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April 20, 2009: A Life in Extraordinary Stitches

Yesterday my husband Mark and I made a quick trip over to Lincoln, Nebraska. Just three hours from Winterset, we were in town in time for lunch. After fortification at Lazlo's, one of the many excellent restaurants in the classic Midwestern college town, we headed for our true destination, the International Quilt Study Center & Museum, on the edge of the University of Nebraska East Campus.

Fans of Grace McCance Snyder, "the quilt lady of Nebraska," Mark and I were both eager to check out the recently-opened exhibit of her quilts at IQSC.

The story of Grace's life, No Time on My Hands, is a must-read for every American. As a child on the family's ranch in the Sand Hills, Grace had three dreams—to marry a cowboy, to make the most beautiful quilts in the world, and to look down on a cloud. Wed at 21 to handsome rancher Bert Snyder (aka Pinnacle Jake), Grace was by then already an accomplished piecer of patchwork. She created quilts throughout her life, hanging up her needle only when weakening eyesight compromised her standards.

Grace looked down upon a cloud many times, since her national fame as a quilter demanded her presence in faraway places. With amazing recall, and a great sense of humor, she wrote her autobiography at age 80 via her daughter Nellie, then lived another two decades, dying at 100 like Mark Twain.

At the museum, we paid homage to "Flower Basket Petit Point," Grace's masterpiece of over 85,000 tiny pieces, and to the equally incredible "Mosaic," comprised of thousands of hand-stitched hexagons. Also on display were baby quilts Grace made for her grandchildren, other family pieces not part of her well-known exhibition work, and a pair of Bert's cowboy boots.

I'm off to New York to spend a few days with my daughter Hannah. Grace was in the Big Apple herself in 1950 when four of her quilts were displayed at a Women's International Exhibition.

Today's Fortune Cookie Fortune:
You will experience hero worship.


Posted on Tuesday, April 21, 2009 by Registered CommenterMarianne Fons | Comments2 Comments | References2 References

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Reader Comments (2)

Oh goodness!!! This will be a must-read for me! I'm going to Omaha next weekend...not too far from Lincoln...perhaps worth extending the trip!

April 23, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKim

"No time on my hands" is one of my favorite books! I thought of Grace flying over the sand dunes just last week. Maybe it is time for me to reread that book.....

April 29, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDonna Lever

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