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Historic quilt donated to Thomson-Hood Veterans Center

By Maxine Koss

Member of the Piecable Friends Guilt Guild in Danville 

Some quilts tell a story, and some quilts are a story. This blue work embroidered military quilt has both.

The printed penny squares depicting WW2 were bought by Josephine Phillipson of Spokane, Washington to make into a quilt that would honor her three sons who were serving in different branches of the armed services in different parts of the world.

Her eldest son, Johnny, served in France. The next son, Orville, was in the Pacific, and her youngest son, Wally, was in Africa.

As history would record, she, like so many women, were doing their part for the war effort. Housing was tight, causing her daughter-in-law with her two babies to move in with Josephine, giving her little time to spare to work on this project. Then, in 1980 Josephine gave the blocks to her granddaughter to finish as she also was a quilter.

Unfortunately, this project was laid aside again until 2014 when Elaine (Phillipson) Mahaffey found them.

She was not an embroiderer, but she showed them to her Pieceable Friends Quilt Guild members, (of Danville, KY) who were.

Some members took to finishing the blocks. A guild member, Maxine Koss used the Hunter’s star in the sashing to set the quilt and finished the binding. When a discussion occurred on where this quilt should be hung everyone was in agreement that it belonged where veterans could enjoy it. Hence Thomson-Hood Veterans’ Home in Wilmore.

These blocks record military history, as well as social trends for women at home. Quilting was a handcraft for them to honor those who served. Buying the blocks was a way of supporting the war effort.

Some of the blocks have soldiers in both WW1 and WWll uniforms. Just as young men wanted to join the military after 9/11 and uniforms were not available; this had also happened after Pearl Harbor with enlisting men. 

The remaining mystery of these penny squares is that no information could be found about the company who printed these; what did they cost; were they a fundraiser by a group. Military. Harmony Star was printed on the selvage, but Googling or visits with quilt museums curators has not solved this mystery.

This blue work quilt has been beautifully hung, and much appreciation is extended from those who will view and enjoy all it will represent, quilting and military history, together.