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Sat, Dec. 14

Small quilt exhibit displays tiny stitches, intricate designs

Quilts of the 1930s and 1940s are favorites of quilter Gail Van Horsen because she remembers growing up with them.

“These are the quilts that were in my grandmother’s house. We played on them on the lawn with tea parties, we slept under them. They were my childhood,” Van Horsen told an audience of about 40 at the Sharlot Hall Museum Sept. 10.

Van Horsen, an American Quilting Society Certified Quilt Appraiser, presented a talk on The Quilts of Emma Andres and her Contemporaries (1930-1940), on exhibit now through Sept. 29 at Sharlot Hall Museum.

Emma Andres (1902-1988) lived her entire life in Prescott and created only a dozen or so quilts. Some of the 11 on display in the museum’s West Gallery of the Lawler Exhibit Center are hers, some are her contemporaries. What is extraordinary, Van Horsen said, is that Andres left an extensive journal about her creations.

Unlike most quilters, Andres never used scraps. She purchased fabric to use exclusively in her quilts. Sometimes she would dye new material to get just the right shade. She made one quilt of purple, pinks and white diamonds in the Lone Star, or Star of Bethlehem, pattern for the Camp Verde Class of 1938.

Van Horsen said Andres had several stores in Prescott from which to choose for fabric – general merchandise and feed stores – in addition to the Sears catalog. In the beginning, she used published patterns, but later created her own designs.

After finishing her final quilt, titled Ninety and Nine, Andres said she was retiring her needle, and so she did. Ninety and Nine consists of 19,685 pieces, all tiny squares of less than ½ square inch size. Like a mosaic, close up viewing shows the intricacies of her quilting skills. Stand back, and you will see an image of sheep and a shepherd with a lamb draped across his shoulders. The title refers to a biblical story.

Admission to the gallery is included with admission to the museum, and a docent will be on hand to discuss Andres’ Arizona state seal quilt and describe the others on display.

Hours through September are Mon-Sat, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Sunday 12-4 p.m. Admission: $9 adults; $8 seniors, active and retired military (with ID); $6 college students (with ID); $5 youth, ages 13-17; free for ages 12 and younger.

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