The 38th Annual MVASGA Show has come and gone leaving behind warm memories of delicious sweet corn, barrel train rides and the quilt show. The quilts this year were a mixture of new and old, machine and hand quilted. The quilt awarded the second place for People’s Choice was intriguing: It was made of vintage hankies folded in such a way to make them look like butterflies. I studied them for a while trying to figure out how they folded the hankies and gave up. Looking at the entry form there was sketchy information for the maker lived in Wyoming and the owner didn’t know much about it. I left my card stapled to the entry form hoping owner Hilda Bennett would call me and my curiosity would be put to rest.
Two weeks past and out of the blue 99 year-old Hilda calls me to discuss the quilt. She tells me Joann Hayworth of Ranchester, Wyoming collected the hankies and made six quilts from them. Joann is the sister of Hilda’s daughter Barbara’s best friend Wilma all who live close by in Ranchester. Hilda relates Joann could never get use to using a thimble and hand quilted all six quilts without using one. I can only imagine the callouses on her fingers! When Joann decides she didn’t need six butterfly quilts she gifted one to Joann.
Now Joann is a member of the quilt group that meets at Emmanuel Lutheran Church at 907 West Jefferson in Fort Wayne. She shows the quilt to the group and Judy Kalb insists she enter it in the show. Hilda was surprised and pleased her friend’s quilt won People’s Choice 2nd place. Instead of being awarded a ribbon, the award is a little nine patch quilt recognizing the achievement. Soon the award will be in the mail to Joann and, Hilda can’t wait to hear her reaction.
Hilda learned needlework skills at an early age. As a small child she began to embroider quilt blocks. At 18 her mother passes away and the project is set aside. At 40, Hilda makes the blocks into a quilt for her daughter Barb’s 16th birthday. She has been quilting ever since and now at 99 years young she no longer quilts for herself but helps finish other people’s quilts. It seems Joann found a true quilt lover to gift her butterfly quilt and the people at the MVASGA show agreed!
Anyone is welcome to drop by the church and meet or join the quilters from 9-2 on Thursdays. Maybe I’ll show up and together maybe we can figure out Hilda’s butterfly folding secret.
Lois Levihn is the owner of Born Again Quilts where vintage quilts are bought, sold and restored. Located at 4005 South Wayne Avenue, the studio is open from 5:30-7p.m. Wednesdays, 9-2p.m. Saturdays and by appointment. 260-515-9446 email@example.com