We were recently treated to a special program at our Fiber Arts Guild. A relative of Ernest B. Haight had some quilts of his (and the family) to show us, just before the quilts go to the International Quilt Study Center and Museum in Nebraska. The museum already has several of his quilts, so these will be added to the unique collection. Beginning in 1934, and for over 30 years, Ernest, an Army veteran of World War I, now a farmer, designed and engineered more than 300 quilts. “Engineered” is the correct term, because, as an Engineer, he created new ways to design and piece quilts. Since his hands were “short and stubby,” it was hard for him to hold a needle; therefore, several family members, including his 78-year-old father, helped with the hand quilting. His story was featured in the Feb/Mar issue of Quilters Newsletter. In that issue, he was quoted as saying, “I feel that few people realize that in quilt making there is fascination in feeling the pattern develop under your hands as you sew — a feeling that is hard to describe. After a tiring day on the tractor, I can sit at the sewing machine and in a short time forget my weariness.” Isn’t that great? We were told that in 1934, when he’d studied one of his wife’s quilts, he’d pointed out that one of the corners wasn’t quite right. She said, “Well, if you can do any better, go ahead and try.” That’s when he began his quilting journey, and what an amazing one it was!
This quilt has knitted squares in the middle. It was really amazing to see.
This next one is really pretty.
This one obviously came out of the 70’s.
The article stated that “Ernest’s signature style included original border designs, complex geometric designs, stained-glass effects, stars and bold colors. For one quilt, he looked through a kaleidoscope, sketched what he saw, and translated the sketch into a quilt.” In a day when hand stitching was so valued, he “devised a way to quilt them on the machine using a continuous line of diagonal stitching and also did the binding by machine.” Quilters Newsletter featured an article about this revolutionary method in the March 1971 issue. I’m so thankful this family is willing to share his quilts with the world by donating them to the International Quilt Museum. They will be well protected and preserved in that facility. I think one of the quilts they already have is one he called the “Quilt of a Thousand Prints,” which has 4,500 squares of cotton fabric in it. You can see this remarkable quilt at this link, along with another nice article about Ernest, the amazing quilter.