At Castle Manor, the group hosted a
quilt show featuring Quilts of Valor. In the afternoon, a group then
visited St. Clara's and presented lap quilts to the resident
At Castle Manor,
Andrea Tibbs, Jennifer Helm and Sandy Wilkerson were happy to sit a
spell in front of the fireplace in the great room and share their
feelings about quilting.
The quilt guild this year
celebrated 30 years as a local organization. According to Helm, in
those 30 years the group has been consistently busy learning and
practicing a craft they all love.
She noted that quilting is not one
of the lost arts. Even though the process began in the days of
pioneers and further back, it is as relevant today as it was then.
She said what the guild really enjoys is seeing that there are still
young people interested in the craft, and because of that, it is an
art that will never die.
For those who may be unfamiliar
with it, quilting began as a means to provide warm coverings in a
cold climate by using scraps of material from other sewing projects.
In the early days of our history, pioneer homemakers had to make
everything count. Cutting scraps into small squares and stitching
them together to form a large comforter was one of the ways they did
Over the years, quilts have
evolved, just like many other things. They became a way of
expressing love and appreciation. One of the most popular older
quilt patterns is the wedding ring. Pieces were carefully stitched
together to make a pattern of continually interlocking rings,
usually with a white background, though other colors were also
acceptable. These quilts, made with love by family members, were
often given to the bride and groom as a wedding gift.
It is that same act of love that
brought about the Quilts of Valor program. The program was started
in 2003 by Catherine Roberts of Seaford, Del. She got the idea after
her own son was deployed for a year to Iraq. The concept was to be
able to provide veterans returning from deployment a gift that
expressed love and appreciation for their service to their country.
Roberts began networking with
various quilting clubs and guilds. She put together guidelines for
the quilts, requiring that all quilts be made in red, white and blue
colors, and that they be lap-sized quilts measuring at least 55 by
Locally, Tibbs said the Quilters at
Heart got involved with the Quilts of Valor through Virginia
Kendrick, who has participated in the program through a Bloomington
club for the past several years.
Tibbs said the Lincoln guild does
something every year for an organization. She said they have done
quilts that were donated to the Pregnancy Resource Center in
Lincoln, and this year they decided to do quilts for seniors.
She said several quilts have been
given to area nursing homes and senior living facilities. The homes
are free to do with the quilts whatever they choose. She said she
knew some had put them away and on special occasions present them as
gifts or prizes for their residents.
She said because the guild was
donating to seniors this year, it seemed only fitting that they
create quilts for the local veterans who are residents at nursing
homes. They chose to make their donation this year at St. Clara's
Tibbs also noted that Quilts of
Valor is a nationwide movement. Some organizations choose to make
the quilts and send them to the national program, but the Quilters
at Heart decided they wanted to first serve veterans locally.
On Monday afternoon, a group from
the guild left Castle Manor and went to St. Clara's to present the
quilts to veterans there.
St. Clara's hosted a special
observance for the veterans, and several were in attendance in the
main dining area for the special recognition.
Those in attendance were John Eimer,
Clifford Hall, Frank Ladd and Charlie Sloan.
Other vets who were not able to
attend but did receive quilts were Ron Auerbach, Gerald Fritz,
Norman Knollenberg, Frank Krueger, Donald Shea and Bill Teaney.
In addition to the men who were
recognized, the women who had waited for them to come home and
served in auxiliaries were recognized, too.
[to top of second
St. Clara's activity director, Penny
Tipton, led activities that began with patriotic songs, and many
joined in singing.
Several members of the Quilters at
Heart Quilt Guild were present. The group had made many different
lap quilts in patriotic fabric for the veterans. Several quilters
were on hand to help hand out the quilts to the veterans.
Auxiliary members present were
pinned with a unique, handmade bead flag.
Veterans were presented with
handmade cards recognizing their sacrifice for our country as well.
Back at Castle Manor, 25 beautiful
patriotic quilts were on display, and tours were given by Sandy
Wilkerson, who talked about the quilts with visitors.
In addition to the Quilts of Valor,
there was another very special quilt the group wanted to talk about.
In January last year, the guild
lost a beloved member; Kathy Begolka. After Kathy's death, her
husband, Chuck, brought to the guild a collection of blocks that
Kathy had been preparing to piece together. The group decided they
would piece the quilt and offer it as a fundraiser.
The quilt, aptly named "Kathy's
Quilt" will be raffled, and will be on display at this year's Pride
of the Prairie on Nov. 30.
Tibbs and Helm are avid quilters,
and they say being a part of the guild is very important to them.
The guild offers a variety of activities at their monthly meetings.
The women say they enjoy getting together, talking about their
projects and sharing new techniques they have learned in their
craft. The meetings also include special guest speakers, and those
are not limited to just talking about quilts.
In short, the women said the guild
is about all things sewing, and they have enjoyed hearing from a
variety of speakers, including those who talked about antique
clothing and costume-making.
Inside the quilting world, there is
one little bone of contention: Should a quilt be machine-sewn?
Tibbs and Helm, though both
advocates of hand sewing, say there are benefits to both.
Machine sewing is obviously quicker
and may produce a more durable quilt.
Hand sewing on the other hand, is
more mobile. Helm said that when traveling; she often takes her
quilt pieces with her, and she can sit and sew no matter where she
She also added that for herself,
she feels that when she is stitching a quilt for a gift, it is a
greater act of love to put it together one piece at a time by hand.
Regardless of how the quilts are
stitched, the result is an extraordinary work of art that can be
loved and appreciated for years to come.
The Quilters at Heart meet once a
month. They currently have approximately 40 very active members, but
they are always looking to welcome new people into their group.
Anyone who is interested in joining can talk to any guild member and
quickly become a part of this age-old tradition.
The ladies noted that new members
need only have an interest in the craft to become a part of it.
Those who do not quilt but would like to learn how are more than
welcome; they are encouraged to come and benefit from the years of
experience in the guild.
[By NILA SMITH and JAN YOUNGQUIST]