Quilt group stitches together family memories

PHOTO CONTRIBUTED BY MARIE CORNELL Shannon and Dave Paxton display a project members of the Boardman Quilt Group created as a memory quilt for the Hermiston couple's daughter, Jennifer.

A Hermiston couple recently found a creative way to preserve family memories and solicited help from the Boardman Quilt Group.

Carol Michael said typical ways to pass on family memories include photo albums, games, recycling grandparents’ clothing and recipe collections. An increasingly popular technique, she said, is incorporating family memories in a quilt.

Dave and Shannon Paxton of Hermiston collected T-shirts, sweatshirts and team jackets from their daughter’s school and sports activities. However, they weren’t sure how they would use more than 100 garments in a single project. They just knew they had to make a decision before Jennifer graduated with her RN degree this June. Their goal was to create a lifetime of memories and stories embedded into a project for the next step of her life.

Last summer while the Paxtons were pondering the future, the 2017 Boardman Quilt Show was in the news. That sparked an idea for a memory quilt made from the clothing collection. Not owning a sewing machine or possessing sewing experience, the Hermiston couple contacted a member of the quilt group. They inquired about designing and creating a memory quilt as a service project.

The group often works on community service projects, including supporting the American military with Santa Stockings for Marines serving in the Middle East, Quilts of Valor, American Hero Quilts, and Comfort Quilts for nursing home residents and children removed from dangerous surroundings. In addition, they have sent quilts to Canadian communities devastated by forest fires and donated quilts for scholarship raffles.

While the quilt group doesn’t solicit commissions, Marie Cornell said she would be willing to work on it if another member would assist. Kathy Hyder agreed to hand sew the binding. Other quilt group members made suggestions on a regular basis. In addition, they contributed batting, backing, thread, time and skills.

Cornell combined selections from 42 T-shirts and performed machine quilting. The finished product, a 100-inch by 92-inch queen-sized quilt, was presented to the thrilled parents Feb. 17.

”I want to live long enough to see our daughter complete her nursing studies and receive the memory quilt,” said Dave, who has chronic renal disease.

The quilt group encourages people to exhibit memory quilts during the 2018 Fall Boardman Quilt Show Oct. 12-13 at the Boardman Senior Center. For more information about the quilt group, call Hyder at 541-571-7009 or Cornell at 480-518-2642.

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