Area quilters raise funds for New Albin Library

The antique room featured a category of quilts of times past at the New Albin Quilt Show.<br />~ Jan Lee Buxengard/The Caledonia Argus
The antique room featured a category of quilts of times past at the New Albin Quilt Show.
~ Jan Lee Buxengard/The Caledonia Argus

By Jan Lee Buxengard

Caledonia Argus


The Pieces in Time Quilt Show at the Community Center in New Albin, Iowa, included a magnificent array of color, design and meticulous handiwork of area quilters. Held during the weekend of Oct. 11-13, the event was sponsored by the New Albin Public Library to support the needs of the library. The quilt show takes place in alternate years with the Northeast Iowa Quilters show in Decorah.

“This year we raised just over $2,500,” reported Lisa Fruechte, co-organizer of the event with Karen Darling. “The library will use some of the money for the community education program to give opportunity to the people of the area for fun events as well as educational programs.

“Our first show was held in the spring of 2006,” she explained, “then 2007 in the fall, and from then on it has been every two years. This year was the fifth show we’ve had.”

The first benefit raised funds to support the Rushford Community Library with its recovery from flood damage. In 2009, the event raised almost $1,900 to fix computers and to purchase magazines and books for the New Albin Public Library. In 2011, the $1,400 raised was used to get the library automated – to catalog all the books and equipment to do the work.

On Thursday night business people, individuals and people from the Allamakee Economic Development, who were meeting in town, came for a sneak peak of the quilt show. Wine, cheese and chocolate were offered during this time.

Over the three-day event, this year’s quilt show drew an attendance of 305, which is 100 more than last year, with visitors coming from a good variety of the tri-state area, and even someone from Oklahoma.

On display were about 200 quilts, 21 cow quilts, and 50 items in the antique room, plus purses, jackets and vests to look at. These were brought in by quilters and residents in the expanded tri-state area around New Albin.

Among some comments from attendees were: “Love the antique room.” “Lots of talent in this area.” “I am not into sewing, but I really enjoyed looking at all the fabulous quilts.”


Cow quilts featured

“We didn’t have a featured artist this year,” Fruechte noted. “Instead, this year’s feature was 21 cow quilts made by quilters in the Loose Threads Quilting group of New Albin. This was part of the group’s library effort to bring laughter to the quilt show.

At a quilter’s retreat held in New Albin, basic directions for the cow quilt were learned from the book “Out of the Box with Easy Blocks,” by Mary Lou Weidman and Melanie Bautista McFarland.

“We all got hepped up about this pattern,” Karen Darling said. The quilters used the basic pattern and embellished on it using their varied imaginations. “And,” she added, “it started out with just a few making one, then they found out it was so much fun, everyone else wanted to make one, too. Some even made three!”

Some of the themes were: “Cow-Punzel” and “Ferdinand,” who is part of the “Purple Cow Herd,” both made by Arlis Myhre of New Albin; “Flood Cow,” made by Carolyn Clark of Postville, Iowa, commemorates the June 23, 2013, flood that hit Allamakee County when the Yellow River hit the highest level ever seen in the quilt shop. There was seven feet of water in the basement, but nothing made it to the first floor, she noted.

“Elsie the Border Cow” was created by Susie Blake of Dorchester, because she lives close to Minnesota, and also has a special great aunt named Elsie.

“Bessy Ross” was made by Karen Darling; Peggy Landsom and daughters Stephanie and Amanda of Spring Grove created “Garden Cow” and “Camo-Cow.”

Lisa Fruechte made three cow quilts, namely “Shakers & Moo-vers,” and “The Cow Jumped Over the Moon,” and a Green Bay Packer interpretation titled “Did Someone Say Pack Attack?”

A pizza theme, titled “Moo-zarella,” was made by Cindy Spiker of Prairie du Chien, Wis.

“I loved all the cow quilts, the creativity was fun!” echoed many of the attendees.


The New Albin Quilt

Earlier this year, another project taken on by a group of New Albin ladies was to make a “New Albin Quilt” highlighting the beauty of the area and events and activities in Northeast Iowa. Blocks for the quilt were designed to include downtown New Albin businesses, state line survey marker, Fish Farm Mounds, canoeing, farming, bald eagles, turkeys, mushrooms, the river, hunting, fishing, etc. The designs were given to those who like to sew and quilt, and they created the panels. After assembly, Arliss Myhre did the quilting. The quilt was made for the Fred Wiemerslage benefit and Donna Mitchell won it. She in turn gave it to the Amy Monloe benefit for a raffle quilt, and Donna again won it.


Civil War Soldiers Quilt

Another unique project on display at the quilt show was the Allamakee County Civil War memorial quilt made by Carolyn Clark, Dianne Clark Rissman and Sara Straate as part of Allamakee County Thunder in the Park Civil War Re-enactment in June 2013. The names of almost 200 soldiers are organized on the quilt according to the unit they were fighting in at the time of their death.



Faye Utecht of Spring Grove demonstrated primitive rug hooking and also applique the easy way using no-melt mylar. On Sunday afternoon, she was explaining the applique technique to Belva (Hosch) Becker of New Albin. Now 85 years young, Becker has made 95 quilts since 1990. They are all big bed size, no baby quilts.


Best Show

Co-organizers of the show commented afterward about the event. “This is the best show we have ever done,” stated, Karen Darling. “The camaraderie was so amazing!”

Lisa Fruechte shared, “The support from the people that brought their items in and helped set up the show make it a real community event. When Alberta Troendle of Lansing, who is 93 years old, brought her quilt in that she started when she was 91, it made our day. That is why it is so rewarding to do this show.” And, the organizers echoed, “We are already fired up to do the show again in two years.”


Quilt show winners

The raffle quilt, made by Lynn Herman with a black and white color scheme, was won by Kris Curry of New Albin. Dianne Rissman won the items given away in the To Sew raffle, and Judy Stiner of Spring Grove was the winner in the Not To Sew raffle.