Events, Museum

3. First Day of School Dress

On Sunday, July 17 the museum hosted “Quilt Walk”, an indoor / outdoor exhibit that included heritage quilts from the CMMM collections and more recent items created by local crafters. For those of you who weren’t able to attend, we’d like to show you, over the next week or so, the beautiful handiwork we had on display.

From CMMM, 2012-051:

Jessie Rutley Vance‘s (1875 – 1970) mother, Mary (MacMillan) Rutley, carded, spun and dyed the wool from their own sheep in Ontario. She wove a ‘first day of school dress’ for Jessie with the fabric (1881 ca). Later she re-used the dress for the checked background of this quilt. Jessie and her husband, Norman Vance Sr. came to Saskatchewan from Ontario in 1908 with four of her eight children.

As Jessie was the eldest, and it was made from her dress, this keepsake was given to Jessie for use on the Vance farm near Baldwinton. Jessie kept it on her bed for many years to keep warm from the cold winter nights.

The ‘M’ on the back of the quilt identifies Mary as the crafter.

Crafted by Mary Rutley 1881 ca.


Excerpt from “Timeline of Quilting History” compiled and written by the Clayton McLain Memorial Museum:

The women gathered together all the quilts, blankets and tied comforters they could either make or acquire. While very special quilts were packed in a trunk or used to wrap precious china, everyday quilts were left out for bedding. It wasn’t long before women found this bedding to be necessary for many other uses. A folded quilt offered a little padding on the wagon seat for the person driving the oxen or anyone riding over the long rough trail. When winds rose up and screamed across the dusty plains blankets, quilts and comforters were used to cover the cracks and any other openings that let the choking dust inside the wagon.

– Clayton McLain Memorial Museum (all rights reserved)

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