Nancy Bender, left, and Gail Bonath, right, members of the Grinnell Chapter Daughters of the American Revolution, display Bender’s hand-quilted quilt, which won second place in a national DAR competition. (Photograph by Michael R. Stewart)
Nancy Bender, a member of the Grinnell Chapter National Society Daughters of the American Revolution (NSDAR), has won second place in the National Society’s American Heritage contest in the category Fiber Arts: Hand-Quilted Quilt.
The American Heritage Committee of NSDAR has an annual contest in which it awards 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners in a variety of categories. The purpose of the contest is to preserve American heritage in the fields of art and sculpture, crafts, fiber arts, literature, drama, and music. Fiber Arts has 12 categories including hand-quilted quilts. No machine-quilting is allowed in this category.
Bender’s quilt pattern, which dates from the late 1800s, is “Star within a Star.” It is made entirely of cotton fabrics and thread which were in her “stash.” The only newly purchased fabric was the green seen in the border and the diamonds between the stars. Many of the other fabrics used were reproductions of the shirting fabrics which were used in early quilts. The batting, which is 100 percent wool, allows the hand stitching of the quilting to stand out.
“Star within a Star” was constructed by cutting two-inch strips of fabric and then cutting that strip at a 60 degree angle. The resulting diamond shapes were sewn together to make the double six-pointed star. They were then assembled in rows and the green diamonds were inserted by hand piecing. The stars were quilted ‘in the ditch’ and the border quilting is clamshell.
A quilter with more than 40 years of experience, Bender worked on this quilt for approximately three years while also making many smaller quilts. Bender previously won the NSDAR national first place award in hand-quilted quilts in 2020.