We Have Talent!
Saving the stories of quilters is an important role for guilds to
assume. We've collected several stories and they will be available on this page for your inspiration.
Do YOU have a story to share? Our members are invited to answer any or all of the following questions and submit them to the WebMaster. She will add your story to the memories already collected.
My first memory of a quilt was watching my aunt hand piece a Dresden plate block. She made us a king sized quilt as a wedding gift. Many of the fabrics were from the dolls' clothes she made for my dolls.
My first quilt memory is a Sunbonnet Sue from my grandmother when I was a girl. I passed it on to my daughter who spilled nail polish on it. It was pretty well worn out by then, anyway, so I tossed it. Now I'm sorry I did.
Helen Copeland Willis
The first quilt that I remember was a scratchy, heavy comforter made of wool and tied with yarn. It was in the upstairs bedroom of my grandparent’s home in Cerro Gordo, Illinois. I slept under it one cold winter Christmas night in 1951– when I was six years old. It was toasty warm!
I later learned that it was made from the Civil War uniform worn by my Great-great grandfather Horatio Miller Streever . It was made by his daughter Irva Ellen Streever and given to her daughter, Charlotte Jane Gray, who married my grandfather, Francis Arthur Copeland. She brought that quilt with her to the home where my father grew up and where I spent that winter night under that scratchy, heavy comforter made from a Civil War uniform – and I have never forgotten that quilt!
Although my sister and I shared the bed that night, she doesn’t remember the quilt; but one of my cousins does remember the old wool quilt. Neither my Cousin Carol nor I know whatever became of the quilt. We wish we knew!
When arrived in NV for Christmas my daughter-in-law and family made and presented me with a lap quilt made from my grand children's jeans. The whole family worked on it. Children cut, mom sewed and dad tied. I still use it, holes and all. Such a reminder of love! Began my quilt journey.
I made my first quilt at 8. I was working on a factory line machine and trying to stay busy while my mother worked making samples on 8th Ave in Manhattan, NY.
A crazy quilt made of wool and hand embellished with multiple variations of the featherstitch. My mother's grandmother made it for her. I slept under it in the winter, and loved to trace the different kinds of stitches. My mother had a similar quilt made for her granddaughter (my daughter) made of scraps of wool left over from garments that she and I had sewn. The featherstitching on the second one is not nearly as varied.
Our daughter’s second pregnancy was a difficult time for our family. The ultrasound indicted many severe abnormalities. It was important to the family to have the baby christened immediately. The 8-month ultrasound showed a small baby girl weighing just over 2 pounds. I took apart my wedding dress, our daughter’s First Communion dress and made a gown and bonnet. I altered a doll pattern. I also made a small quilt for the baby. Our daughter was extremely grateful and has the dress and bonnet displayed beautifully in a shadow box.
It has been 4 years since our small town in East TN, laid to rest a 21-year-old Marine, CPL Frankie Watson who lost his life while serving in Afghanistan. Little did I know how much this young man's death would become a part of my quilting world. I had heard his name but at the time did not realize I actually knew him as a small child. The fact was I knew his parents. I had his dad in school when I was a teacher’s aide. Both parents struggled in life and I knew raising a small boy wasn’t easy and I couldn't imagine them being able to raise a small active child.
Frankie was with his dad until about age 12 when TN State Trooper Lowell Watson came into his life. Lowell would bring him home from ball practices or wherever he might be. Then one day Lowell heard a school bus stop out in front of his house and off got Frankie. He had to change buses 3 times but was determined to find Lowell. After that Lowell became Frankie's guardian and I wanted to do something special for him. Frankie was a smart kid and soon was able to catch up in school, become a top-notch football player and made friends with everyone. After graduation he went to the Police Academy and soon joined the Madisonville Police Dept. But his real desire was to become a Marine. He joined the USMC and had 5 months to go before he was due to come home.
I decided to make a Memory T-Shirt Quilt to help Lowell's heartache heal. I gathered his t-shirts, badges, signatures from the guys he had served with and a Marine Corp Pillow Panel. It took me awhile to decide how I was going to put it all together. Then in March 2012 while on duty State Trooper Lowell Russell's car was hit by a truck. The driver had fallen asleep. His car was thrown into a concrete median and caught fire. With the Grace of God there were 2 other police cars and an EMT in the area and Trooper Russell was pulled from car as it caught fire. For weeks it was touch and go but now Lowell is in rehab and doing well. I presented "Tribute to a Hometown Hero" to Lowell on August 12 and he was so pleased but not as much as I was to see him smile. I hope it will help with his healing process in both his heart and body.
Lowell had helped this young man become the best he could be. This will be the most rewarding quilt I have ever worked on and so proud to do. Spending life as a military wife and my hubby retiring from the USAF I know the sacrifices we might face. Frankie Watson May Be Gone But Will Never Be Forgotten and Will Always Be our Hometown Hero! His Sacrifice was the Greatest!
I didn't come from a family of quilters. I was in my fifties when I went to my first quilt show. The first quilt I saw was a memory quilt. The quilter had used old black and white pictures with cream colored materials and lace. It was striking in its simplicity and such a tribute to the memory of the loved ones in the quilt. That quilt and the message that spoke to me made me want to be a quilter. Since then my quilt journey has brought wonderful friends into my life, provided an outlet for creative expression, and been more fulfilling than I ever expected.
My friend and neighbor recently went on dialysis. She was so excited to show me her quilt from the Village Quilters that she received at the dialysis center in Lenoir City. She once owned a quilt store. She was pleased with the color selection, pattern and quilting. Said how nice it was. We should be very proud of our donation to the community.
OK…what quilting has done for me. Well quilting/sewing has been my therapy. When I worked, I would come home and after dinner or later at night, when I could not sleep, I would sew or quilt( I made more clothes than quilt back then). People would say they didn’t know how I did it, wasn’t I tired? Sewing was an outlet for me. Whether it was worries, crises, concerns or stress, my therapist was just down the hall, in my sewing room. The feel of the fabric, the colors and quality of the fabric has always been a comfort. I would always say my therapist lives in the closet, my stash!