Friday, September 16, 2011

Haute Couture Has Nothing Over Mrs. Grace Snyder

Flower Basket Petit Point Quilt by Grace Snyder, 1940

Grace McCance Snyder, the Nebraskan pioneer, started piecing quilts when she was only seven. Charged by her father with watching the cattle in the fields, she would lie or sit on the back of her favorite and sew all day. Through the next decades of her life, Mrs. Snyder made tens of quilts for her family and later in her life for exhibition. She became Nebraska's most famous quilter and was inducted into the Quilters' Hall of Fame in 1980 at the age of 98. Two of her quilts are on the list of the Twentieth Century's 100 Best American Quilts.

Section of the Petit Point quilt showing the needlepoint effect of the piecing.

Mrs. Snyder accomplished the Flower Basket Petit Point quilt in 16 months, basing her design on the pattern of a china plate produced by the Salem China Company of Ohio. In her design, she used a triangle for each stitch of the petit point to achieve a pointellist impression on the quilt's surface. It took Mrs. Snyder 87,875 tiny triangles, no bigger than a fingernail, and 5 miles of thread to sew to create the Petit-Point quilt!

Here are other samples of Mrs. Snyder's quilting.

A documentary segment has been produced about Mrs. Snyder's quilting, and her work and life were featured in the International Quilt Study Study Center and Museum of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

You may also want to see: Fashion and Quilting: Two Roads