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Quilt Study Group Highlighted by Spool Cabinets at Kalona Historical Village

Posted: Friday, March 31st, 2017 at 6:25 am
Author: Joe Cerwinske

Quilters and non-quilters alike are invited to the Kalona Historical Village Saturday for the Iowa Illinois Quilt Study Group meeting, which will feature the museum’s spool cabinet collection. Historical Village Director Nancy Roth realizes not everyone is interested in quilts, but she believes the rich history of something as unique as the spool cabinets should draw others to the event. For those that don’t know what a spool cabinet is, Roth explains, “A spool cabinet is a wood cabinet that was given to anybody that purchased a company’s line of thread. This would have been between 1885 and 1915. So if you had a five and dime store, and you called up J.P. Coates and said you wanted to place an order, they would give you a cabinet for free to display all your threads in in your store.”

The collection belongs to Steve Reif of Kalona, who will be giving a detailed lecture about spool cabinets. Reif began collecting and restoring spool cabinets around 25 years ago. Roth is excited for him to share his experiences and knowledge with attendees. Registration for the event will begin at 9 a.m. Saturday, and the cost is $30 per person. The fee includes lunch, the meeting, the lecture, and a private tour of the facilities. For more information, listen to the In Touch with Southeast Iowa interview with Roth at