Sadly our guild has lost a longtime quilter and guild member Edna Snyder who passed away in December at the age of 90. Obituary
Edna and her daughter Marilyn Erskine have been members of our guild since the guild's founding, with her daughter Joyce Murray (our guild treasurer) joining later. Her daughter Jackie has been quilting for many years, and her youngest daughter Lori has just started quilting.
Edna was recognized as our Quilter of Distinction at our 2017 quilt show, and she participated in our recent Sew Day in November along with her daughters Joyce Murray and Marilyn Erskine, both members of our guild.
Joyce and Marilyn have kindly shared some memories of their mom and her passion for quilting.
I remember when Mum started quilting. We didn’t call it quilting then, but just sewing, as she made blankets from old wool coats to keep us warm. Wish I had some of those now. She was always a sewer and would enter shirts, PJs, and dresses in the local (Carberry) fair, and usually win the prizes. My brothers always had matching shirts and PJs, which would be passed on to younger siblings. They never seemed to wear out.
It was much later when times became easier and time more available that she started quilting. She was very proud of her hand quilting and for many years it wasn’t a quilt if it wasn’t hand quilted. No wonder it took me so long to take up quilting myself. I knew I would never hand quilt.
My daughter Kelly is also a quilter with amazing talent for colour choice and fine work. Mother was proud to have a granddaughter involved in the ‘cult’.
-- Joyce Murray
For as long as I can remember Mom was a sewer and a quilter, starting out more from necessity than anything else. Cutting out squares from old wool suits, sewing them together, backing this with flannel was the beginning of her love to sew.
She grew up during the war years where everything had a use. Clothes were repurposed into our new clothes. I remember a blue pinafore dress made for me which won first prize at the local fair. This was a big deal in the 50's.
Mom's Singer Featherweight was always running. Clothes for seven children, home accessories and Christmas gifts. One gift for Christmas that I still have is a reversible red corduroy/black felt skating outfit. (Wish I could still fit that.)
So more formal quilting was a natural progression to her love of sewing. After our father died in 1983, she moved back to Arnprior, joined Emmanuel Anglican Church to sing and the Arnprior Quilt Guild to sew. The quilts began to come, fast and furious. In the following years she made no less than sixty full size quilts, many wall hangings and dozens of baby quilts. Her favourites were the most colourful. Every child (7), grandchild (20), and great-grandchild (16), received a piece of her work. Many more quilts for “Quilts of Valour”, women’s shelter, and little preemie quilts for the babies in the neo-natal unit at the Civic Campus of the Ottawa Hospital were sewn.
Always busy, criticizing herself if she didn’t have a project on the go. Like all quilters her home was full of material, unfinished patterns and accessories. She used that Singer Featherweight as her main machine until she died. The more modern Husqvarna never did work properly!
The greatest gift our mother gave me was this love of sewing. At ten years of age I received my first sewing machine. She taught me how to copy a pattern and we would sew together at the large kitchen table, she with her Singer and I with my manual machine. By twelve I was allowed to use her Singer.
So with Mom's passing, there’s many unfinished projects for us to finish for her. All that material was split up between four daughters and charities. Have we got our work cut out for us!
Mom was a true Worker Bee, quietly doing what needed to be done, never expecting anything in return. She loved going out, anywhere, but certainly mostly to material shops.
Mom surprised a daughter of mine with her own Singer Featherweight and was quite anxious to know how she liked it. Now there’s another sewer/future quilter in our midst and so the tradition continues.
-- Marilyn Erskine
Edna's four daughters surprised her with this beautiful family memory quilt for her 90th birthday in April 2017. This gift of love was pieced by Marilyn and Joyce, quilted by Jackie, and Lori helped with the binding.
Grandson David Snyder's quilt always hangs in his living room in Australia to remember his grandmother Edna.