Society marks 59th season with Museum Opening Gala June 3

Heritage Quilters

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Join the Heritage Quilters each Wednesday morning throughout the year at the Society’s museum at 17618 Washington St. in Union. Quilters of varying levels of experience typically meet from 9:30 a.m. to about noon to work on a raffle quilt that benefits the not-for-profit Historical Society. For more information phone (815) 923-2267 or email info@mchenrycountyhistory.org.

Members of the Gazebo Quilters Guild in Huntley launched a Quilts of Valor program in 2011, following a meeting at the McHenry County Historical Society Museum. Since that time the group of about 50 quilters has presented more than 2,200 patriotic quilts to deserving veterans. If you are a veteran or know of a veteran deserving of quilt, click HERE for an application.

Consider Joining The Heritage Quilters


Quilting is a rewarding hobby

Looking for opportunities to hone your quilting skills? How about the chance to work with others on a common project that perpetrates the quilters’ craft and supports the mission of the Historical Society? Perhaps you enjoy the socialization that quilting in a group provides.

Consider joining the Heritage Quilters each Wednesday morning throughout the year at the Society’s museum at 6422 Main Street in Union.

Quilters of varying levels of experience meet from 9:30 a.m. to about noon to work on a raffle quilt that benefits the not-for-profit Historical Society. Beginners are very welcome. Learn to quilt while making new friends. For more information phone (815) 923-2267 or email at info@mchsonline.org

In times past, quilts were made by women to provide necessary warmth for their families during cold and freezing winters. They were made from scraps and leftovers, and the job could be very boring and tedious.

Continuing a tradition begun back in 1984, quilters, want-to-be quilters and members of the McHenry County Historical Society Heritage Quilters gather at the Society’s museum at 6422 Main Street, Union on Wednesday mornings.

The annual quilt piecing party and pot luck luncheon is held in January of each year.

Quilts designed by this group are queen sized, varied in patterns and include a dedication and date on the back. The Society then sells raffle tickets throughout the year. The drawing takes place on the last Wednesday in October following a well attended quilt program.

A Brief History of Quilting

Many women turned this necessary chore into a creative outlet to break the endless drudgery of 18th and 19th century life.They began cutting their scraps and sewing them into interesting and beautiful patterns, thus creating a more colorful and cheerful environment for their families---especially during the long and dull winters when these beautiful quilts were taken out of their storage trunks and placed atop the beds.

Once the quilt top was pieced, it was placed in a frame and the long but necessary process of quilting the layers together began. Some utilitarian quilts were tied to provide quick warmth. However, the beautiful tops created to brighten the colonial and frontier homes were often quilted with beautiful, elaborate and loving stitches, forming a treasure to be proud of and cherish.

Often family members, friends and neighbors would come to assist the housewife who had a quilt in her frame. This time spent in jointly working on a long and tedious job became a social outlet for the quilters. These informal and friendly acts of kindness developed into what was referred to as a "quilting" and later as a "quilting bee". When word was sent through the community that on a designated day the housewife with a newly stitched quilt top would host a "quilting", all the friends and neighbors brought food and came early.

The large frames could hold a dozen or so quilters who made quick work of such a lengthy job. But the most important aspect of the "quilting" was the opportunity for women to get together and catch up on all the latest news and local happenings. This was a much needed social outlet for women who were often left home alone to care for the children, the farm and the animals while their husbands or fathers went to the nearest town to do the trading. Some quiltings even included the men who would come in the evenings after the chores were done and the frame was then put away and a dance might be held with music being provided by anyone who had an instrument. Thus quilting became a very important part of our heritage. - Nola Thompson

Upcoming events

Museum Opening 2022

Friday, June 3, 2022 - 5:00pm

Vintage Base Ball Match

Saturday, June 11, 2022 - 2:00pm

FREE WEEK for residents of Algonquin

Tuesday, June 14, 2022 - 1:00pm
Wednesday, June 15, 2022 - 1:00pm
Thursday, June 16, 2022 - 1:00pm
Friday, June 17, 2022 - 1:00pm
Tuesday, June 21, 2022 - 1:00pm
Wednesday, June 22, 2022 - 1:00pm
Thursday, June 23, 2022 - 1:00pm
Friday, June 24, 2022 - 1:00pm

FREE WEEK for residents of Algonquin

Saturday, June 18, 2022 - 11:45am
Saturday, June 25, 2022 - 11:45am

35th Annual Heritage Fair

Sunday, July 10, 2022 - 9:00am

Heritage Fair Car Show

Sunday, July 10, 2022 - 9:00am

Free admission for Dorr, Dunham and Richmond Townships

Tuesday, July 12, 2022 - 1:00pm
Wednesday, July 13, 2022 - 1:00pm
Thursday, July 14, 2022 - 1:00pm
Friday, July 15, 2022 - 1:00pm
Tuesday, July 19, 2022 - 1:00pm
Wednesday, July 20, 2022 - 1:00pm
Thursday, July 21, 2022 - 1:00pm
Friday, July 22, 2022 - 1:00pm

Free admission for Dorr, Dunham and Richmond Townships

Saturday, July 16, 2022 - 12:30pm
Saturday, July 23, 2022 - 12:30pm

Vintage Base Ball Match

Saturday, July 30, 2022 - 2:00pm

Free Museum Admission for Spring Grove and Richmond Residents

Tuesday, August 16, 2022 - 1:00pm
Wednesday, August 17, 2022 - 1:00pm
Thursday, August 18, 2022 - 1:00pm
Friday, August 19, 2022 - 1:00pm
Tuesday, August 23, 2022 - 1:00pm
Wednesday, August 24, 2022 - 1:00pm
Thursday, August 25, 2022 - 1:00pm
Friday, August 26, 2022 - 1:00pm

Free Museum Admission for Spring Grove and Richmond Residents

Saturday, August 20, 2022 - 11:00am
Saturday, August 27, 2022 - 11:00am

Free admission for residents of Ringwood and Algonquin Township

Tuesday, September 6, 2022 - 1:00pm
Wednesday, September 7, 2022 - 1:00pm
Thursday, September 8, 2022 - 1:00pm
Friday, September 9, 2022 - 1:00pm
Tuesday, September 13, 2022 - 1:00pm
Wednesday, September 14, 2022 - 1:00pm
Thursday, September 15, 2022 - 1:00pm
Friday, September 16, 2022 - 1:00pm