“I’ve lived nine lives,” Marguerite Ickis once said, “and I’ve loved every one of them.”- botanist, teacher, administrator, author, quilt maker, editor, restaurant manager, researcher, and, finally, in retirement, artist.
Taught to quilt by her mother and Quaker grandmother, Marguerite helped provide batting for quilts with wool produced on the family farm. She referred to her childhood in the early 1900s as “the golden age for this craft” and she relished the social exchanges quilting brought into her life, with the quilting bees held on the farm and in neighboring communities.
From 1940 to 1960 Marguerite authored an astonishing number of books on various arts and crafts topics, as well as the book that established her as an authority on quilt making– The Standard Book of Quilt Making and Collecting, which was published in 1949. Reprinted in a paperback edition in 1959 by Dover Publishing Company, it has been one of the publisher’s best-selling books for more than forty years. The book was designed to provide an “understandable guide for the beginner” and to give the experienced quilter a resource for quilt designs and techniques. Illustrated with more than one hundred quilts and patterns, the book includes forty full-size patterns with complete instructions.
Marguerite passed away in August of 1980. A memorial fund was established in her name for a recreation room at the Senior Citizens’ Center in Dennis, Massachusetts, an appropriate dedication to an individual whose life was devoted to teaching others the enjoyment and importance of pursuing traditional arts and crafts.
Photo courtesy of Friends of Dennis Senior Citizens, Inc., Dennis, Massachusetts
“There is both meaning and memory in a fine quilt, and there can be both history and heritage… The story of the quilt is the record of the human family.”
The Standard Book of Quilt Making and Collecting (1949), p.253