Favorite Quilts and Quilters

Windows and Walls: The Road Home- Stories of the Quilts

For 2022, I have been sharing some the stories behind of the quilts in my heart and home. This is a quilt that I made in 2018 for my father-in-law. My father-in-law was declining and was moving into Memory Care. Since his marriage, he had slept under quilts his wife made, or selected for him. I hated the idea of him using institutional blankets, but I know that quilts take a beating in many Memory Care and Assisted Living facilities. Sometimes they disappear and the washing machines can take a toll. So sending him with one of his wife’s precious, hand quilted quilts didn’t seem like the best option. The Memory Care facility had a bed coming open in 2 weeks, so I had a limited amount of time to make a quilt. I knew he would have a twin bed, and I knew I needed something quick, attractive, and sturdy.

I decided to adapt the Walkabout Quilt pattern designed by Ann Lauer for Grizzly Gulch Gallery. I chose neutral fabrics that I thought he would like. I started with the print, then added black and cream solids and the dark gray print. Because I knew this would be washed frequently, I made my seam allowances 3/8″ instead of 1/4″.

I used some decorative stitches to quilt and highlight features of the print.

I also used decorative stitches machine sewing the binding, because it created extra stitches that would be more secure.

The quilt is backed with plain muslin, because that was how my mother-in-law backed all of her quilts. In addition to his name on the label, the plain back allowed the facility to write his room number on the back in sharpie, so the quilt was always returned to him.

When my father-in-law was transferred to hospice, the quilt went with him. He used it until the end, and it is precious to us as a result.

Favorite Quilts and Quilters

St. Paul’s Prayer Group Baby Quilt: The Story of the Quilt

While I was in college, I was part of a wonderful, vibrant faith community. I participated in St. Paul’s Prayer Group which met weekly on Thursday evenings. It was a great group that included many college students, but also many young families. It seemed like there were dozens of weddings and babies every year. Somehow, I ended up coordinating many of the quilts for these special occasions. For baby quilts, I would decide on a size and color scheme. Each person who wanted to participate would make a square. I usually used gingham to sash the squares and make a border. Then I would machine quilt or tie it and bind it. I honestly cannot tell you how many baby quilts I made over my years in the prayer group. I do remember graduating, moving away, and coordinating a couple of quilts long distance.

My husband was active in the St. Paul’s Prayer Group much longer than I was. Our wedding was definitely a Prayer Group wedding. We had a fantastic choir with St. Paul’s friends over many years joining together to sing and celebrate us. There was a caravan of cars travelling from Madison to Chicago. They took up a large portion of one floor in the hotel. We have heard that there was a lot of fun in the pool and at the hotel, when there weren’t wedding activities.

Our oldest son was born just about nine months after we got married. By then, we were living hundreds of miles away in Texas. I missed the baby showers that we would have had if we were still living near our family and friends. But one day, a large box was delivered. It was our Prayer Group baby quilt and it felt like a baby shower in a box.

Friends who had received wedding or baby quilts, and even some who hadn’t all contributed squares. My mother-in-law was a wonderful quilter and offered to assemble the quilt. While she was not part of the St. Paul’s Prayer Group, many of the Prayer Group members became like family and she knew them from softball games, parties and picnics. I want to share just a few of the blocks and their stories. The quilt is now 32 years old, but it still feels like hugs from all of our friends.

This little bear block is one of my favorites. It was made by a dear friend who was Matron of Honor at our wedding. I still smile when I see the fuzzy bear. And he has held up to heavy use and innumerable washings.

I also dearly love this bouncy bear. The counted cross stitch squares really have held up well over time – something I try to remember when it comes to making memory squares.

Applique was also popular. Some blocks were flannel applique, others were prints that were appliqued and embellished.

As you can tell, bears were a theme. At the time, I collected teddy bear ornaments, so everyone knew I loved them.

Some friends chose to use embroidered patches and appliqued them on squares. As you can see, in some cases, the background fabric shrunk more than the sashing.

The final block was the “name” block of the St. Paul’s Prayer Group.

I still love this quilt – my son sucked on the corners and the color is gone there. It has been very heavily used, but it is still beautiful.

I hope you have enjoyed learning the story of this wonderful quilt.