Thursday, March 22, 2012

The Handquilted Underhill Tree of Life Whole-Cloth Quilt

The show’s second Viewer’s Choice winner the “Underhill Tree of Life Whole-Cloth Quilt” was made by Jill Meszaros of Cambridge Springs, PA, 25 miles south of Erie and the Great Lakes Seaway Trail Pennsylvania. The dark blue quilt is intricately quilted by hand with a dark blue thread. 

Meszaros says, “I chose to create a whole-cloth quilt to honor my family heritage and the history of quilting and our nation. My fourth great-grandfather, Major David Underhill traveled to Huron County, Ohio, in 1810. In 1812 he reacted to the news that the British and Indians were landing only to learn they were really soldiers in Hull’s army. As I quilted, my husband was away and I imagined what it would have been like in 1812 to wait for him to come home.”

Meszaros, a stay-at-home mother of six, fashioned her design after the Clarke Family Quilt in the book “Massachusetts Quilts” and used fruit, floral and foliate motifs inspired by “Quilts-Masterworks from the American Folk Art Museum.” The quilt’s batting is wool, typical of the 1812 time. She says, “The last stitch went in the I day I shipped the quilt to the show.”

Show manager Lynette Lundy-Beck notes, “This show inspired people to learn more about the War of 1812, its battles, the soldiers and their loved ones, and about the quilters’ own families. This show is indeed a storytelling event that interprets the travel themes for the Great Lakes Seaway Trail in many interesting and personal ways, and that is what makes this quilt show unique among quilt shows and tourism showcases.”


  1. What an honor to have so many people like my quilt enough to vote for it. Thank you!! Thank you!! I really enjoyed researching wholecloth quilt styles for the time period and digging into my family's history. What a great experience this has been!

  2. I live in Lewiston NY where a battle of 1812 was held and the village burned in retaliation for the American burning of a Canadian village across the river. I have learned so much about this "forgotten" war. I'm glad there was a way for quilters to participate!