Exploring the Story Behind Iowa Feed Bags and Quilts

At the beginning of the 20th century, all kinds of necessary products were sold in cotton bags. Flour, rice, seeds, sugar, cornmeal, and resourceful women who lived on farms used this fabric. The ethic was not to waste, not to want.

It didn’t take long for companies selling these products to realize that they could gain a market advantage by dyeing this fabric, first in solid colors and then creating attractive prints. Although most clothing made from feed bags is long gone, this frugal fabric lives on in quilts created in the 1930s and 1940s.

Historian Michael Zahs, who you may remember from the award-winning documentary ‘Saving Brinton’, has an extraordinary collection of feed bag quilts and his collection is on display at the Kalona Historical Society until Tuesday, February 1.

Host Charity Nebbe visited Zahs at the Kalona Historical Society for a tour of the collection.

Later, figure skaters Timothy LeDuc and Ashley Caine-Gribble join Nebbe to discuss being crowned U.S. champions in pair figure skating in January. They will compete in the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing in February. LeDuc hails from Cedar Rapids and is the first openly non-binary person to compete for the United States in the Winter Olympics.


  • Michael ZahsWashington County-based historian
  • Timothee LuDucprofessional figure skater and member of the 2022 U.S. Olympic Winter Team
  • Ashley Caine Gribbleprofessional figure skater and member of the 2022 U.S. Olympic Winter Team

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