Wednesday, March 13, 2013


Quilt detail:  Graf (c) and Purinton (r).
Quilt detail:  Henkel (c) and Foss (r)
Quilt:  Linda Henkel (c) and Carolyn Foss (r)
Quilt detail:   Jennifer Munao
Quilt detail:   Ti Heal (c) and Cindra Hokkanen (r) 
Each quilt has outstanding color and beauty, but it is the thought
behind the handiwork that counts most in these gifts
for veterans.  The quilt above is the work of 

Kathleen Morris (c) and Pat Clarke (r).
Washington Island, Wisconsin -

This blog is to demonstrate that not all island activity has been dredging and mud, or fishing for that matter.   Indoors, talented island people pursued crafts such as quilting, and this past weekend a notable project began at Sievers.

I stopped at Sievers to see the Quilts of Valor works-in-progress, and I wasn't quite prepared for the overwhelming color and variety of quilts hanging on the walls of the Jackson Harbor Road workshop. Some quilts were a bit further along than others. Once finished, each will bring love and supportive comfort to a veteran.

Quilts of Valor is a non-profit, nationwide organization.  Marianne Fons, a well-known Iowa quilter who also spends a great deal of her time on Washington Island (and is a frequent Sievers instructor), was familiar with the Quilts of Valor program, and planted the idea.

Island quilter Ellen Graf, also a Sievers instructor, then organized the event and helped to secure funding.  An article was published in the Island Observer with the hope of raising $1000 from island organizations or individuals, enough to buy fabric for 10 quilts.

Secondarily, besides producing products for presentation to military veterans, there is the introduction to the world of quilting by a skilled mentor, with one who may never have tried quilting.  Fons refers to this side benefit as, "Under Our Wings," which helps perpetuate the Quilts of Valor program and the art of quilting in general.

Island women were encouraged to participate, regardless of their experience levels.  Quilters were paired, so that experienced quilters (designated in photo captions here with "c," for coach), worked with inexperienced, but eager, beginners (names in captions designated with "r,"or rookie).

I've tried to represent on these pages images of the many quilts hanging in various stages of completion in Sievers workshop.  (At least one quilt was taken home for more convenient work by its maker.)   Since most quilters had not yet added borders (edging), I took mostly detailed close-ups, rather than full shots.  This also helps in appreciating material colors and patterns.

It should also be noted that Sievers School donated the quilting space for this project and discounted materials from the Sievers' retail shop.  Marianne Fons, through her extensive quilting network, was able to source reasonably priced materials for this project.

Finished quilts may be distributed through the Quilts of Valor organization, or, they may be presented individually to selected veterans.  On Washington Island, plans have already been made to repeat this activity again, next winter.

One of the above labels will accompany each quilt.

Readers interested in more information, or who wish to make a donation to Quilts of Valor:          
   Donors wishing to specifically support the Washington Island Quilts of Valor project directly may do so through Ellen Graf.    

  The national, non-profit organization can be reached at this web address:
(The above information was corrected 3.13.13 @ 5:30 pm, as advised by Sievers!)      -  Dick Purinton

Quilt by Graf (c) and
Purinton (r).
Ellen Graf and Mary Jo Purinton
measure a border piece.
Quilt by Kathleen Morris (c) and Pat Clarke (r)

Quilt by Helene Meyer (c) and Dianna Young (r)

1 comment:

Richard Purinton said...

Here are two comments sent to me via email regarding the Quilts of Valor:
"Thanks! Those are impressive, as is the sentiment behind them. I'm sure Elizabeth would be wowed by them too. I'm going to forward this to my Mom and Dad, they'll enjoy catching up with "island life"!"
And this comment...
What a wonderful, colorful blog this time! Thank you for the great PR for
Island volunteer quilters. It should make everyone want to join next year.