ILLINOIS STATE MUSEUM
Quilts by Bertha Stenge
Hand-pieced cotton, trapunto quilting
Collection of Jean Wishnick
In the 1930s when the overlapping circles of the Double Wedding Ring quilt pattern were gaining popularity, Bertha Stenge created this elegant but understated design inspired by her own daughter's engagement ring. She chose just three colors and devised a pieced, six-pointed, feathered-star block pattern. The stars shared points when placed side by side creating the illusion of overlapping rings. Bertha Stenge's quilts with trapunto caught the attention of women's magazine editors. The November 1940 issue of Ladies' Home Journal featured Bertha Stenge's quilts: Rachel's Wreath (1935), Iva's Pin Cushion (1936), and Ruth's Ring (1937). The editors described the quilts as "modern-looking in their restraint, the pattern of their quilting and the pastel shades of the appliqué motifs." Readers could order the patterns and make Bertha Stenge quilts themselves. The superior skill needed to complete her quilts may explain why so few quilters have attempted her designs.
Click here to see a detail of the Ruth's Ring quilt.
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Contact Janice Tauer Wass for permission to reproduce any materials on this page.
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© Illinois State Museum -- 30-December-98