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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.