National Wool Museum
Geelong, Victoria , Australia
Sarah Jane "Sallie" Tindall Coble. Born 16/1/1852 - Death 4/5/1922 & Ottie Maude Coble Bittick. Born 22/10/1891 – Death 15/1/1981.
Pieced Repeat Block
Now 100 years old, this quilt belonged to the donor’s grandfather John William Huffstutter. John was Born in 1898 in a log cabin in the Ozark mountains of Missouri, USA. Tragically, John’s mother died when he was four years old. John said that he could always remember her voice calling his name as he hid under the porch in one of the many thunderstorms that frequent the area with his dog. John was raised by his grandmother and was treated as the youngest to her other children, growing up with his aunties and uncles rather than brothers and sisters.
John began to study engineering at the State University of Iowa before serving in the US Army Engineer Corps in The Great War. He enlisted when he became eligible and served briefly before the Great War ended. He then returned to his engineering studies in Iowa, and shortly after finishing his studies got his first job with Westinghouse in Pittsburgh at age 23. It was when John was leaving for this job that he was given the quilts as a reminder of home from his grandmother Sarah Jane "Sallie" Tindall Coble, and her daughter (John's Aunt) Ottie Maude Coble Bittick.
Widowed at age 78, John took to sleeping in his screen porch under one of these quilts. John remembered one winter in Missouri waking in his log cabin to find snow covering him and his quilt. When he died at age 94, the quilt he used was completely worn out and discarded. This remaining quilt was shipped to Australia, where Carol’s (the donor) immediate family had emigrated in 1970. Opening the box that contained the quilt released a wave of comforting smells, emotions, and a flood of childhood memories. Carol distinctly remembers sleeping under these quilts for afternoon naps at her grandparents' house.
The quilt is 74 x 80 inches (1880 x 2030mm), matching the size of a modern-day king bed. It is made of various four-inch (100mm) squares. These squares are made of old men woollen suits in dark colours of browns and greys. The quilt is layered with a wool backing fabric and a batting lawyer of unknown material, possibly cotton or wool. The quilt is tied together with red wool yarn and the backing fabric is folded over the edge to be used as a binding. Embroidered across the front of the quilt in purple wool yarn is "John Huffstutter", "13 Oct 1921". A small, printed cloth label "HUFFSTUTTER" is pinned on the reverse of the quilt. The quilt is well-worn but in good condition considering its age. The care instructions passed down by word of mouth with the quilt were to "never wash, only air".