STITCHING A TRADITION

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August 15, 2011 - 12:00 AM

Memories compose the fabric of a family.
Judy McGraw is preserving her family’s memories through her decorative hand-sewn quilts.
“My mother taught me how to quilt. I remember when I was 13 we were working on a quilt top, and then my mom died. I put the quilt top away and didn’t finish it until I was in my 20s,” she said.
Each of her quilts, made to fit a queen-size bed, takes her about six months to complete. Working with her husband, Duane, in their flower shop, she uses her quilting as a way to relax during her evening hours.
One of her quilts is made from dresses her daughter Kristina had as a child, another is made from her mother’s handkerchiefs and one quilt is made of signature blocks that were signed by her grandmother and two of her aunts.
When Kristina was married, McGraw had guests sign a piece of fabric which she incorporated into a quilt along with photos from the wedding. Wedding photographs also were included on a quilt for her son, Kortney.
McGraw is always looking for fabric pieces to add to her stash.
“I belong to the Sunflower Quilters Guild, and we have a table where members bring what we call ‘UFOs’, unfinished objects,” she said.
It was on the UFO table that McGraw found unfinished arches for a wedding ring quilt along with some green and orange remnants that caught her eye.
These remnants found their way to McGraw’s quilting frame where she transformed them into a wedding ring patterned quilt. Additional material used in the quilt was found in a box dating back to the 1930s.
McGraw entered the quilt in the Anderson County Fair, where it was selected the grand champion. The quilt also garnered McGraw a blue ribbon for best hand-quilted quilt at the Allen County Fair. The quilt’s next showing will be at the Kincaid Fair in the fall.
Sunflower Quilters Guild meets the fourth Monday of each month at 9:30 a.m. in Parish Hall at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Humboldt. Anyone interested in sewing and quilting is invited to attend, McGraw said.

MCGRAW ALSO helped to organize a sewing and quilting group at First Christian Church, 1608 Oregon Rd.
“We call ourselves Beacon on the Hill Quilters because our church kind of sits up on a hill,” she said.
People with sewing skill of any level are welcome. Several residents at Windsor Place have tied quilt tops for the group.
All materials are donated and finished products are given to people in need. A couple of quilts have been given to victims of the tornado in Joplin and some simple A-line dresses have been made and sent to children in Africa.
The group meets the first and third Tuesday of each month from 7 to 9 p.m. at the church.

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