|Photo By Krista Wilkinson/Intelligencer
By Krista Wilkinson
November 15, 2004
Reprinted with permission
Every time one of Lucille Finke's grandchildren gets married, they
always have a special present waiting for them -- one of her handmade quilts.
"One of our granddaughters got married the 18th of September so she got her quilt then," said Finke.
A Staunton resident, Finke has been making quilts for her children and grandchildren for more than 25 years, ever since her first grandson got married in the late 1970s. However, she doesn't take requests, preferring instead to tailor each quilt to the person as she sees fit.
"I just like to surprise them," she said. "I have them in mind when I make them."
Finke was first introduced to the art of quiltmaking by her mother when Finke was still a young girl. Later, when she and her husband of 64 years, Harold, were married she began quilting with her mother-in-law.
"It runs in the blood," said Harold, a carpenter who retired from Mechanics Planing Mill in Edwardsville. He now helps Finke with her quilts by making cabinets for her supplies and repairing her frames when necessary. According to Harold, the clamps for the frame Finke uses are at least 80 years old and probably more.
They were originally made by a local blacksmith who gave them to his wife. Later, she gave the clamps to Harold's mother, who in turn passed them down to Finke.
When she isn't making quilts for her family, Finke can be found quilting with the Ladies Aid at Trinity Lutheran Church in Worden. Every Thursday from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. for more than 25 years the members of the Ladies Aid have met up to do a bit of quilting and a bit of visiting.
"We look forward to that," said Finke. "There used to be a large group of ladies that quilted."
However, over the years those numbers have begun to dwindle as fewer young women have the time or inclination to take up quilting. These days, Finke said, they have around five members who come regularly.
"It seems to be a dying art because all of the younger ones don't seem to be interested or too busy with their families," said Finke.
Nevertheless, the members of the Ladies Aid still manage to have a good time while creating some beautiful quilts in the process. In fact, each year the ladies work especially hard on making a quilt for the church's annual dinner and auction.
They usually raise between $300 and $500 for their quilts, but for those who made it it's worth much more, according to Finke.
Her quilts have also been shown at local competitions, one of which even won the blue ribbon for best in show. Currently, Finke has 13 completed quilts tucked safely away in a special cedar chest that Harold made for her just waiting for the day they will be given away as a very special wedding present.
"I enjoy doing it and I think that the kids all appreciate their quilts," said Finke.
Reprinted with Permission from Krista Wilkinson
ŠEdwardsville Intelligencer 2004
117 N. Second St.
Edwardsville, IL 62025