My Gift the 1776 Quilt, Heartache, Heritage and Happiness.

The past 10 days   have been rather difficult with the birth of a new baby boy. He developed  major health problems.  It all happened so fast and we  felt so helpless.

I’m a Mum and I wasn’t able to ease the pain for my son and his wife, it was hard.  However Baby Jay had come through his first operation and is recovering in PICU. He has another major heart operation to go through next week. The difficulty is that its 800 kms from home so we have to fly to be with him.

It’s been really hard to concentrate on work, and my emotions have teetered  on the precipice trying to maintain the balance.

Nothing is certain in this life I can assure you.

I promised in my last blog that I would write about a quilt.

The 1776, Heartache, Heritage and Happiness Quilt.

I wrote a book about the journey of this quilt some time ago and the book continues to sell as a history book.

1776, Heartache, Heritage and Happiness.

It was long, full of history, mystery and one would say a little madness. It was a compulsive and an amazing journey.

The Journey has now reached a fork in the road. No longer will the quilt be put in secure storage in my house.  No longer will it travel with me. (The size and value of the quilt made it difficult to travel with)

This is my Quilt, 1776, Heartache, Heritage and Happiness. I made it some time ago and it is a re-production of a quilt made originally in 1776 in Germany.


I re-created it from an 8″ photo I found in a book. It’s a quilt made by the inlay method of appliqué and made by soldiers probably around 1776. The quilt went on to win BOS in Houston and was a personal journey for me.

My book, of the same name, had a number of quilts taken from the same pattern. I had the help of about 15 people to assist by designing and making their own quilt from the patterns in the book and we feature them all.

One such lady was Jan Munzberg a dear friend of mine.

It just happens that Jan and her Husband David were going to Germany to an area close to the place where the original quilt resided. Bautzen.

Jan decided she should take one of my books to present to the museum and it was a major event getting it to her in the short time I had home in June. They made time in their busy schedule to come up home and pick up a book to take with them

I was overseas when they sent a series of messages….

“Hi Pam
Tomorrow……. BAUTZEN!!! We are very excited. Will set out early in morning from Dresden where we are for 3 days. Will spend all day and plan to deliver book. Have shown it to friends along the way and have also read parts of it again myself. It is so touching and sooo well done. I feel proud to be your friend. David and I will deliver book with pride. Stay tuned.
Xx jan and David sends love too.”

On the way…..

“Bright sunny day and we will Be in Bautzen in 40 min
Xx J andD”

A hour later……

“We are and we are in love with Bautzen. Gorgeous day, only out second since leaving home Have to wait for an hour for Stadt museum to open. Xx

“It is 9.34 and we have coffee while we see the town getting ready for the day. David spoke to man at library about his Wendish forebearers We see him after 12 noon. Will be at museum when it opens at 10.
David said,’this is going to be a good day!’Xx j”

We’re in Bautzen”

“We’re too early the Museum is closed”

So they (Jan and David, but Jan mainly) chatted to everyone about the book. The man in the cafe, two young Morman men and passers by.

So you can imagine, my mind was wandering a little as I was teaching…

Then I didn’t hear from them for two days …. I was getting a little worried that things had gone wrong

We made the pilgrimage to Bautzen. We took the train from Dresden with gold envelope in hand. Arrived at 8.30am and waited for the museum to open. On entry we were told the quilt was not there because it was on exhibition somewhere else. We were having language problems and asked to speak to someone with English. A young woman, a grad in art restoration who was filling in for someone on leave, understood our mission. She said the quilt was in the building but stored and that it would take several strong people to get it out of storage. Jan offered my services. We then presented your book at which time the non English speaking receptionist pulled out from under the counter a substantial book about the history of quilts in this area written in English & German. I looked at the extensive bibliography and sure enough there was your book listed. We bought a copy and immediately posted it home.
As we worked our way through the museum which is just excellent since its restoration, the young woman approached us and announced that the quilt was ready for us to look at! She had it brought out of storage and unrolled on the floor. We were very happy. We loved Bautzen and especially this experience.
David in Berlin“

“Oh Pam…. We experienced all of the above during our day in Bautzen. The heartache was when we thought we would not get to see the quilt. We must have looked very sad and also we were very fortunate to have struck Martina who was very brave and very persistent. She was a gift to us. The director of the museum was not in so the presentation was to Martina who assured is that it would be placed in the museum library and that she would read it. In the end I think she was as involved in the project as we were.

The happiness was being in the presence of the quilt that has meant so much to you. I felt very emotional. I had a magnifying glass in my bum bag so both Martina and I studied the quilt. It appears that the pieces were not appliquéd on top but that the space where they were placed was cut out. Perhaps u covered that in your book but now I do not have the book. I feel as if I have left a friend behind. I showed it to so many people along the way… Both friends and strangers.

And the heritage came from touring the exceptional museum telling the fascinating history of the town. Complete with labels in English.

Thank you so much for giving us this opportunity. This day in Bautzen will live in both of our memories forever. Thank you my friend.
Xxxxxxxxxx. Jan”

Its been on a long journey this quilt. A few years ago I decided to donate it to the International Quilt Study Centre and Museum

I visited the museum and I mentioned I would like to donate the quilt. They were a little hesitant to begin with I think. After a few meetings I finally had my head around the fact that this was the best place for it to be.

It took a few more years and at Houston this year I handed over my precious quilt.

Hi Pam,

Leslie and I are settling in after our return from Houston, and I just wanted to let you know that your lovely quilt, The 1776 Quilt: Heartache, Heritage and Happiness, did very well on its journey to Nebraska. It is now safely housed in our Isolation room, where new pieces rest for two weeks. After isolation, we will accession the quilt and issue a Deed of Gift for your signature. The Deed will include the quilt’s unique identifying number, so you’ll have that for your records as well. Please call or write if you have any questions or concerns.

And, I want to assure you that the quilt is always available to you and your family. We will be happy to pull it for any visit you make to Nebraska – and I hope you have an opportunity to visit very soon!

The quilt is simply amazing – such an incredibly beautiful piece with exquisite workmanship. It truly is an outstanding gem in the Center’s collection.

Thank you so much, Pam!


Carolyn Ducey, Ph.D.
Curator of Collections
International Quilt Study Center & Museum
Quilt House, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
1523 N. 33rd St.
Lincoln, NE 68503

So there we are my quilt is there now for you all to see.


9 Comments Add yours

  1. Alessandra Rocco says:

    What a beautiful and moving post! You are a fantastically sensitive and gifted person! A superb role model!

  2. Prayers for your family. Let the tears flow, sometimes you just have too. As women we are always trying to be the strong ones. I’m Looking forward to what inspires you next.
    I’ve enjoyed my copy of your book and I’m glad I found your blog.

  3. Lynda says:

    Prayers for your sweet and dear grandchild and family. Fantastic quilt, thanks for sharing it with the world.

  4. Robin Love Lehr says:

    Can’t wait to get to Lincoln & see your amazing quilt. (I live in Ne.) Met you in Oct. 2014 on the quilters cruise with Jim West. Your class was the highlight of the trip for me! Hope to get your book ordered.
    Thinking of you & your family as you go through this trying time with baby Jay. Prayers.

  5. Oh, wow! So happy this fabulous quilt will be living at the IQSCM! Can’t wait to see it on display! Thank you, thank you, Pam!

  6. Jenny Raymond says:

    Hi Pam, Laroyce Coy in Houston sent me an email with your blog. I pray that your grandson is doing well, I can only imagine how your hearts are aching.
    I live in central Nebraska and happy to hear your fabulous quilt is being house there.
    I find it amazing that you made a quilt so dear to the heart of Americans. I will order the book.
    Best wishes & love to a fellow JPP WINNER.
    Jenny Raymond
    Gothenburg, NE

    1. Pam Holland says:

      Jenny, thank you so much It was a hard decision, but now I feel that the quilt has completed it role in my hands, now its ready to be shared in a different way.

  7. Jean says:

    Pam, Oh how amazing & what a wonderful story. Thank you for sharing it with us.

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