Quilters stitch up state seal

POST FALLS, Idaho – Post Falls Police Chief Cliff Hayes originally considered purchasing a metal or wooden reproduction of Idaho’s state seal to hang above the fireplace in the lobby of the Post Falls Police Department.

“There was nothing to be had close to realistic in expense,” Hayes said. So he got creative.

Hayes called Post Falls resident and quilter Pat Raffee, who volunteered to organize a group of quilters to piece together a state seal quilt.

A team of 15 women spent more than a year crafting the 12-foot-by-12-foot quilt that now hangs in the department’s lobby.

They got rave reviews displaying the quilt at the county fair and now they’re awaiting word on whether it made the cut for a juried quilt show this fall in Seattle.

Hayes said the quilt has also garnered a lot of comments from visitors to the station.

“People are very impressed by the exquisite workmanship,” Hayes said.

When he began researching the history of Idaho’s state seal, Hayes learned it’s the only one in the U.S. designed by a woman. He was so intrigued that he put together brochures on the history of the seal and the designer, Emma Edwards Green. Her design was adopted by the Legislature in 1891.

Quilter Shirley Arthur said she didn’t hesitate to say yes when asked to work on the quilt, completed last summer.

“I love Idaho and I’ve been here since 1966,” the Post Falls woman said. “I’m a quilter. I love quilts. I thought it was a great project.”

The quilters met at the police station. They discussed ways to simplify the design, like making the woman’s dress longer so they wouldn’t have to do her feet and sandals. They decided to let the fabrics do much of the work – using fabric printed with rocks, fruits and vegetables to represent those elements of the design.

Raffee said she hopes the quilt is the first of many to be displayed in local government buildings.

“I wanted to use this opportunity to showcase how beautiful quilts can be,” Raffee said.

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