Story City Questers work to preserve 1889 quilt

Kate Feil, Story City Historical Society director
Special to the Story City Herald
Thanks to Story City Questers chapters, Hook & Eye and Praeri Rail Trail, grant funds were obtained and money was also donated to do extensive preservation work on a 130-year-old quilt at the Story City Historical Society's Bartlett Museum.

In 1988 the Story City Historical Society received a donation of a 100-year-old crazy quilt. The quilt was given by descendants of early Story County settlers Sarah (Kalsem) and Iver Wetteland. The Wettelands were married here in Story County in 1889. That year is embroidered on the quilt along with many other decorative stitches and dimensional designs. Many of the fabric pieces also have painted scenes on them which is unique. With the quilt being 130 years old, some of the silk pieces have shattered.

Many of the fabric pieces on the 130-year-old quilt have painted scenes on them.

Due to this, our local Story City Questers chapters, Hook & Eye and Praeri Rail Trail, wrote a grant in 2019 for the quilt to be preserved. They received a grant for $1,548.27 from the International Questers Organization. Combined, the local chapters also gave $387 toward the project.

The grant was awarded in May of 2020. The quilt was taken to Denise Bachelder, who owns Make It Sew in Radcliffe and does custom sewing as well as restoration work. Bachelder used silk gauze and silk thread to anchor any shattered fabrics, loose embroidery or cracked paintings. The silk gauze was matched to the quilt block color wherever possible to cause the least visual disturbance.

The quilt was donated to the museum by descendants of early Story County settlers Sarah (Kalsem) and Iver Wetteland, who were in Story County in 1889.

This late 1880s crazy quilt has been a part of our textile collection for over 30 years. It is a unique piece that is proudly displayed in our Bartlett Museum. Through this Questers grant we are happy to have the quilt stabilized so we can continue to display the quilt for many years to come. We’d like to thank everyone involved with this project, including Becky Senti of Praeri Rail Trail and Wanda Holm of Hook & Eye for writing an International Questers Grant for the restoration.