Our Hearts – Our Hands

Article and Pictures by Kathy Sax


A Treasure      by Mildred Hatfield

It’s more than a coverlet,

More than a spread,

This beautiful quilt

That graces my bed.

It’s laughter and sorrow,

It’s pleasure and pain,

It’s small bits and pieces

Of sunshine and rain.

It’s a bright panorama

Of scraps of my life-

It’s moments of glory,

It’s moments of strife.

It’s a story I cherish

Of days that have been,

It’s a door I can open

To live them again.

Yes, it’s more than a cover,

This much-treasured quilt,

It’s parts pieced together

Of the life I have built.


As a child, I remember the weekly quilting bees at our local church where the ladies would meet and share their love of quilting, creating works of art that were as individual as the quilters themselves; like snowflakes, no two were alike.  The quilts were raffled at the church picnic to raise money for the paris 


We have one of the largest Quilter’s Guild in the St Louis area: Hearts and Hands Quilt Guild. This group of women and men of all age ranges meets monthly in O’Fallon, Illinois.  Darlene Pratte, who has been active in the group for 5  years, explained,  “We are lucky to have such diversity in our membership. Due to our proximity to Scott Air Force, base we have a lot of military family members from all over the world  that participate in our Guild, which brings variety and fresh ideas to the table.”


Hearts and Hands has charitable offerings called comfort quilts which are small quilts that are handed to the local police department.  The officers in return will use them on occasion to bring warmth and security to a child in need.


Quilts of Valor is a way to tell a soldier “touched by war” how what they have done for our country is appreciated. These are a collaboration by a team — each member with their own job to do; sewing, cutting, binding, etc. Together they create a masterpiece which is handed off to wounded serviceman to heal and comfort them. Darlene said at the last presentation of WWII veterans, “There was not a dry eye in the place.” The recipients were touched that someone cared enough to honor them with a  gift from the heart.


Hearts and Hands is proudly sponsoring a ”Quilts From the Heart” show on June 6th from 10 to 5 p.m. and June 7th, from 11 to 4 p.m. at Whiteside Middle School in Belleville. Admission is $5 at the door. I encourage everyone to support the arts and honor this group of talented artisans.  The event will include raffles, vendors, appraisals, quilting demonstrations, and of course, beautiful quilts.


This show will also showcase quilts by Megan Knobeloch from Belleville, Illinois who has been quilting since 1992.  Megan shared the following on her Etsy site:


“Through our quilt guild, I was able to absorb so much wonderful information from the prolific quilters that spoke to us and shared their beautiful quilts. I also started designing my quilts through quilt design software — what a wonderful invention! I also paint and was able to merge these two loves back in 2007. I now paint my own fabric and merge them with the commercially printed fabric in my ‘stash'”.

The history of quilting goes back to the 1700”s.  Women settlers would use the scraps of fabrics in order to create  a quilt of necessity used coverings for warmth and in the doorways to block drafts. Quilts in later times were more intricate – fabrics handpicked often auditioned to create their special storyboard. Some passed on from generation to generation .


Wedding Ring, Log Cabin, Lone Star, Storm at Sea…all stepping blocks that quilters use to create their art. Names that, in themselves, represent part of the American heritage, each telling their own story. Even by using the exact same block, quilter’s can transform their piece into an entirely different creation by using different colors, prints and textures of fabric.


During WWI in the early 1900’s, quiltmaking became more important than ever before – the government urged citizens to “Make Quilts – Save the Blankets for our Boys over There.” Quilts became a way to raise money for our troops and gain awareness of what our country was going through and what it stood for.


Once again in World War II, quilts were used to sell for fundraising for the Red Cross. The “signature quilt” became especially popular. For these quilts, local businesses, school and citizens would pay small amounts of money to have their name embroidered on it as a token of support. These were raffled off and the money given to the Red Cross – the quilts remain part of local history.



The milestone bicentennial of our country showed a surge in the popularity of quilts and quiltmaking that had slumped off since the 1950’s. These each reflected the patriotism that we shared and the history of our country.

In the 21st century, quilting continues. Memory and awareness quilts represent everything from the victims of AIDS to transplant patient’s collages each telling his/her story to treasures representing individual families lives.


Modern quilting is something that is catching on across America as a new form of the art. Modern Quilt Guild says, “We define modern quilts as quilts that are functional, include bold colors, and are inspired by modern design.  Minimalism, asymmetry, expansive negative space, and alternative grid work are often a part of the modern quilt compositions….”


Who:  Hearts ‘N’ Hands Quilt Guild

What:  Quilts From The Heart Quilt Show

Where:  Whiteside Middle School, Belleville

When:  June 6: 10am-5pm  /  June 7: 11am-4pm