Quilts bloom at Dodge Center summer festival
Garage sales, music, bingo and food weren’t the only things blooming during Dodge Center’s weekend summer festival. Quilts stitched with memories of love ones from family members also bloomed during the celebration.
The United Methodist Church displayed 70 quilts from 15 different people on Friday and Saturday. The quilts were carefully placed over the pews allowing people to marvel at the creativity used by the quilters.
“It’s not a sale or contest,” said Lois Lepp, one of the organizers. “It’s just to make us known, and show people the quilts have bloomed at the Methodist Church.”
This was the fifth year of the quilt show. Previously the church had been displaying them during the Harvest Fest celebration in fall, but that festival has been discontinued. Lepp said they decided to keep the tradition going during June Bloom.
“Each quilt has a story that comes with it,” Lepp said. “Some of the best stories are right there,” she said pointing to the quilts. This year’s quilts came from Dodge Center, Faribault, Owatonna, Kasson and Hayfield.
Lepp said they have very few repeats from year to year.
The one exception has been Richard Urbain of Dodge Center who has displayed his grandparents’ wedding quilt from 1920 every year at the show. After his mother passed away, his father was going to take it out and burn it, Urbain said. He saved it from being destroyed and has held onto it as a keepsake. He also found a copy of his parents’ marriage certificate wrapped inside the quilt.
Most of the quilts provide a short narrative of the history behind the quilt. One quilt by Rose Ella Subbert shared how they hung onto the quilt after relatives passed away. “I now have memories of my mother-in-law,” the quilt description read.
In addition to older quilts, there were also Fidget Lap Blankets on display at the church. A Fidget quilt is a small lap quilt or blanket that provides sensory and tactile stimulation for the restless or “fidgety” hands of someone with Alzheimer’s, dementia, autism or physically challenged, according to Lepp. The blankets are backed with flannel or corduroy to prevent slipping off the person’s lap.
Lepp said the Fidget blankets were started about a year ago. Once completed, the blankets are taken to area nursing homes where residents “can fiddle with it,” she noted. “If it helps them trigger memory, that’s great,” she said.
Fidgets are also being donated to area elementary schools for kids with autism. “The kids absolutely love them,” Lepp said, adding they are geared primarily for preschoolers.
United Methodist, which is also connected with the Methodist church in Owatonna, has completed 100 Fidgets so far over the past year. Members of the congregation have donated almost all of the fabric. “We’re excited about this,” said Lepp.