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Despite no quilt show this year, the 75 members of the Prairie Piecemakers Quilt Guild have shown: A Passion For Quilting

Staff photos by Jeremy Behnke (Left to right): Carol Waibel, Roxy DeRock and Lisa Schwartz hold a quilt that was to be the raffle quilt at the 2020 New Ulm Quilt Show. The show has been canceled, but the quilts have built a bond for many of the members of the Prairie Piecemakers Quilt Guild.

NEW ULM — Mary Jean Janni and Mary Ann Wolf are among about 75 quilters in the New Ulm Area who are dealing with disappointment after the 2020 New Ulm Quilt Show was canceled due to the coronavirus. The show is now scheduled for April 17-18, 2021.

However, the two are still active quilters in the Prairie Piecemakers Quilt Guild and have used quilting as a hobby over the years and it has turned into a passion for all of the members. The members are enthusiasts who share their love of fabric, design, color and the finished product.

The Guild, which was formed in 1994, meets September through May on the second Thursday of the month at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in New Ulm for anyone interested in becoming a member.

Wolf has been a member of the Prairie Piecemakers Quilt Guild for about 10 years.

“I’ve always wanted to quilt and when I retired, I jumped into it,” the retired teacher said. “This is my retirement work.”

Wolf said that she was going to enter seven quilts in the New Ulm Quilt Show and those are some of the quilts that she’s finished in the last two years.

Janni has been a member for a lot longer than Wolf. However, she didn’t have a lot of time to devote to her new-found hobby and it took a while to get going.

“I probably started going to the quilt meetings in about 1998 and I went because I took a class with Alice Forst,” Janni said. “It was so much fun, that I wanted to continue. But there wasn’t a lot of time for me to quilt, so I’d got to the meetings and be and be inspired and then I’d go home and I’d just sit on that.”

The two have built a lot of friendships through the Prairie Piecemakers Quilt Guild.

“Definitely the camaraderie and just being together,” Wolf said. “Some of the quilts are absolute works of art. They’re so gorgeous and we have such talented quilters. It’s a lot of work to put on [the quilt show] but it’s a lot of fun, also.”

Janni agreed.

“I think quilting is such a creative venture,” Janni said. “And for us to be able to spend our evenings in winter quilting instead of watching television or what have you, it’s just so wonderful. Also, there are a lot of stories of people who healed through quilting. They lost their husband or someone dear to them and turned to quilting and they found hope again.”

Janni said that some of the quilters had family members who taught them the beginnings of the hobby.

“I think a lot of us had moms who encouraged us to sew,” she said. “Some people in our guild learned to sew when they were 6-years old and they had fabric and that’s just the beginning.”

The New Ulm Quilt Show, which was originally supposed to run on April 3 and 4 at the New Ulm Event Center, was to feature more than 400 quilts or other items such as wall hangings, table runners, gift baskets, bags and many other smaller items. The show itself draws people from Minnesota, Iowa, South Dakota for the most part.

The show is meant to share the love of quilting and inspire others to join in the fun of quilt making. It includes many vendors, including Spinning Spools, The Thimble Box and Sewing Seeds Quilt Company in New Ulm. There are also special exhibits including mystery quilts, Kids Who Quilt and Compassion Quilts, which go out to people in the area who have experienced difficulties such as fire, medical issues, accidents, etc.

In addition, Stitch of Hope quilts are made for the New Ulm Medical Clinic Oncology Unit for cancer patients and quilts of valor are made for the Brown County Veterans locally. Tummy Time quilts are smaller quilts made for new babies and moms.

For more information, follow the Prairie Piecemakers Quilt Guild on Facebook or check out the website at newulmquiltshow.com

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