Free quilts for all! (when you work here 10 years)

Posted by on June 26, 2012, in quilting & sewing, ,

All Stars from American Jane's Quilts for All SeasonsWhen Linda Astle started working as a receptionist at Martingale, making a quilt was quite possibly the furthest thing from her mind. Unlike most of the employees here, Linda didn’t quilt, or sew, or knit, or crochet. And she had no interest in learning.

We were convinced this would change (How could it not? Being surrounded by quilts is endlessly inspiring!), but as the years passed, Linda laughingly resisted all attempts to get her interested in quilting. She was happy to do some scrapbooking now and again, but that’s where her creative interests ended. Until, that is, it was time to start thinking about her anniversary quilt.

One of the favorite benefits of working at Martingale is that every employee receives a quilt on their tenth anniversary. Nancy Martin started this generous tradition in 1987 and continued it until she retired in 2007. Employees could choose a quilt Nancy had made for one of her books or request one in a specific size and color. Nancy laughs now when she recalls that some employees were not embarrassed to request a king-size quilt. She honored all requests, including a king-size Feathered Star!

The first two employees to receive quilts began working at That Patchwork Place when it was housed in a room above the Martin’s garage. Through 20 years, several address changes, and many employees, Nancy worked on all the quilts herself and had them hand-quilted by Amish quilters in Pennsylvania. Although employee turnover at Martingale is very low, that still adds up to a lot of quilts over the years. When Nancy retired, the employees were reluctant to let the tradition die, and so, organized by illustrator Laurel Strand, they worked together to create group quilts.

Linda with her anniversary quilt
Linda with her anniversary quilt

Linda's first quiltWhen it was Linda’s turn to choose a pattern, she knew exactly what she wanted. She had fallen in love with Sandy Klop’s design “All Stars” from the book American Jane’s Quilts for All Seasons. She liked it so much, in fact, that she carried a picture of it in her purse for two years before her anniversary. She was so thrilled when she received it that she redecorated her bedroom to go with her new quilt. And then something funny happened. While putting the finished touches on her bedroom, Linda decided she’d like to have a matching wall hanging. But who would make it for her? Around the same time, her sister mentioned that she’d like to learn to quilt. In no time at all, they started taking classes together, and Linda is now just as passionate about quilting as the rest of us (and her wall hanging, shown at right, is wonderful).

Part of the fun surrounding the anniversary quilts is seeing what patterns and colors the employees choose. The patterns all come from That Patchwork Place books, but you never know what project might have caught someone’s eye. Here’s Cornelia Gauger, Customer Service Rep, with her gorgeous “Kansas Troubles” quilt from Nancy Martin’s book, A Treasury of Scrap Quilts. Cornelia opted for a red and white quilt similar to the one in the book.

Cornelia with her anniversary quilt

In contrast, Account Manager Leanne Clare chose bright, cheery colors reminiscent of her beloved Hawaii, where she once lived. Her quilt, “UFO Complete,” is a Lynn Roddy Brown design (from Simple Strategies for Block-Swap Quilts).

Leanne with her anniversary quilt

My favorite part of the anniversary quilt tradition is that everyone is included, from the senior managers to the guys in the warehouse who pack the boxes to our IT guru, Chad Mangel. Here’s Chad smiling over the top of his quilt, “Trip Squared” by Laurie Shifrin (from Batik Beauties).

Chad with his anniversary quilt

Chad received his quilt in 2009, the year before Sheila Ryan, Senior Copy Editor, received hers. Sheila’s pattern is “Pressed Flowers” by Jean van Bockel, from the book Quilts from Larkspur Farm.

Sheila with her anniversary quilt

Seeing someone’s pleasure at receiving a quilt made by their friends and coworkers is rewarding. Even those of us who are dedicated quilters love to receive a quilt made especially for us. Keeping this tradition going is one more way we share our enthusiasm for quilting and for our team here at Martingale.

You can view more of our staff anniversary quilts on Flickr.

Have you ever helped make a group quilt? Who was it for, and what was the occasion? Share your story in the comments.

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