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Anniversary quilt selling at Holstein celebration, Nov. 9

The quilt, a museum-quality work of art and truly one of a kind, will be sold at the 100th anniversary dinner on Saturday, November 9 in State College.

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. -- The Pennsylvania Holstein Association 100th Anniversary quilt will be sold here on November 9 during the centennial celebration’s evening banquet. The masterpiece by quilters Mary Jane Stoltzfus of Pennwood Farms, Berlin, and Reba Yoder, .. will go to the highest bidder. Might that be you?

The 100th anniversary celebration of the Pennsylvania Holstein Association will take place in State College at the Penn Stater Hotel & Conference Center. Room reservations can be made by contacting the Penn Stater at 814-863-5000. Ticket order forms are available at the PA Holstein website: www.paholsteins.com.

The quilt, a museum-quality work of art that is truly one of a kind, had its origins in the mind Mary Jane. She had been approached about crafting a special edition of her well-known “cow quilts”, which she and her long-time friend, Reba, had been making through the years for different Holstein events. When the idea was first proposed, she didn’t really have a good idea of how to turn the classic cow quilt into something anniversary-worthy, and pondered it for a long time.

While on a trip to Branson, Missouri, Mary Jane saw a completed quilt in a quilt shop called “Times and Seasons”, featuring blocks that represented different months of the year. She purchased the pattern, then returned to the shop the next day to purchase a kit of selected fabrics to complete the quilt top.

“I bought the pattern and kit in 2011 shortly after being asked to make a Holstein cow quilt for the centennial,” she said. “After much thought as to how to adapt it to fit the purpose, I started the 13 patches in September 2012.” The center square represents the 100th anniversary logo, featuring a true-type Holstein within the Pennsylvania state borders, all imposed on a sparkling diamond.

Mary Jane then went about deciding how to change the 13 patches to suit the occasion for which the quilt was being made. “The main change was adding the “black and whites” to each patch and in some cases changing the barns to make them look more like a barn you might see in Pennsylvania,” she said.

Though she had been surrounded by Holstein cows and Holstein magazines most of her life, she said she had never before looked at them so carefully. “I had never looked with such intent before at cow magazines to get the poses I needed, from the heifer sniffing the snowman’s mitten, to the pair of mature cows saluting our American flag in the July patch,” she said.

After Mary Jane completed the design on each patch, a quilting friend volunteered to embellish each scene with ribbon and thread embroidery, which brought out all the quilt’s intricate details, like the tiny flowers in the pastures and the barn windows and doors.

Mary Jane took the quilt to Reba Yoder to be quilted in January 2013. “Reba and I had collaborated on all of the previous cow quilts and it was only fitting that she be the one to hand-quilt this anniversary quilt,” Mary Jane said. “It was completed by mid-February 2013.”

Approximately 140 different fabrics have been used in this quilt, with 34 different homespuns in the log cabin blocks alone. Cows are done in different mediums – basic appliqué, heat set fabric paint, permanent iron-on appliqué, and in one case, a screen printed cow for the February patch. Many different embroidery stitches were done using ribbons and embroidery floss.

“The quilt was done as a labor of love for the Holstein cow that rubbed off from my husband, Harvey, and the fond memories we shared and friends we made over the years attending PHA conventions and shows,” Mary Jane said. “It is indeed a pleasure and a real tribute to years of hard work gone by; to see our four sons and their families continue down a similar path.”

A banner featuring a photograph of the quilt, and the individual squares, made the rounds to the PHA district championship shows this summer and the All-American Dairy Show in September. While photos cannot do it justice, the banner allows Holstein enthusiasts a chance to see this beautiful work of art before it is officially unveiled at the 100th anniversary celebration.