Quilt pieced by unknown Arkansas woman,
quilted by Alba Loulee Spires Ward (1905-1983)
A man brought this quilt in to be documented in the Oregon project last year. Alba Ward, Matthew's grandmother, was born in Damascus, Arkansas. When five her family moved to Plummerville, Arkansas. Grandmother remained friends with an African-American girl from Damascus (her name unknown). About 1930 Alba, her husband and two-year old Maxene moved to the northwest to work in the apple orchards, according to Maxene's obituary. Censuses find them in Washington, Idaho and eventually in Oregon.
Matthew recalled his grandparents drove home to Arkansas annually, buying quilt tops from the unnamed friend "for about $40 each." Alba then quilted the tops. The unnamed friend was a domestic worker in Damascus and the family recalled that she was "blind"---visually impaired to some degree.
Some of the fabric is printed; the documenters noted a double pink print and indicated recycled tobacco sacks had been used. The pattern with its curved handles was a popular design. Perhaps the quiltmaker's inspiration was the Ladies Art Company pattern "Tulip in Vase."
Matthew recalled that Alba's daughter, his mother Maxene Ward Stringer (1928-2015), had about 60 quilts. He inherited six, which he brought to be recorded. The quilt at the top of the page looks to be the oldest, perhaps one of the first the women cooperated on, pieced in the 1920s.
This one also looks to have been pieced for fabrics from
the 1940-1960 years.
Alba gave it to Matthew as a birthday present in 1975
There were three diamond stars---this one perhaps pieced in the 1960-1980's
He had two of these red sashed stars, both with polyester fabrics,
so we'd guess 1965-1980. In all three stars the piecer solved the quilt size
problem by using half blocks along the edge.