Joe Salem and his son Eli were delighted when they picked up their newly restored Jordanian quilt.As we bask in our record-breaking winter temperatures, it’s easy to wax nostalgic over the previous two winters. As a small business owner, it is important to learn how people find you, whether through your website, Facebook page, word-of-mouth, etc. Two winters ago former Bishop Dwenger theology teacher Joe Salem discovered Born Again Quilts on a snow day. While at home watching TV Joe kept watching “Born Again Quilts Restoration Studio – Closed” scroll across the bottom of WANE – TV programming. Joe went to his computer and Googled it and found the answer to a quest to get a Mediterranean quilt restored.

As Joe puts it, “I was studying Arabic in Amman, Jordan in the fall of 1995.  I am half Lebanese and had always wanted to go to the Middle East. I finally had the opportunity as part of my studies. While living in Amman, I had the opportunity to travel throughout Jordan, Syria and Lebanon. I had heard of a micro-lending project called the Bani Hamida Project sponsored by Queen Noor. This project was an attempt to empower women through economic opportunity while also preserving the traditional crafts of the Palestinian people in Jordan. The main products were handmade camel hair rugs with traditional Bedouin weaves and the designs of Palestinian tribes.

Amy and I were engaged at the time and she came to visit Jordan while I was living there. We visited the Bani Hamida Project intending on purchasing a rug, which we did. Right next door was another shop called Jordan River Designs, also sponsored by Queen Noor. This was a project in which women made traditional and contemporary embroidered home furnishings, gift items and fashion accessories. The focus of Jordan River Designs was products that incorporated traditional designs that could be sold in Western markets rather than purely traditional products. We saw the quilt there and purchased it. The design reminds me of the ancient mosaics that can be found in churches throughout Jordan. Today Queen Rania sponsors both Bani Hamida and Jordan River Designs.

After we got married this quilt was on our bed, reminding us of our Jordanian adventure. Several years ago we had to take it off our bed. Our kids had ripped out much of the stitching when they were little as they attempted to climb up on our bed over the years. We have never been able to find a replacement with adequate meaning, tradition or beauty. That is why I was so pleased to find Born Again Quilts. Now that the quilt is repaired, our bedroom feels complete again. Lois did such a great job restoring it to its original condition. In fact the repairs are stronger than the original. I hope we can keep it on our bed for a long time. Our adopted children (Eli who is Iraqi and an 8th grader at Summit Middle School and 10-year-old Anna who is Chinese and a 4th grader at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton) are delighted to have it back too. Someday their small children may tug on it trying to climb up and the quilt will be in better condition to withstand them!”

Notes: Much of the restoration work had to do with re-embroidering long panels of traditional feather-stitching because the original thread was thin and worn. Exact color matches were found at Stitch N Frame on Bluffton Road. DMC Pearl Cotton size 5 skeins were used. The stitches are now twice as thick as the original ones.

Also a shout out to Suzanne Fredrick who gave this Southpaw tips on feather-stitching and had the perfect needle to use to do the work. Thanks Suzanne!

Born Again Quilts is located at 4005 South Wayne Ave. Besides quilt restoration we sell vintage quilts, tops, sewing accessories, cotton thread and batting. Hours are Wednesdays 5:30-7p.m. and Saturdays 9-2p.m. or by appointment. 260-515-9446.

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