Crazy Quilt

Fashioned 114 Years Ago In 1897


Rosa Mae (Tollefsrude) Christeson

My maternal grandmother was born May 24, 1873 in Grant Township, Pocahontas, Iowa, the oldest of four children born to Elisha and Sara (Rostad) Tollefsrude. On March 8, 1893 she married Erick Ole Christeson at Rusk, Iowa located in Grant Township, Pocahontas County. My mother, Gladys M. (Christeson) Byro, was born September 24, 1900, the second of five siblings.

The family lived at Rusk, where my Grandfather, 'E-O' Christeson, was owner of the general store, creamery, and postmaster. The community also had a blacksmith, harness and shoe repair and implement store. It is now a ghost town.

My grandmother was always busy with her hands. She did many quilts, some remain in my possession. In earlier days most of the clothes worn were home sewn. Fabric was precious. Most scraps were saved for later use. You will note the smaller pieces of the quilt indicating this practice.

In this quilt there are pieces of my Great-grandmother Sarah's wedding dress--a black shiny material. You will also notice the quilt fabric is varied using taffeta, silk and other firmer fabrics. The date, 1897, is plain to see and the initials R and L have significance. "R" represents my grandmother Rose and the "L" is most likely that of the first born child, a daughter LuVerne, born in 1895. The embroidery in the quilt seems to be freehand designs. There is a piece embroidered with a red rose. Most likely added as a symbol of grandma's name. Notice the fine featherstitch of my grandmother and also some different color thread to blend the pieces. You will also notice the deterioration of some of the silk pieces.

I inherited the quilt from my mother's keepsakes after her death in 1988. It is kept carefully packed for preservation because of its fragile character.

Dorcas (Byro) Dorow

821 Poplar Street

Osage, Iowa