“Sew” much fun Women stitch together memories, quilts

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Several members of a quilting group were on hand recently to talk about their unique projects. They are, left to right: Ellen Clinton, Debby Fischer, Jillian Miller, Sandy Phillips, Kris Sass and Donna Baumler.
Several members of a quilting group were on hand recently to talk about their unique projects. They are, left to right: Ellen Clinton, Debby Fischer, Jillian Miller, Sandy Phillips, Kris Sass and Donna Baumler.

By Pam Reinig
Register Editor

A Garnavillo woman has found a new use for the organizational skills that made her an exceptional nurse.

Debby Fischer, who is retired from the former Central Community Hospital, Elkader, has pulled together a group of 12 women with an interest in quilting. Their goal is to complete 13 quilts this year—one for each member and one for the hospital auxiliary to sell.

But the quilting project has a unique twist: Each woman is making one row of each quilt. By year’s end, each member will have a finished, queen-sized quilt made by 12 different people.

“I call this “Round Robin, Row-by-Row,’” Debby said. “In January, we did the first row of our own quilts using fabric we purchased or had on hand. In February, each person passed her finished row and fabric to someone on the list. Again, each person made a row of blocks of her own design but with the fabric she’d been given, and sewed the second row to the first. This will continue throughout the year until December when we will each receive our finished quilts.”

The designs are as varied as the group’s composition. For example, Jo Creery, Garnavillo, will have a finished quilt with blocks featuring stars. Mary Walters, Garber, chose a geometric pattern. Debby has cowboy hats and Sandy Phillips, Elgin, has boots.

The women gather monthly in the community room of a local bank for a sewing day. They bring cutting boards, sewing machines, irons, ironing boards and, of course, yards and yards of fabric. They also exchange quilting tips and, more importantly, provide encouragement and support to other members dealing with health issues and challenging family situations.

“I pulled together a group of people I knew but that doesn’t mean they knew each other when we started,” Debby said. “But we’ve created new relationships and have become very good friends.

“It’s something I look forward to every month,” said Donna Baumler, West Union. “Our quilts are really taking shape and along the line, we’ve had lots of good food and conversation.”

It’s not likely that the group will disband in December when all of the quilts are finished. They might tackle a second year of projects because, as Sandy s, pointed out, “Is there really such a thing as too many quilts?”
 

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