows clearly just how amazing her skills were.

Mary E. Montgomery-Hodges, from what little I could find of her, by doing a bit of on-line research, lived in Olalla, Oregon, just South of Roseburg. She was born however about 1884 in either Oklahoma or Texas, and lived many years in both states, before moving to California and then Oregon, about 1936. She was the wife of Albert E. Hodges, who was a farmer. She was very active in local affairs. One of the things we know she did, from an article I found in a Roseburg Newspaper dating circa 1949, was that she was the Vice president of the Upper Ollala Women's Club called the, "Busy Steppers."

I found this picture of the ladies of the Upper Ollala Ladies Club, "Busy Steppers," and I have no doubt that Mary E. Hodges is in it, for it dates from the period when she was Vice President. It may also have her daughter, Mary Inez Hodges-Carson, in it too, for she lived in Roseburg along with her husband, Sgt. Samuel Erbert Carson, who would sometime circa 1940 move his family to Bremerton, Washington, where he would take up the duty as Harbor Master for the Navy Ship Yards.

I wish I knew more about what the Busy Steppers did as a ladies club? I know they held all day gatherings and luncheons, but the paper doesn't say what their organization did. Were they quilters for the war effort? I don't know. But if anyone has a clue, please feel free to post a comment.

UPDATE: I found by the News Review, a Roseburg,Oregon newspaper that the, "Busy Steppers", often got together for needlework, games, and visiting. They were a sewing club! YAY!!! There is my answer!

I am just thrilled to add this quilt to my collection, and am not the least downhearted that it wasn't actually made in Hawaii, as I first thought. It is an Oregon made quilt, and as my roots run deep in Oregon, it makes me very happy to be able to call this quilt my own.

I am hoping to find out more about Mary Hodges and her quilting, and will add updates as I find out more about her. I do know that her husbands grt. grandfather, Andrew Carson, was a half brother to "Kit" Carson, the famous frontiersman.

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