Lena was born Helena Teresa Joost in South Dakota in 1888. At the age of 19 Lena married William Harry Wallace. Lena and William moved to Malaga, Washington, in 1934. The Wallace family were orchardists, growing apples like many of their farming neighbours.
“I found each of the twenty-five women on the quilt though Ancestry.com. The name in the centre is Lena Wallace, aged 47, and I looked for a reason behind the quilt making. The women were aged between 25 and 65, a few were in the work force but the majority were keeping house. I could not find an event or occasion for Lena to celebrate with her friends. What I did find was a clue in the 1940s census. Lena’s parents were born in Germany and the language spoken at Lena’s childhood home was German. I’d like to think that her friends were saying, ‘No matter what is happening in Europe and the rest of the world, we are your friends and neighbours and your home is here with us.’”