Redwork is a type of quilt made beginning in the 1880s. While most of the quilts at the museum were made for home use, there are two very historical quilts in the Redwork display.
One has been found through the quilt history list on the Internet when one of the historians from Iowa put her name on from Keota, Iowa. It is a fundraising quilt made by the Ladies Circle of the Methodist Church in Keota in 1890. Another historian made the quilt history person aware of the quilt by saying it was in the Keota Library.
"It seems no one knew of its existence, but it has been found - and for Keota, it is a tremendous piece of history," said museum curator Mariyln Woodin.
Fund-raising quilts are begun with someone buying a block-a space for a name or a picture for so many dollars. Then they are put together and embroidered by someone who does exceptional work and then used as a spread or top and sometimes made into a quilt.
The Keota quilt (three layers put together and stitched) is made of linen and has store names of the 1890's period in Keota's time and it was designed by an artist who also signed his name "Art Richardson". He designed a memorial block with members' names who had passed on and a monument in the center.
The historical Keota piece also shows what happens to a quilt when it is stored incorrectly and is quite mildewed. However, due to the historical impact it is appreciated by the Kalona Historical Village and Woodin thanked the Keota Library Board, the librarian and historian researching it.
The second quilt worth great historical importance is a Women's Relief Corp quilt designed by in 1892 in Chicago, just in time for the Chicago World's Fair that year. Again, this is a fund raiser quilt, but one person who was a great needlewoman did the embroidery work. Looking at the quilt one can see Washington, Lincoln, Columbus, Grant Sherman and others. Due to the fact these women helped support the troops during the Civil war ,there are also the cannons and of course, the American flag.
Other quilts in the collection include "Gute Nacht Baby," which was a gift given as part of the Woodin collection which began the Kalona Quilt and Textile museum. Yet another Redwork quilt from the Woodin Collection is a piece purchased in Iowa and even has an Iowa image on it that of a tornado. The images would have been done to entertain children. Most children's quilts at the time, however, were animal themed and cute.
Finally, a few more Turkey Red and white quilts were added to the display to break up the continual line of embroidery. An "ABC" spread is made of batiste instead of muslin and designed to teach small children their abc's as well as appreciate the images. It is also from Woodin collection. A special red and white spread with all the adult figures and elegantly done was constructed by Mrs. CF Fulmer of Pennsylvania and dates from 1895.
Above the door when one walks in the Quilt and Textile Museum is a much loved baby quilt in redwork from the Litwinow collection On a bench below is a quilt with patterns by Ruby McKim, a designer who had patterns printed in many newspapers from 1916 into the 1920s.
Admission to the display is $3 per person.