After teasing his wife and daughter about the workmanship of one of their quilts, Albert Small was tartly asked if he could do any better. “I can and I will,” he replied and bet them that he could make his own quilt using more pieces of smaller size than anything they could produce. Albert was a foreman at the Ottawa Silica Plant; he had no quiltmaking experience. Nevertheless, after working with dynamite and heavy machinery all day, he picked up his needle and thread at night and succeeded in creating a quilt out of more than 36,000 hexagon-shaped pieces.
Two quilts and eight years later, Albert began work on this quilt, his masterpiece. It took him four years to make. He cut the fabric and hand-pieced it together; his wife and daughter-in-law quilted it by hand. It contains over 123,000 quarter-inch hexagon pieces. As far as anyone knows, it contains the most pieces of any quilt ever made. It was featured in Reader’s Digest in 1973, Ripley’s Believe it or Not in 1995, and has been named one of the Top 100 Quilts of the 20th Century.