Thursday, September 21, 2023

Another Ohio Garden of Eden Quilt


Sylvia's grapes
And one more connection for a last post this week.

See previous blogposts about Sylvia Queen's quilts and other Garden of Eden quilts:

Those tightly stuffed grapes, likely of wool or mixed wool fabric, in Sylvia Queen's quilt in the Johnson County Museum reminded me of something I'd seen.

And then in the middle of the night (of course) I sat up and said
Olive Bachelor Wells, Spencer Museum.

The grape vine border---the Garden of Eden theme.
And Olive Bachelor Wells lived in Ohio, just a few miles from Sylvia Queen.

Olive Wells's Adam & Eve are "stump work," three-dimensional
 figures stitched to the surface.

As I recall the late Jean Mitchell came across this quilt in Kansas City and suggested that the owner, "the maker's great-grandson's wife," donate it to the Spencer, which she generously did in 1978.

The unusual dark background fabric was intriguing
and that is another design characteristic this Garden of Eden
shares with the Sylvia Queen quilt.

Jean and I spent some enjoyable time examining the Spencer donation. We communicated with Quilt Historian Ricky Clark of Ohio who was analyzing the Ohio Project's findings in Quilts in Community: Ohio's Traditions, published in 1991. 

Rhoda Wells Warner, Painesville Ohio.
 Buffalo & Erie County Historical Society
Each star represents a signer of the Declaration of Independence.

Ricky had noted the Wells Garden of Eden's similarities to a patriotic-themed extravaganza by Rhoda Warner, summarized below by Aimee E. Newell in a footnote in her book A Stitch in Time.

Fading purple stuffed grapes in Rhoda Warner's quilt

These women all lived up by Lake Erie in eastern Ohio in Geauga and Lake Counties in the 1850s, within thirty miles of each other. Similarities in their quilts give us a glimpse of the influence of fair prizes, sharing of techniques and perhaps some professional quiltmakers. 

And a glimpse is all we have.
And that's the last post on the Garden of Eden quilts and the elusive Sylvia Warner Quinn (Queen.)

Rhoda Wells Warner's husband's grave:


  1. Hi Barbara. I received your book, Patchwork Souvenirs of the 1933 World's Fair for my birthday recently. I admire the research you and Merikay did so much! I have a YoYo quilt made by my maternal Grandmother. She submitted it for the 1933 Sears Contest and won an Honorable Mention Ribbon. Unfortunately the ribbon was destroyed in a flood. The quilt itself is well preserved. I would love to show it to you and Merikay if you are interested. I belong to the Quilters Guild of Greater Kansas City. We would like to know if you do trunk shows or Zoom programs for guilds. i saw the program you and Merikay did about the Sears Contest and thought it was sooo interesting. I am hoping you will see this note. Thank you! Betty Jane Krueger

    1. Merikay would love to hear about this. I am not doing programs any more but she is. I'll forward this to her. And we shall see what we can do to document your quilt etc.

  2. I so enjoyed going on this genealogical quilting journey with you. Fabulous research.

  3. All these Garden of Eden quilts are fascinating. I find myself searching for the figures, surprised by the snake, wondering where each maker really did see this and decide to make one. All so similar, certainly they didn't snap a phone picture like we do now. Wish I could talk to each woman. Thanks, Barbara.