Moving forward with a new Tradition – Art Quilts

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Quilter, artist, lecturer, author and teacher, Frieda Anderson has done a little bit of everything since she made the jump from fashion design to quilt artist. Nov. 6 the Elgin resident explained her process and offered some tips to others aspiring to "paint" with fabric.

"Mother Nature give us gifts all the time," she told the group of about 60. Most of her work involves machine quilting and is inspired by nature. She even uses her own hand-dyed cottons and silks.

Anderson's objective was to inspire a greater appreciation for art quilts and their role as a gateway to traditional quilting. Toward that end she recommended buying inexpensive color wheels, relying on freezer paper templatess and the use of "school" glue. It is water soluable and will wash off. But most of all, she encouraged quilters in the audience to practice.

"The better you get the more you are going to want to do it – no matter what it is," she said. "There is a need to create a little bit of a wow factor."


The McHenry County Historical Society was presented with a unique quilt for its collection. It features a diamond pattern and signed blocks donated by women from McHenry County … as well as from across the United States and internationally. This unique group connected online and choose a block and meet where they could share or raffle off the blocks.

Bernie Schert’s dear friend, Elaine Oslakovic of Wonder Lake, passed away a year ago. “It was her wish to share all her quilting materials with her good friends. I was fortunate to find these blocks in my possession. With the help of a dear friend who put them together in a lovely pattern – and we had it long-arm top quilted – we are ready to present it to be donated.”

She made blocks each year that were sewn in many raffle quilts done by the Heritage Quilters. After buying many, many tickets for MCHS’ raffle quilt, Oslakovic won the 2013 quilt – Jennie’s Legacy. It is on the wall at her home to this day. It honored the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg and only civilian casualty of that landmark battle – 20 year old Mary Virginia “Jennie” Wade.

In her lifetime she belonged to quilt groups all over the county and in Rockford – even online. The online quilting group did all their quilting on treadle machines and met all over the country. They are known as TOBA, BETA, and TOGA. While many quilters likely have never heard of these groups, the use of non-electric machines to sew these blocks makes them unique.


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