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Unspoken clues will help identify age of quilts

Tresa Jones of Seneca will be a featured speaker at a Prairie Pastimes Program Jan. 31. She will explain how historians date quilts using clues in the fabric, design, and stitches.

Jones will be at Peabody Carnegie Library from midmorning until the event concludes. She will present a program on quilts, “Unspoken Clues” in the afternoon.

“The presentation is short, taking only about 15 minutes. There are certain characteristics of the quilts that date them to the 1880s and not 1860 or 1900,” she said. “I will explain those characteristics.”

“I plan to bring several quilts from the 1880s,” she said, “as well as a few from the Civil War era and 1900, so people can see the differences.”

Jones will answer questions about the quilts and visit with people interested in the craft.

Jones, a 1975 graduate of Peabody High School, has been quilting since the late 1970s. She has focused her interest and sleuthing skills on traditional designs, the history of quilts, and the people who made them. She is especially interested in hand quilting and hand appliqué work.

One of her quilts, Prairie Salsa, won first place in the bed quilt category at The Appliqué Society show in 2003. The quilt also represented The Applique Society as part of a special exhibit in July in Knoxville, Tenn.

Several other quilts by Jones were juried into quilt shows including the International Quilt Association show and the American Quilter’s Society show.

Jones also is administrator of the “Baltimore on the Prairie” appliqué conference held in September at Mahoney State Park in Ashland, Neb.

The focus of the conference is a particular style of appliqué quilt done in the Baltimore area between 1840 and 1950, using not only floral designs, but commemorative buildings and events of the era as well. A similar conference is held annually in Williamsburg, Va.

Jones and two friends initiated the prairie conference in 2009 as an outlet for Baltimore-style appliqué enthusiasts in the Midwest.

Jones will present information on all of these topics and show rare quilts as part of the self-guided tours at the Peabody Museum complex and library Jan. 31.

For more information, contact Peabody Historical Society board members Carmen South at (620) 983-2512 or Marilyn Jones at (620) 983-2815.

Last modified Jan. 21, 2010

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