Diane Rusch Zinn, A Wedding Quilt

Diane Rusch Zinn, 1960

It was 1993, and our daughter Lauri was engaged to be married on June 25, 1994.  What would be a perfect gift for her and her fiance Brion?  It didn’t take me long to settle on making a quilt, not just any quilt, but one pieced from the stash of fabric remnants I had kept from all the clothes I had made for her from infancy to her times of being a bridal attendant.  The thought of doing this was daunting.  Although I had learned to quilt  from a friend, who happened to be one of the best in the world, I had never dared such a major project.  And major it was.

First of all, I was using the White sewing machine my parents had given me for Christmas my senior year at East.  No up to date, fancy stitching assistance on that!  Secondly, this was a time when we made our own templates for each piece of the quilt pattern.  For me, that was lightweight cardboard from the backs of tablets.  Needless to say, the measurements weren’t precise.  Scissors were the cutting utensil, not the cutting wheels of today.  Add to that the fact that the remnants I had saved were a variety of thicknesses – regular cotton, denim, etc. – so piecing was more precarious.  I settled on four colors to use – red, yellow, blue, and green – to assure some kind of order in the pattern.

I have no idea how many months it took me, but the sewing machine, ironing board, large table, and the heaps of fabric remained in one spot in our rec room for a long time.  But, I eventually finished a queen-size quilt, pieced by machine for the geometric areas and hand-quilted in the plain blue areas. The only fabric I introduced that wasn’t part of the Lauri originals was a deep blue print for the backing and edging.  All in all, I think I tallied around 400 hours from start to finish.


As part of this gift to Lauri and Brion, I composed the following:


A quilt is made of individual pieces, sometimes remnants of childhood, that fit together to form a precise, but unique, pattern. Without the pieces, there is no pattern; without the pattern, there is no whole.

A quilt is held together by handwork that does not show on its surface.  Therein lies its strength and durability.

A quilt is made of layers that give it depth and provide warmth and comfort.

A quilt is embellished with careful stitching and intricate detail to give it dimension and to enrich the design.

A quilt’s edges are held together by a binding to keep them straight and true.

A quilt is made to be enjoyed, but it must be handled with respect if it is to endure and be a treasure to those to whom it is first entrusted and also to those who follow.

Conclusion:  My “advice” seems to have been well taken.  Lauri and Brion recently celebrated their 28th wedding anniversary and are as strong as ever.


  1. glenna park 2 months ago

    That quilt represents many hours, days, and sometimes years of work. The special memory imbedded in this quilt is the memory of clothes. It is steeped in tradition as the second use of these special fabrics. There is a special pleasure in making a document of family history.

  2. Janice Collins Bailey 2 months ago

    Love that you started your quilt with fabrics from clothes you made your young daughter…that’s my favorite starting place. I love to use fabric that was first made and worn by someone who is important to me. I liked your comments about a good quilt.

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