Callie Hollingshead’s Door Prize Quilt and It’s Fate by (3 Stories)

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Callie Hollingshead’s Door Prize Quilt and It’s Fate

A church door prize quilt from the 1950s gets a new life in the 1990s.

My mother won a quilt as a door prize at the church bazaar in the 1950s, but it was tucked away and never used until 40 years later. My parents Stephen W. Stockseth and Emmeline Kay Bittle Stockseth moved to El Monte, California from Inglewood in 1956 where I started my sophomore year at the high school across the street. We lived on Utah Avenue and attended the El Monte Ward of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints right on our corner. I remember Callie Hollingshead being in that ward (congregation) but I didn’t really know her, and I remember assuming at the time that she must be a hundred years old.

Then many years later in the 1980s, my parents moved to Orem, Utah. I lived in nearby Provo at the time, and in 1991, I discovered a quilt in the back of my mother’s cupboard, a quilt she had never used. It was colorful and with quite a random selection of fabrics. She told me it had been made by Callie Hollingshead in the 1950s. A neighbor Marjorie Ord had worked as a book keeper at a clothing factory in Los Angeles at that time and would bring bags of cut scraps to Callie for her quilt making. They were the wild and crazy prints of the 1960s and 1970s mixed with older fabrics in no real coordinated design. Perhaps it will shock some people that I cut the quilt up and made two jackets from it, one for me and one for my mother. We wanted to give the quilt a life and have it be seen.

I have received compliments wherever I have worn the unique jacket. I lined and bound mine in black and Mother lined and bound hers in pink. We made button loops of bias tape and used random giant buttons from her stash. My mother made a label, typed on white cotton fabric and sealed with clear nail polish that I sewed inside the jacket. The label said,

“This jacket was once a quilt all hand-stitched and quilted by Octave Callie Hollingshead in the 1950s. Callie donated it to the El Monte, California Ward Relief Society to be given as a door prize at the Relief Society Anniversary party. Kay Stockseth had the lucky number. The quilt was hidden away in a closet and cherished for almost 40 years. It was cut and made into a jacket by Jean Marshall in 1991.”

I looked up Callie Hollingshead on FamilySearch and found her and her husband and children. I learned that she was born in Tennessee in 1879 and grew up there so I suspect she learned to quilt at an early age. I realize now that she was not a hundred years old in the 1950s at all. She would have been in her 70s. I put this story and a photo of the jacket on her memory page on FamilySearch. I hope someday one of her descendants will see a glimpse Callie’s quilt.


Jean Marshall February 3, 2022.

Profile photo of babettesfeast babettesfeast
I have played with fabric since I learned at age 8 to sew on my mother's Singer Featherweight, and I have written poems and memories for my own pleasure, as well some pieces for the local newspapers and some magazines. I am very interested in Family History-- tracking my father's Norwegian family tree. I really enjoy the Retrospect site an Sun Magazine as well.

Tags: quilt, door prize, jacket
Characterizations: moving, well written


  1. Suzy says:

    Welcome to Retrospect! This is a lovely story about winning a quilt and then repurposing it 40 years later. The jacket you show us is absolutely stunning! It should remind us that sometimes the prize you didn’t think you wanted turns out to be the best gift.

    By the way, I got rid of the line breaks on some of your paragraphs so that they would read more smoothly. Hope that was okay. I didn’t do it on the paragraph that quotes what the label says, because I thought you might have been reproducing the lines as they appeared on the label.

  2. What a wonderful story Jean and what a beautiful jacket!
    Welcome to Retro!

  3. Marian says:

    What a spectacular jacket! I am so glad that the quilt gets more views in this form. My mother is a textile designer and my stepdaughter is a quilter, so anything with fabric is really fascinating. And to think the quilt was won in an auction!

  4. Betsy Pfau says:

    This is a fascinating story and your jacket is gorgeous! How wonderful that you and your mother had the skill to repurpose the quilt after all that time. So much better than to let it languish in the back of the cupboard.

    I also admire the fact that you looked up Callie Hollingshead’s ancestry. Perhaps one of her descendants will find this information and see that her quilt still has life. Wouldn’t that be great?

  5. Khati Hendry says:

    Thanks for this wonderful story about a real treasure that found new ways to be appreciated. That quilt carries lots of history with it, and I’m glad you were able to research the women who made it a bit. Maybe the FamilySearch will reveal even more. The jacket is indeed lovely, and I am impressed by your seamstress skills. I was at a quilt show in Richmond CA last month, and the artistry and colors were fantastic. Your crazy quilt would have fit right in.

  6. Laurie Levy says:

    What a wonderful idea to have the quilt made into jackets. This way, many people have the pleasure of seeing your mother’s prize. It looks quite beautiful. Welcome to Retrospect!

  7. This is the sweetest raffle story I have ever heard. And very well told. Also, I am a believer in “repurposing” items. I repurposed the gold wedding band from my first marriage. It’s better than just leaving it in a drawer or tossing it out.

  8. Jim Willis says:

    Hope you keep writing for Retrospect, and welcome to the group! What a wonderful idea to finally create something out of that old quilt to make it even more unique and beautiful! It made me think of a set of golden silk sheets my mother got as a present and wound up making them into curtains and a party dress. You seamstresses are really something.

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