Anne Tinkel and her “Stars and Snowballs” lap quilt created for her sister Linda. Linda wanted to feel Anne’s love while she recuperated from surgery.Last week I attend the Appleseed Quilters Guild Show with my good friend Christine. The women at the welcome table show are delighted to receive autographed copies of The Waynedale News featuring the show. Rolling in immediately behind us in a wheelchair is AQG President Donna Sievers. Donna recently took a hard fall resulting in some painful fractures, but that didn’t deter her from coming and enjoying the show. Keep on healing Donna!

The show consists of over 300 quilts; the majority is quilted by a long-arm. I could count on one hand how many I find “grandma-arm” quilted. No matter what method of quilting is used, the quilts are beautiful and imaginative.

Every quilt has a story behind it, and I need to find someone willing to share theirs.

Sitting at the Appleseed Boutique I find Anne Tinkel maker of six quilts on exhibit.

Anne is a Fort Wayne native who attended Catholic schools and becomes an elementary teacher in the FWCS for 29 years, now retired. At the age of 14 she learns to sew and makes clothes for her family throughout her adult life.

For a Pioneer Day Celebration at Study School she cuts out fabric squares and gives one to each of the students to decorate. Anne sews them together to make a quilt which the school proudly displays. Word of the student’s quilt gets out and Anne is asked to display it at an Appleseed Quilters Show. Attending the show she is amazed at the quality of the other quilts and how the student’s finished product pales in comparison.

Inspired by what she saw at the guild show, Anne makes her first quilt a volleyball shirt quilt for her daughter. To learn how to work with the knit fabric she attends a t-shirt quilt making class at the gone-but-not-forgotten Those 2 Quilt Ladies shop on North Wells Street. Next up she takes a pattern that calls for blue jeans and uses it to make a quilted vest using the old jean pockets as the front vest pockets. Upcycling before it was popular.

Anne’s sister Beth is an Oncologist Nurse who assists at Camp Whatcha-Wanna-Do, the camp for children with cancer or cancer survivors. Anne wants to make quilts to donate but the only way to do so is through the Appleseed Quilters Guild. Anne resists joining at first but after attending a couple of meetings and watching the Show-and-Tell segments of the meeting, she is hooked. The camaraderie and support shown to all participants make her comfortable enough to take the leap and join.

Anne now designs her quilts by using computer programs. She uses Electric Quilt 5 having picked it up when EQ6 was about to be replaced and the older version was put on sale. She sets up the design in the computer, scans in her fabric so she can play with the actual fabrics and their position on the block. No graph paper and color pencils for her! She wastes a lot less cloth knowing beforehand whether the ultimate design pleases her or not. She finds quilt making so much more freeing than making the family clothes because she can use color choices and the precision is nowhere near as that demanded in clothes-making.

One of the six quilts she displays is “Stars and Snowballs for Linda.” A year-and-a-half ago her sister Linda was about to undergo two major surgeries and Linda asked her sister to make her a special quilt. Linda needed to feel Anne’s love near her through this difficult time. Anne chose muted colors for Linda’s quilt and by whipping it up on EQ 5 was able to show and receive Linda’s approval before her medical procedures. Anne quilted the lap quilt on her domestic sewing machine and presented it to Linda while she was recuperating. Linda is thrilled with the result and uses it to this day.

For a woman who was intimidated by the quality and sheer beauty of the quilts she saw at her first show, Anne has come full-circle embracing the possibilities of bold quilts, subdued quilts, charitable quilts, where no matter how much technical support she uses, love is always the first ingredient.

Note: While Anne stepped away to assist a customer, fellow Guild member Cathie Franklin confides in me the depth of Anne’s volunteer work. Since 1998 Anne has created over 1200 baptismal gowns with gender appropriate pink or blue doves for the babies at St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church, Fort Wayne. Recently she made altar cloths for the church, too. Her volunteer work for the Guild is exemplary.

Lois is the owner of Born Again Quilts where she restores quilts, sells vintage quilts/tops and offers private lessons. She can be reached through The Waynedale News.