Sunday, March 9, 2014


Eight quilt tops were completed Saturday, March 8,
over a several day period at a Sievers School classroom.
Washington Island, Wisconsin -

Approximately 20 women participated in this year's Quilts of Valor effort held in one of the Sievers School of Fiber Arts classrooms this past week on Jackson Harbor Road.  Pairs of quilters selected their  fabric choices, cut and sewed, and arranged their fabric pieces in the "Thank You Star" block pattern theme that has been chosen for this year's Quilts of Valor Foundation (QoVF) quilts.

Nancy Thiele and Deb Anderson partnered to sew 
block patterns.
Each quilt top, along with its one-piece corresponding backing, will be sent to a long-arm quilter.  These skilled people have the proper quilt frames and larger machines to accomplish through-stitching that combines the multi-layers into one. This process also adds batting, the filler that gives each quilt loft, and ultimately, warmth for the user.

Anne Delwiche and Peg Nikolai confer on quilt details.

Once the expansive quilt surfaces have been stitched, quilts are then returned to Washington Island for finishing, which includes the binding along edges and label with names of the volunteers that states it was a QoVF product.  Each quilt will be folded and stuffed into a cover resembling a pillowcase, ready for presentation to a veteran of military service, which is the end-goal behind the QoVF program.  Many steps, many hours, many hands - in addition to the emotional investment - are behind each presented quilt.

Jill Jorgenson and Linda Henning made quilt cases
and cut pieces that will be used for backings.
This year, in addition to the organizational skills and quilting leadership of Marianne Fons, a nationally recognized quilter from Iowa, and Ellen Graf, an Island quilting instructor (these two women also pre-planned this event,  including behind-the-scenes fundraising, purchase of material and supplies, and team logistics) two guest quilters were on hand.

Karen Demaree, who is Wisconsin's Coordinator for the Quilts of Valor Foundation, and friend Sue Kahre-Stradford, both from Platteville, Wisconsin, offered perspective on the QoVF volunteerism in Wisconsin, as it relates to the national organization. It's been the general intention of QoVF to do as much through volunteerism as possible, drawing on a broad spectrum of quilters whose work will then be worthy of presentation to a military veteran, one way of personalizing a thank-you for their service.

This block was sewn by a long-arm quilter using a
star pattern, detail that shows how one section of

the completed quilt might look.

Marianne Fons, Karen Demaree and Ellen Graf
hold QoVF poster at conclusion of Island
quilting event.
Within the next month or two in the United States, the 100,000th quilt made by QoVF quilters will be presented.  (Since there are also some quilts made but not recorded, this number remains a symbolic milestone, but never-the-less, the volume of quilts produced and the handiwork behind them is significant.)

Each Island quilter received this pin
marking the upcoming milestone in quilts presented
to U.S. military veterans.
I was asked by Ellen Graf to record the Washington Island QoVF project during the past few days, and the photos on this posting are but a few to show the colors, patterns, participants and progression during the approximately 3 1/2 day project.

-   Dick Purinton


Deb Wuellner-Clarke said...

Wonderful reporting job, Dick ....on a most worthy project!

Tom B said...

My Grandma used to make these by hand, all with scraps of cloth people gave her. She only purchased the batting and large back piece. She had nine children and I had many cousins. Each person recived a quilt from Grandma as their wedding present. One year everyone recived a blank piece of cloth to decorate as there own. She then made the "family" quilt and it hung in the farmhouse for years.