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What a difference cleaning makes in the appearance of the Cat in Baskets quilt.June is National Adopt a Shelter Cat Month, so it is only fitting that I share this cat quilt conundrum with you.

It starts of all places at Most Precious Blood Catholic Church where longtime parishioners Steve and Judy Wiwi learn that I restore quilts. They share with me that they have some family quilts and they want me to take a look at a couple of them. The years pass.

Then suddenly last November Judy tells me she is going to bring a quilt to church. It is a family quilt made by her grandmother and aunt. Her sister Margaret wants her to donate to the MPB rummage sale. Thankfully, Judy brings it to me first. When I first view the quilt I know it is from the 1940s as I already have a quilt top of the same “cats in baskets” design laid out on my dining room table. The Wiwi version is scrappy and in perfect condition-no rips or tears. The only thing that deems it “rummage sale worthy” are the brown spots and overall age related browning of the white fabric.

Undaunted the work begins to brighten up the cats. A mixture of solution and sunshine start to do the trick. Little by little the cat quilt perks up. One Sunday we are all back at MPB at the same service; quilt in tow. Steve and Judy are pleased with the progress.

By Epiphany the clean cat quilt is back in their hands. They cannot believe the “before and after” photos showing what a difference the cleaning made. Margaret is down in Florida wondering how much money the Ladies Sodality made on the quilt. Judy remains mum on the subject.

This spring Margaret returns to the Fort and the day of reckoning is at hand. Judy confesses she never sold the cat quilt opting to see if something could be done to clean it. Margaret is amazed at the quilt she was going to relegate to the rummage sale. So, now the conundrum. Who would now be the rightful owner? The sister who ordered it sold, the sister who saved it and gave it back its life? Would it be passed down to a daughter/niece to be preserved and enjoyed for another generation, will it spend six months in Fort Wayne and winter in Florida, or like King Solomon’s decree would it be cut in two so each of the sisters would have a piece of Grandma Lindsey and Aunt Mary’s work?

The answer lies in the hearts of the sisters. Margaret kept the quilt which one day will be given to her daughter Cindy. Steve and Judy are just so pleased this piece of family history remains in their family. Now looking through their other textiles another quilt and top are in the process of being brought back to life by BAQ.

Please help the Allen County SPCA break their adoption record by adopting a feline or two. The four Eubank Family feline fur children are all either adopted, strays or their owner couldn’t keep them. The sale of certain quilts and tops at the BAQ studio benefit the SPCA.

Lois Eubank is the owner of Born Again Quilts restoration studio and gallery located at 4005 South Wayne Ave. She has over 25 years experience restoring quilts using vintage fabric back to the 1870s.

From June 5-8 the studio will be closed as the Eubank’s (sans fur children) travel to San Diego to watch son Robert graduate from the USMC basic training.

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