April 5, 2015

The Quilts of Margaret Lupton Lancaster

One of Margaret "Margie" Helen Lupton Lancaster's first memories of a quilt is from the day in 1933 when she appeared at the age of three in a performance at the Handley High School Auditorium in Winchester, Virginia  The show, which was arranged as a benefit for the Civic League Milk Fund, included the reenactment of historical scenes.  Members of the Hopewell Monthly Meeting dressed in the clothing of their ancestors.  Margie - a lifelong member of the Religious Society of Friends - remembers peaking out under the curtain before it was raised for the show to begin.  She also recalls being dragged back to her spot underneath the quilt frame!

Members of the Hopewell Monthly Meeting in a benefit performance for the
Civic League Milk Fund, 1933.  Photograph courtesy of Barbara Suhay.
At the age of eighty-five, Margie still lives in her own home where we recently visited with her about quilts (among other things).  She remembers her mother quilting, along with doing a lot of crochet, but Margie herself did not really take up needle and thread until after retirement and the urging of a cousin.  Upon doing so, she chose to adapt patterns traced from books and magazines according to her own concepts.
Two of her quilts were included in an exhibit of Quaker Quilts at the Winchester-Frederick County Historical Society, as well as in a recent exhibit titled "Quilts and Their Stories" at the Barns of Rose Hill, Berryville, Virginia.
"The Big Bang, 1997" and "Bits of Nature, 2001".  Quilts made by Margaret Lupton
Lancaster.  Exhibited in "Quilts and Their Stories," the Barns of Rose Hill,
Berryville, VA, 2015.
"The Big Bang" measures 85.5 X 86.5 inches.  It is mostly hand sewn.  The star patterns came from the patterns book "Almost Amish Sampler" edited by Susan Ramey Cleveland and published by Oxmoor House, Inc.  Margie commented that she loved how so many different patterns could come together in a harmonious way.  On her label, she wrote that the "edge spikes and corner comets" were her own variations of design.
The "Bits of Nature" quilt measures 84 X 86 inches.  Margie refers to it as her "Abram's Delight Quilt."  She worked for many years as a docent at the Abram's Delight Museum of the Winchester-Frederick County Historical Society.
Abram's Delight Museum, Winchester, Virginia.  Photograph courtesy of the
Winchester-Frederick County Historical Society.
Abram's Delight Museum holds a deep place in Margaret's heart as she is a direct descendant of the Abraham Hollingsworth for whom the museum is named.  Her days in the house and in the surrounding grounds were also the inspiration for "Bits of Nature."
Tracing images she found in books and magazines to create patterns, she assembled blocks that represented the flowers and wildlife she encountered at the museum.  These included "Blackie the snake" who made more than one appearance in the cellar kitchen of the historical house museum, much to the dismay of some of the staff!
So, to anyone who is not sure what to do with themselves once they reach their late sixties (when Margie made the first of these two quilts), we say - learn to quilt!  We send you our best wishes during this period of springtime renewal and to those who celebrate, Happy Easter!
Quilt block photographs by Mary Holton Robare.
For some history of the Abram's Delight Museum, Winchester-Frederick County Historical Society, Winchester, Virginia, see: http://www.winchesterhistory.org/abrams_delight.htm.
Robare, Mary Holton.  Quaker Quilts: Snapshots of an Exhibition.  Winchester, VA: Hillside Studios, 2014.

(c) Lynda Salter Chenoweth and Mary Holton Robare, 2015.


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