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Memorable Quilts

I have a long list of reasons why I like all things related to quilting. I like constructing quilts. I like looking at quilts in museums and quilt shops. I like decorating with quilts. I like awarding and gifting quilts to special people. And I like quilts that spark memories of special people or important events in my life.

One of those special quilts is an appliqué quilt that we found in my Grandma Matthies’ attic when we cleaned out her house. The top, measuring 78” x 99”, was pieced with 80 purple and yellow pansy appliqué blocks. (Another set of blocks that we found was made into a quilt for my brother.) My quilt was then hand-quilted by friends of my Grandma Lammers. It hangs in my sewing room on a rack that I received after my mother-in-law, Francie Hottovy, passed away. As a result, I get to remember three special people every time I walk into that room.

Another special quilt is a Triple Irish chain - one of the first large quilts that I made when I began quilting in 1993. I was drawn to the pattern because I could use scraps and that is the type of quilt that my Grandma Lammers made. This quilt was a work-in-progress for several years and I was unable to find the same muslin that I used in the large squares when I decided to finish it. As a result this top has a bit of character in the fabric choices! And although I had always intended to put it on my hand-quilting frame (because it measures 77” x 114”) I never got around to doing that. So it wasn’t finished until I got my long-arm - about 20 years after I started it. It now covers the bed in Sara’s room.

The first quilt that I ever made was a sampler quilt with 20 blocks measuring 78” x 93”. Why start small!! I found the pattern in a book called “Learning to Quilt, A Beginner’s Guide” by Lori Yetmar Smith published in 1990. The pieces were all cut using templates - no rulers or rotary cutters. I chose fabrics that matched the colors in our family room as I intended to hang it on the wall in that room. After hand-quilting it on my Grace frame, however, I hung it on the quilt rack in our bedroom. It never has hung on the family room wall.

The quilt in our master bedroom is a special one as it is made with fabrics purchased with a gift card from The Cosmic Cow that I received from my Lincoln Public Schools music department colleagues when I retired from teaching in 2016. I took some time picking out a pattern and then found just the right fabric at this fun quilt shop in north Lincoln. I bought the fabric in March 2017 and spent the rest of the year putting it together in between finishing customer quilts and growing my new business. The custom quilting was completed in December. I felt a bit of pressure to pick just the right designs to make this an epic quilt and I was very pleased with the results.

In honor of our three daughter’s graduations from Freeman High School In 2004, 2007, and 2013 I pieced and quilted them a bed-size quilt. They each chose the pattern and fabric for their quilts and I hand-quilted them on my Grace frame. They were displayed on the wall of our garage for their graduation parties. The quilts then found a home for their four years of college at St. Olaf, Creighton, and Loras. Now they are displayed on quilt racks in their homes.

When I began to think about my quilts that have special meaning I realized that each one of them is used in some way every day - either on a bed or hanging on a rack. What quilts do you have that are special? Are they being used or tucked away on a shelf?

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