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Members of the Lamplighters Homemakers Club and the cathedral window quilt started by the late Mary Wilhelm.LIGHTING THE WAY TO A BETTER COMMUNITY: THE LAMPLIGHTERS HOMEMAKERS CLUB
In 1951 the “Elmhurst Better Homes” Homemakers Club saw the need for a club to meet in the evening to accommodate working women. Interested ladies from the Elmhurst and Sandpoint neighborhoods met on August 14, 1951 to make plans and to adopt the name “Lamplighters” and a new club was born. Currently Lamplighters has 17 members of all ages and meets on the third Tuesday of the month usually at a member’s home. Like all homemakers clubs it is sponsored by the Purdue University Extension Service.

Each month club members learn lessons on health, safety, nutrition, etc. presented at the Allen County Extension office. Those in attendance in turn share the information back at the monthly club meetings. The members participate in community service projects including sewing lap quilts, blankets and teddy bears for distribution at area nursing homes, hospice, the Mustard Seed Furniture Bank and Riley’s Children’s Hospital. The Lamplighters enjoy tours and social activities such as the summer picnic and a Christmas night out.

It isn’t surprising considering their love of sewing and quilting that the Lamplighters decide to tour Born Again Quilts restoration studio and quilt gallery.

The members are treated to quilts in progress of restoration, each with its unique challenges. One the dog chewed not only a slice off a border but left a gaping ‘through in through” hole in the middle. Another quilt is badly in need of new batting since it had only been tied and the batting has shifted and balled up after numerous washings.

“It was interesting to learn how much time and effort it takes to restore a quilt. I was amazed quilts that were in rags could actually be fixed.” said long time member Helen Muntzinger. “It’s amazing Lois has the patience to undo and renew these old treasures. Finding vintage or reproduction fabrics to blend in with the original quilt sounds like a fun thing to do,” remarked VP Connie Coe. “I never thought of using my sweeper drapery attachment to clean dust from quilts,” Barbara Herring commented.

Club President Diane Beaman shares an unfinished cathedral window quilt member Mary Wilhelm started years ago to receive pointers on how to finish it. A former Waynedale Elementary teacher and the club’s historian Mary lost her eyesight to macular degeneration preventing her from completing it. Before she died at 92 Diane purchased the unfinished quilt. She and her mother Anita Clark plan to finish it in Mary’s memory.

Like yo-yo quilts, the cathedral window is not made in the traditional two fabrics with a batting layer method. It is made by taking fabric folding it and using a scrap fabric to create the “window”. It is not only a great way to use up fabric scraps, it is also a quilt-as-you-go project. Depending on how large you make the “windows” it can be used to make doll quilts, placemats, and other small projects.

Anyone interested in joining the club can contact Vickie Hadley at 481-6826 for more information. The Allen County Extension Homemakers will celebrate their 100th anniversary in 2016. The Lamplighters plan to be a part of the celebration as they keep lighting the way to empowering and enriching families.

Lois Eubank is the owner of Born Again Quilts 4005 South Wayne Ave. She can be reached at bornagainquilts@frontier.com or 515-9446.


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