After a day of honoring our presidents, it’s time to talk about their first ladies. And what better way to pay tribute to these historic women than through quilting.
Eleanor Burns, self-proclaimed “First Lady of Quilting,” presented not once, but twice, her one woman lecture extravaganza, Tales of the First Ladies at Road to California this year. For two hours, Eleanor had her guests laughing, singing, and acting out fun facts mixed with quilting inspiration. By far, it was the rowdiest quilt presentation of the conference.
Twelve inch blocks created from traditional, antique fabric reproductions made up Eleanor’s “Quilt in a Day,” Tales of First Ladies . The famous women chosen to be represented in the various quilt designs and techniques included Martha Washington, Lucy Hayes, Frances Cleveland, Dolly Madison, Anna Harrison, Mary Lincoln, and Eleanor Roosevelt. Eleanor also shared additional quilts she has collected over the years representing the eras in which the women served.
Eleanor had lots of trivia to share, information on each of the first ladies before they moved to the white house and during their tenure there. Some of our favorite facts included:
Martha Washington- sewed buttons on the soldiers’ uniforms when they were in the battlefield.
Lucy Hayes- nicknamed “Lemonade Lucy” because of the “no alcohol” policy in the White House. She got all the blame for what her husband actually instituted.
Frances Cleveland- was 21 when she became first lady and is best known for opening the White House to the public on Saturdays.
Anna Harrison- her husband won the election but died before they could occupy the White House. Later on, her grandson became President, making him the first of their family to actually live there.
Mary Lincoln– her dresses were made out of 35 yards of fabric!!!
Thank you Eleanor Burns for highlighting, with such charm and showmanship, the women in the white house.