Archive for Thursday, January 12, 2006

Patchwork history

Local shop owners stitch together city, Douglas County landmarks

January 12, 2006

Three Eudora women are chronicling the early history of Eudora through the art of quilting.

The three co-owners -- Christina DeArmond, Eula Lang and Kaye Spitzli -- of Quilting Bits and Pieces, 736 Main St., began an ambitious quilt in summer 2003, featuring old photographs and journal entries of Spitzli's grandmother, Leoti Westerhouse, who was born in Douglas County in 1897 and died in 1994.

DeArmond said she got the idea to make a Douglas County historical quilt.

"We wanted to do a family quilt, but my family wasn't from around here, so we went with (Spitzli's) family," DeArmond said.

Spitzli said she was thrilled to use her grandma as the theme for the project, as she had several years worth of journal entries and many well-preserved photographs.

"I always wanted to do a family quilt," Spitzli said. "And we were in the shop when we were talking about doing a quilt locally to get the Eudora people involved."

Lang said the quilt project, named Golden's Journal, is exciting to work on and will prove to be an invaluable piece of Eudora's history.

"It brings history to life," Lang said. "It lets people know about the history of the area. Quilting is a tangible thing, people can touch it and get excited about it."

DeArmond said she is proud to work on a project of this magnitude.

"I think it's neat how someone's history can be presented to other people and how other people can relate to it," DeArmond said.

Spitzli said there were several steps in the creation of Golden's Journal, which is nearing completion.

"There is a process that you soak the fabric in a solution that makes (the material) stable for ink," Spitzli said. "Then, put it through the ink jet printer and rinse the excess ink out. Then, it's ready to be sewn on."

After all of the hard work, the quilt boasts 20 blocks on the front, each with its own design somehow symbolic to the life of Westerhouse. On the backside of each block is a journal entry from Westerhouse as well as a photograph to further describe the entry.

DeArmond said the quilt was a collaborative project, with each of the three women working on different aspects of it.

"(Lang) helped pick the fabrics out," DeArmond said. "She also helped to pick out blocks that went with each story line. (Spitzli) dug out old photos and got with her mom to discuss info for each block."

Spitzli said Golden's Journal is just one of several projects the trio is attempting to get published. She said they already have published a few patterns and have made a profit.

She said DeArmond acts as the group's bookkeeper, keeping everything organized and recording the money they make for the patterns they sell.

The group's published patterns are available at the local store as well as at the national quilt market in the fall and spring.

"We are selling the patterns," Spitzli said. "We aren't making great profits yet but we are selling them."

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