Monday, September 22, 2008

Ties that bind.....

While reading Lucy's blog, a Dutch quilter, I found out there was a quilt show up in Friesland. I was happy to find out that I was just in time to still be able to visit it. This quilt show was small but very special for two reasons ~ it is about a very couragous and special woman who worked during WWII to refugees and it gave me ties that bind me back to my home in Ohio.

The quilt show was in a tiny church in the village of Witmarsum. It is the birthplace of Menno Simons who is the founding father of the Mennonite faith. These were the ties that bind back to Ohio where there is a large Mennonite community. It is seeing quilts in Amish country as a girl that got me started as a quilter.

This is the story of An and Lynn. It is story of Lynn discovering some old American quilts in the Dutch countryside and then discovering an amazing story behind those quilts. You can find the English version of this book here. I can recommend it for anyone interested in quilting or in stories connected to WWII.

The quilts were sent to An during the war to help keep refugees warm through the Mennonites back in the US.

The show was nicely presented with historic information hanging throughout the quilt racks.

It spoke of the sewing circles working to make these quilts and this photo is of a group of girls working on quilts in Lima, Ohio. Don't forget, you can click on the photos to enlarge them.

It is a very precious thing that these quilts have survived the years for us to see and connect to the stories of people searching for freedom from the violence of war.

If you visit Ohio Amish country, you can hear the story of how the Amish and Mennonites came to America. There you can view a painting of the very ship shown on this photo - HMS Volendam.

Holland became a refuge for those fleeing the oppression of communism in many Eastern European countries especially the Ukraine. Here you see the special pass they received.

I must admit that I had two favorites among the quilt shown. The first was the indigo blue nine-patch quilt shown above. The second was this log cabin quilt.

Look at all the beautiful vintage fabrics! This quilt was believed to have been made up of two quilts being sewn together as the barn raising pattern is not quite right when it is seen in its totality.

I fell in love with this photo of the little boy. He has the sweetest smile! If you look closely, you can see his very broken wooden shoe.

We went to visit the Menno Simons monument after the quilt show. I photographed the guide for you to read. This steel construction stands like a shadow of the old brick church. As you can see, it was a beautiful autumn day!

Some of the original bricks from the church were used for this part of the monument.

This day left a lasting impression on me which I would love to share with you. I purchased a set of these gift cards to give away to one of you. Just leave a comment on this entry and I will draw a name by the end of this week. Please leave your email address if you do not have a blog so I can contact you.


Nancy said...

Wow, I am really impressed with this show. I know in Amish Country they have a place you can go hear about the Amish and Menonites and they do say they came from Holland. Those quilts are really old. I love the picture of the little girls at the sewing machines, and the poor little boy needed new wooden shoes.
Very nice entry.
Love you, Mom
PS: I bet it mean't a lot more to you than to most people since you are fom Ohio

Frugal Finds said...

Very cool blog!! Happy to have found you!!

Anonymous said...

Very interesting reading. We will have to tell the Mennonite Museum people in Bunker Hill,Ohio about this place. They should know of it.Love you,
Nancy's other 1/2

Helen said...

Thank you for sharing. Sadly I missed this show. But I've got the book :)

Annemarie said...

Please include me in the drawing for the postcards, Heidi, they look wonderful. And such a story behind them and behind the quilt show. Is it very silly of me to say that I wouldn't expect to find something like this in The Netherlands? At the Textielmuseum in Tilburg, perhaps but in Witmarsum? Anyway, after reading your entry I understand why, and I'm thoroughly impressed. Thank you so much for your detailed report and for sharing your pictures!

Elizabethd said...

Heidi what history was all around you there. What an amazing place to visit, so much more fascinating than 'just' a quilt show.
The Amish people and their quilts have always been a particular interest of mine. I wish I was near enough to go there.

Saskia said...

Love the story, and what a shame I missed it.
Need to go to friesland more often.

Linda said...


Thanks so much for sharing this with me. One day I hope to go to Amish country in Ohio. The book you mentioned is going on my wishlist for sure! I loved all of the quilts you took pictures of - and I too, fell in love with that little boy - what a sweet smile!

Linda in VA

Anonymous said...

We are going to Friesland for a short stay next weekend. What a pity that I am too late to visit the exhibition in Witwarsum. I love the story and the quilts. The cards too!
Groetjes, Elly

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful show, thanks for sharing with us. You photos are great. I really like those notecards so please enter me.
Sue Cahill (bonetsue at yahoo dot com)

Robin C said...

What a great show and you must have had a wonderful day. Love the quilts. I've been to the Ohio Amish area and it's wonderful. Their story is amazing and they are such giving people. I'll have to read the english version of your story.

Robin in Virginia

Ginny said...

What an interesting show! We've been to Amish country in both Pennsylvania and Ohio, and always enjoy things that remind us of those trips. Thanks for sharing!

Jo said...

Thankyou Heidi for another very interesting post,beautiful old quilts made with such love and purpose.I love the photo of the ladies and girls at the quilting group making the quilts and the little boy and his shoes.Thanks again for sharing

Beatrice said...

What a wonderful story and great photos.
Thanks for sharing!

Pondside said...

Hello Heidi - it's so good to know that exhibits such as this are mounted to bring to life thewonderful stories from the past. As those with living memory of the dark days of war pass on, it becomes more and more important for us to tell the stories of bravery and generosity as well as the stories of suffering.

mainely stitching said...

I'll have to follow that link, as one of my best friends lives down in that part of Ohio and loves the quilts and history ... thanks. This is a lovely post. I so enjoy hearing how we're connected to each other through our needles!

Please enter me in your drawing, too. ;)

Suzann said...

How interesting!

Berglind said...

Wow, how exciting! I'm buying the book. Thank you for sharing this, I feel like I was ther myself at the museum

Lynda (Granny K) said...

Thank you so much for the wonderful pictures and information. I have just ordered the book from Amazon UK.
Your Bronwyn bear is lovely. I have one very much like her called Albert Abernethy!

Kay said...

I enjoyed this post so much. It tied to me as our ds & ddil live near the Amish/Mennonite communities in Ohio and there is a large Mennonite community right here close to me in Neb.

Another way that the internet brings us all closer together.

A Joyful Chaos said...

Someone gave me the link to this post and thought I might enjoy it. I am glad they did! I am off now to read some of your newer posts.