Last month I presented my Compass Capers lecture to a Modern quilt guild just north of Milwaukee. It’s a delightful group and I had a lovely time. One of the quilts I bring to show in the talk was a gift to me from a different quilt guild I belonged to many years ago ~ Common Threads. I was President of that group for 2 years and when I stepped down I had the wonderful surprise of being given a quilt from the guild. It has a Mariner’s Compass at the center which is surrounded by autographed rail fence blocks.
The making of the quilt was supervised by a friend named Valeria Peterson, with help from Pat Smith. Valeria made the center compass, hand-quilted the entire lap sized quilt and added the prairie point border.
I was not only surprised, and appreciative, but overwhelmed by the beauty and workmanship of this wonderful quilt! It was a joy to read the names and messages from all my guild friends.
It goes without saying that Valeria was a talented quilter. She had some physical struggles and suffered with pain a lot of the time, but that didn’t stop her from being an amazingly generous person. She also had a passion for animals and veterans, and donated quilts, supplies and money to be a blessing to many. I’ve always felt honored to have a quilt made by her and I snuggle under it often.
Well, after my talk to the Modern guild I received a lovely note from their President that included this message:
“There was no time to share a Valeria story with you. I was so touched to see one of her projects at the meeting. She was also a member of our Guild AND a frequent and generous donor to our charitable project, Quilts of Thanks.
She would routinely stop at Material Matters and hand in a check for $1,000 to purchase fabrics for Veteran’s quilts. I was blessed to longarm quilt the very last quilt purchased with those funds right after she died, and which included some blocks she had made just before her death. Fast forward a couple of months, and a lady posted in Nextdoor Thiensville that her son, a Navy LT. was coming home on leave after many months serving on a submarine. She had recently moved to Thiensville, from another suburb, but had no family in the area to welcome her son home. The community rallied around her and her son, and there were probably 75 people with balloons, streamers, signs…and me, with a patriotic quilt….the one I just described. Instead of putting my name on the quilt label as a maker, I chose to put Valeria’s name on that label. We presented the quilt to the son, and as they were looking it over, the Mom, who is a Nurse Practitioner, gasped.
She was Valeria’s nurse practitioner, and had taken care of her in the last weeks and moments of her life. And that, I would say, was Divine Intervention. Valeria’s gift, to a woman who meant so much to her, after her death. So that is my Valeria story! Hugs, Joan”
I wrote her back and asked if she could provide me with more information for a possible blog post and if she had any photos of Valeria. she responded with these photos and a portion of the news article:
“Lt. Sean Condon US Navy received a Quilt of Thanks this afternoon at a community celebration welcoming him home from deployment. It was awesome to see so many members of the community turn out!”
Assistance in piecing additional blocks was from Suzanne Grohe and Joan Cain. Quilting by Joan Cain. Pieced blocks and fabric from Valeria Petersen. ”
in closing Joan wrote:
“We always say that the quilts pick their recipients….there are a lot of stories, and if you didn’t have faith before you started…you do after you’ve been a part of it all! Joan“
This is a wonderful story and tribute to Valeria and I felt you’d want to read about her too. The problem was – Valeria was a very humble person and didn’t like to have her photograph taken. But the story continues. A few weeks ago I taught for the Common Threads quilt guild and asked if anyone had a photo or story they’d be willing to share. Laurie was kind enough to go through their photo archives and get me permission to copy a few of the pics. I loved this one from when we were on the guild board together. Valeria is the tall one in the middle, Pat Smith is far left and I’m far right.
And here’s their copy of my quilt:
This next one is of Valeria during guild show and tell in 2018:
And with one of her dog quilts:
I am so grateful to say that I was a friend of this wonderful woman, and happy to share a small bit of her story with you. If anyone has any Valeria stories they’d like to share, please include them in a comment to this post.
Also ~ After reading my stained glass side lights post (click here to read about it), a few friends sent me photos of stained glass quilts they’d made. Kay sent me her Sunflower:
Laurie said she made her landscape in a class with Wendy Kleman who had them use grosgrain ribbon as the leading:
Lovely quilts! Thanks ladies!