Jill Branning proudly displays her grandmother’s quilt. Last week it was my privilege to speak to the members of the Appleseed Quilters Guild on the topic of quilt restoration. I mentioned to President Mary Ann Skinner, I’d be more than happy to perform an autopsy or two to determine the cause of death if members want to show me their quilts.

That’s how I meet Jill Branning. Jill hesitantly approaches me before the meeting asking me if I would mind advising her on her quilt. We unfold it and together we examine it. Hand appliqué pinwheel pieces form flowers attached to green stems. The hand quilting is fair-to-good. I can tell this is a well-loved quilt. The fabric is wearing out not by neglect but because of use.

Jill relates her paternal grandmother who died in 1984 made it for her father. Four years ago her father divides his mother’s quilts between his daughters. Jill asks how old is the quilt. Pointing out various colors and motifs from the 1940s and 1950s the conclusion is the late 1950s. Like most quilters grandmother had quite the fabric stash! Jill recollects memories of her grandmother’s sewing prowess. She especially remembers her grandmother’s aprons; their fabric leftover pieces now segments in the quilt she holds in her hands.

Jill was an off-and-on quilter who tried to teach herself how to piece and quilt on the sewing machine she received as a bride. Frustrated with the results, it isn’t until her friend Gail Keuneke invites her to join the quilt guild that she finds the support and assistance she needs to blossom into a confident quilter. Today she is busy making quilts for all her siblings.

Grandmother’s quilt is proudly displayed in her home while Jill makes a decision about its future. She can keep it in its present condition with grandmother’s apron fabrics intact, or she can choose to remove the worn pieces and replace them with vintage fabric. One thing is certain, whatever decision she makes, her grandmother will approve.

The Appleseed Quilters Guild is preparing for their biennial quilt show at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum on August 12-14. Go to

Lois Levihn

She is the author of the "Around the Frame" quilting column. She is a graduate of Wayne HS. Quilts have always been important to her, she loves the stories surrounding them, the techniques used in making them, & restoring them. > Read Full Biography > More Articles Written By This Writer