Ruth Evans
seamstress designer writer dancer researcher earthling  


More about the quilt

More about the dance

Lowell dance project



Ruth isn't really a quilter. She made two tied, friendship quilts many years ago for sick family members, and she made two actually-quilted quilts more recently as wedding gifts for her children. But she's generally too busy trying to make a living to invest the time. With one major exception.

The Mill Dance quilt was inspired by a neighbor's comment about making a quilt based on their building's atrium. That, plus a huge 1848 dance event at Lowell Manufacturing, and an illustration of turbines from a book called The Run of the Mill by Steve Dunwell. "Mill Dance" took third place in its category, "Wall quilts: mixed technique," at the 2011 Lowell Quilt Festival. The quilt is 100" long by 90 wide."

  "Mill Dance" quilt

"As I had made such active exertions to gain access to the Carpet Mills, I spent most of my time there. My guide first showed me into the building just erected, to enlarge operations in the carpet manufacture. This room I should suppose is 250 feet long by 150 wide. When roofed and floored, the Company gave out invitations for a small dance by candlelight. The company amounted to the pleasant parlor full of 5000, and at one time the band was giving out music for no less than one hundred cotillon sets on the floor at once.

-Now, my dear sir, I do not want to unhinge your steady head by dancing, nor encourage your readers to dance, but we sometimes are compelled to illustrate the good by the bad. And besides, if you can so heartily forgive Martin Van Buren his past sins on slavery, you can forgive anything, and I therefore ask you just to imagine one hundred sets of waltzers flying rapid as cotton jennies, into all the wheelings and contortions, and devious circles to be thought of, all on one floor, with room enough left on the sides and in the spaces for near 5000 spectators. It is an immense room, soon to be appropriated to the more profitable occupancy of power looms."

—Excerpt from "Lowell, a Pleasant Adventure" printed in the Burlington Hawk-eye, Burlington, Iowa, November 23rd, 1848.

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