By GAIL PARSONS
On a cold winter’s night there’s nothing better than snuggling under a warm cozy blanket – unless you’re snuggling under a warm cozy quilt made just for you with love and care.
A quilt is more than just a utilitarian blanket. Every step from the design, to the fabrics chosen is done with careful consideration. And when a quilter has that quilt top finished, whether it’s a compilation of high school t-shirts or a special pictorial pieced quilt, the next step is vital to the quality completion of that quilt.
That’s where Sherry Osland owner of Praise Works Quilting come into the picture. Inside her little shop, that was originally a blacksmith shop built in 1934, at 1216 NW Third St., Osland will long-arm quilt the top, the batting, and the back together in any one of a variety of patterns or designs.
Long-arm quilting as a business was a natural progression from her love of quilting that started reluctantly.
“My sister took me to Nebraska state quilt show in the early 80s. I didn’t want to go because all I could see was one more thing I would end up liking with no time to do,” she said.
She was half right; Osland ended up
loving quilting especially when her sister showed her the level of art that is involved.
She was wrong about not having time to do it, so to speak – it became her full-time job. And when her friends Arden and Carol Peterson actually purchased a building and became her landlords, she knew that this business was meant to be.
“God has given me my talents,” she said. She does what she can to use those talents to benefit others. In front room of her shop, she has her long-arm quilter set up and she does her work. In the back room, there is room for a group of ladies who call themselves “Sew Promises Quilt Ministry.”
Out of this back room come quilts that are made with love and prayer to be given to people in need and others. Quilts have been given to families who lost their homes in fire, people going through medical trials, and to soldiers who are deploying.
“One of our ladies moved to Denver, we gave her one,” she said.
She writes a column for the Country Register called Quilts the Redeem, in which she tells the stories about the quilts the ladies have made. She compiled several of the stories into a book by the same name that sells for $15 plus tax ($16.26).
Proceeds from the book benefit the ministry of Rachel and Dinesh Chand in Northern India. Osland said she met Dinesh by accident when he called her, but had the wrong number.
One of the stories in the book is about a quilt that was given to a military family, when the soldier deployed he took his quilt. One day while he was out on patrol, his tent was hit.
“He took with him his quilt, family pictures and a bible. When he got back, what he was able to salvage was anything the quilt was on top of,” she said.
She believes that God had a reason for her to attend that quilt show so many years ago, and through quilting she can serve the Lord with her artistic talents. While some art critics may question categorizing quilts as an art rather than a craft, Osland’s work could put some of those questions to rest.
“My motto is ‘if I can draw it, I can quilt it’,” she said. “My art quilts, I have actually designed from start to finish. Sometimes I use dyes, and fabric markers.”
She also utilizes a process called thread play, which is a buildup of thread to create a design. These techniques produce results not very different than what an artist would apply to a multi-media piece on canvas. Rather than using a fine brush or pen and ink for outlining, she will use thread, sometimes around motifs that she painted on using fabric dyes or markers.
Despite staying busy with the many aspects of quilting that she does, Osland is still finding new projects to try. Her most recent venture has been with braided rugs, a process that she has fallen in love with.
“I am just out here. God brings (ideas) to me. I think there is a reason I am doing the rugs, I’m just waiting for direction,” she said.
Until she gets that direction she will continue putting all her idea into the fabrics and dabbling with any other creative venture that comes her way.
“A person with a creative mind can be cursed as well as blessed,” she said.
This is one in a series of articles featuring Abilene artists and craftsmen. To recommend an artist to be featured, e-mail Gail Parsons at firstname.lastname@example.org.