The Steel Quilters is a small quilt group of four women who work for the United States Steel Research and TechnologyCenter located in Monroeville, PA. The group consists of;
Kathy Crawford, Ford City, PA, quilting for 28 years
Dorothy Simback, Lower Burrell, PA, quilting for 10 years
Jian Li, Murrysville, PA, quilting for 2 years
Amber Dalley, originally from Ogden, Utah, new to quilting but experienced at sewing
The quilt is a series of 6 quilts, four of which create the New York City skyline, flanked by panels on each side; one topped with doves for the victims of the four flights, and one adorned with an eagle for the Pentagon.
Made to be a tribute to those who were lost on September 11th, 2001
Idea of a quilt formed when a co-worker's son was lost in the World Trade Center. Within days, the idea of the skyline was decided upon and the website was formed.
The quilt style is called a watercolor quilt. In this style a picture is created using the colors in teh blocks. The style was chosen by Jian Li. The skyline proposal was an inspiration of Kathy Crawford while watching news of the tragedy on television and drinking tea from a souvenir cup showing New York City. After searching through photos she had taken from a weekend vacation there the previous year, she found a photograph of the skyline from Staten Island. This was used as a guideline for the pattern of the quilt.
The website requested those interested in contributing to the quilt to make a 3 1/2 inch quilt square (technique of their choosing), and to contact one of the group for a victim's name to be placed on the block and mailed to Crawford's home.
At one point, 250 emails were received in one day.
The quilt then symbolized an effort of individuals wishing to contribute in their own way to a cause and also aided their overwhelming need to express their emotions into something that could be "good" out of such a terrible tragedy.
Due to the availability of names the compilation of a list was extremely challenging and tracking names of those who were lost was very difficul. We tried to do the best that we could.
Many block contributors researched the person to whom they were paying tribute. Many cried while making their blocks, feeling close to someone that they had never met but with whom now they have a bond. Many wrote emails and letters accompanying their blocks, expressing their gratefulness for this project for helping them to get through emotions which many of us have never experienced before.
Contributors supplied materials and services to help bring the quilt to fruition.
Envelopes of quilt blocks were delivered every day, even through the anthrax scare.
Some donors only made one block, while others made many. One husband and wife were so touched that they made over 300 blocks. They also supplied the title and grid characters. One couple drove from Michigan to help us lay out the blocks and start to sew them together.
A giant piece of graph paper was made using a board drilled with holes to accommodate markers. This was a great time saving idea thought of by some of our co-workers. The lines of the grid were drawn, and squares were colored to show the design of the buildings.
It took 12 women 8 hours each, 2 days to lay out all the quilt blocks by color on the huge grid. Squares were taped down to enable the huge sections to travel to quilt clubs to be sewn together. It took over 250 hours to stitch the quilt together.
Upon completion of a top of a quilt section, each name was read and the corresponding grid number was recorded. Books will be supplied with the quilt so that, individual names can be easily located within the quilt.
Quilts will be sent out in June for machine quilting, and the entire project is expected to be finished in July 2002.
We wish to thank those who made blocks, donated services, and were sincerely interested in our project and kept us going.
50 states contributed blocks
4 countries - Canada, Spain, Holland, and Australia
3466 blocks the size of a post-it note, put together to make a quilt large enough to fill the side of a tractor-trailer.
Received 2168 emails and still counting
Website had 10,000 hits by the time that all the names were given away.
Approximately 1000 people in some way were involved in this project
510 block makers
27 ladies sewed in some way on the quilts
All told, over 8500 hours of labor are in this quilt
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