traditional wonder :: Okan Arts
traditional wonder

traditional wonder


By Patricia Belyea 

LA CONNER WA  Mary Magdalene Petton Williams, the mother of nine, obviously enjoyed the precision and handiwork of quilting. Over two dozen of her quilts fill the first floor of La Conner Quilt & Textile Museum until October 6.

Mary, who lived to be 98, moved to America in 1867 from Germany at the age of seven. She spent the rest of her life living in Illinois—a mid-Western state known for its strong quilting community.

Is Mary a quilting superstar? Yes, for her generation—a time with no rotary cutters or gridded plastic rulers. Her workmanship is top notch and her stitching incredibly fine. Many of her quilts are hand stitched as well as hand quilted.

Mary pieced her quilts with traditional designs. Her stitching shows her innovation. The Tree of Life quilt in the formal parlor and the Feathered Star quilt in the kitchen display different stitching designs in each block. Also, look for hearts in almost every quilt.

Monkey Wrench quilt by Mary Magdalene Petton Williams, c. 1930

The impeccable quilt collection is on loan from the Pallow Family.

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