Grace’s Favorite China Pattern

By: Phyllis Stewart
Castle Rock, Colorado

In 1943, Grace Snyder completed her amazing Flower Basket Petit Point Quilt. It contains 85,789 pieces of fabric, took 16 months to complete, used 5,400 yards of thread, and measures 93 x 94 inches. It is hard to comprehend actually doing this and yet she did it, while she was a rancher’s wife who raised children, grew a garden, canned food, and accomplished many other things. She patterned her idea for the quilt after a piece of china called “Victory” from Salem, Ohio. The china pattern had a beautiful petit point design of a flower basket.

Deciding to participate in this challenge was easy for me once I thought of this Grace Snyder quilt made with all solid color fabrics. Usually when one reproduces a quilt it is done in some form of miniature, but I chose to make each of my squares one-half inch where Grace’s were one-quarter of an inch. This made my completed quilt with only one basket block and a few extra flowers in the corners, finish at 40 x 40 inches and contain 6,840 pieces. It took me six months to complete the top and I used my sewing machine as well as foundation papers to make the thousands of half-square triangles.

Each week as I worked on this quilt, my admiration for Grace grew and I wondered: Where did she get her many shades and colors of solid fabrics in the 1940s during World War II? After making a few basket blocks, did she ever want to quit? I am so glad she did not. We have this work of art to admire, now in the Nebraska State Historical Society Museum, where it is continuously available for viewing in a very large drawer.