Peeking Under the Covers of a New IMA Exhibit

A show celebrating the greatest quilter of all time, Marie Webster, opened March 4.

Marie Webster is to quilters what Peyton Manning is to Colts fans—the standard by which all others are measured. In fact, she has an advantage over Manning: Her former home in Marion, Indiana, houses the Quilters Hall of Fame. So you can imagine the excitement in the sewing world when the Indianapolis Museum of Art announced A Joy Forever: Marie Webster Quilts, which opens March 4. We asked Heather Givans, the sassy owner of the Mass Ave quilt shop Crimson Tate, to pick six blankets from the show and tell us what she thinks.


Iris (1910)

“Look at all those pieces! It’s really impressive. I assume she started with a hunk of the design and then repeated it over and over. It’s so ornate—to be revered, for sure.”








Bedtime (1912)

“Is it something I’m going to make? Probably not. But the fact that there’s a lot of asymmetry in the center is crazy, outside-the-box quilt design for the time.”






Sunbonnet Lassies

Sunbonnet Lassies (1912)

“We quilters are all familiar with this one. My grandma made me a Sunbonnet Sue quilt. So sometimes, we think of this design as being Grandma’s quilt. But the colors are soft and lovely.”






SunflowerSunflower (1917)

“This one could have been created today. The yellow-and-brown combination has come back around.”







Primrose WreathPrimrose Wreath (1925)

“I look at this and I think, Whoa! That is a lot of work. The fabrics are period-appropriate for the 1920s, so the colors don’t speak to me. But I would love to see how a contemporary quilter might take those design elements and make them current.”






Wreth of RosesWreath of Roses (1930)

“You also see designs like this today, so it’s another classic. Really beautiful and well executed. Look at the quilting—that’s all hand-done. She’s turning all of these pieces under and then attaching them to the top. It’s hard to do.”