It is unknown how many hours of planning went in the creation of the mosaic Manitoba 150 quilt finally revealed over two years after the original reveal date of May 2020, when the Quilt Show is held each year in Morden.   

Former President of the Barnswallow Quilt Guild (BQG), Allison Halstead talked about the planning of the mosaic quilt to represent the project that began over three years ago. 

"We brainstormed what would be key things to represent the province, that was our first step. We came up with a huge list, and then it was, 'How big do we want to make the wall hanging?' And then it was, 'What's realistic in a number of blocks and number of people that we might expect would be willing to participate?" 

The planning committee enlisted 23 quilters to take part in the creation of this masterpiece to work independently or together to finish 24 blocks. 

Halstead described what it was like after the creation of the mosaic quilt was halted midway through the project, right before the 2020 quilt show.  

"It was heartbreaking actually when we had to stop at the beginning, but for the first quilt show that was cancelled. It was very hard to get back into it. We'd worked as hard as we could, but we did not have all of the blocks completed. There were two of them that we had to finish as a planning group, and we had only just started sort of pinning them into a layout on the quilt back, and that's when we had to stop."   

There were a couple more interruptions, each time pausing their work until this Spring when the final work could be completed. 

Former President of the Barnswallow Quilt Guild Allison HalsteadFormer President of the Barnswallow Quilt Guild Allison Halstead

In spite of the challenges of the pandemic, the work was distributed and Halstead shared what happened in the end. 

"Literally, they got a very basic sketch of an idea and a description of what it was supposed to be, and then some paint chips for colors and go away, and do it your style, you interpret this. So, some people machine pieced, some people applicate, some people embroidered, some people did machine embroidery, some people strip piecing, some people painted or colored. Everybody turned it into their own. We had no idea what was going to come back, truly, and yet it all works." 

Although there were some surprises in interpretation and a loss in consistency in what piecing it together would entail, adjustments were made, and Halstead remarked it turned out better than she had imagined. 

She shared some of the images people will connect with when going to the Morden Library to see the work of art for themselves. 

"For me, I think what sort of a bittersweet is the actual moving of the Sayisi Dene back in 1956, I found a picture online, an archive picture, that has been turned into a block. We also have Manitoba tree, its bird, its fossil, and its fish on there, the Manitoba dam, and then Hudson Bay, the belugas." 

The quilt is permanently hanging on the wall in the library, with artist credit and descriptions of each block to be added at a later date, for people to enjoy and connect with not only Manitoba but with the Barnswallow Quilters who collaborated and persevered to reflect Manitoba's 150th Anniversary. 

The finished quilt hanging on the wall.Barnswallow Quilt Guild Manitoba 150 Quilt is permanently hung in the South Central Regional Library in Morden.