Where has the time gone? It hardly seems possible that ten years have gone by since I wrote my first column for the Waynedale News. I clearly remember how it all began: Former 4th District Councilman Mitch Harper rented space in the Macedonian Tribune building downtown. As a tenant, he knew I had a love for quilts and he informed me that the Waynedale News had been recently sold to a couple of “twenty-somethings” who would be looking for new content. I followed up on Mitch’s suggestion and called the paper, talked to Cindy Cornwell, submitted a couple writing samples and here I am ten years later.
Over the past ten years I’ve covered not only quilts but other types of textiles and sewing accessories, but most importantly I’ve brought to life the stories behind the quilts, their makers, their materials, their inspiration, and most poignantly their heartache. I’ve had people contact me to tell me they cried over a certain article that profoundly touched them. I would be amiss if I didn’t mention that over the years I’ve shared about my mother, my first needlework teacher, and her impact on my love of textiles. Now 90 years young, my brothers read to her my articles and she dutifully takes them to her Indianapolis church to share with her lady friends.
Last night I was in Huntington at the Piecemakers Quilt Club, a specialty Extension Club, to share quilt restoration techniques and how to protect quilts from being damaged in the first place. It was a joy that so many of the 15 members present brought in their quilts, whether family or flea market finds, to learn about their pattern, age, techniques, and how they could restore it. As always, when quilters gather around an “autopsy table” to investigate, members with different sewing experiences and sewing skill sets offered up all sorts of practical solutions to bring back their lives, if not wholly, at least to the point where someone could look at it and find some level of beauty in it. One “case” was a kit quilt from the 1940’s that had shredded borders, thin backing fabric and the brown imprint of the box it must have laid in for years either from up in the attic or down in the basement on it. It was the group’s consensus that the best way to honor it would be to remove the borders, attempt to remove/diminish the stain and rebind it.
My desire is that the members will now gaze at their quilts by looking at the forest and not the trees and consider taking up the needle to make simple repairs. As I often admonish: Grandma didn’t have a Ph.d. in quilting to make it, and you don’t need a Ph.d. to restore it!
What will the next ten years hold for Around the Frame? As they say, all good things come to an end, so as long as I keep finding quilt stories to share and I have the time to write them and The Waynedale News wants to keep publishing them, I will continue to do my best to bring them to life for you!