26 Star Flag Quilt
Mio, Oscoda County, Michigan
Cotton with polyester filling
50 1/2” x 72”
Photo by KEVA, all rights reserved Michigan State
Interviewed at her Fairview, Michigan, home in the summer of 1986,
Donna Esch reported that her earliest recollections of quilt-related
activities were her experiences of piecing and embroidering at age
eight. She said that growing up in the Mio-Fairview Mennonite community
"everybody in the community quilted-all had homemade bedding."
She also recalled "quiltings" during the winter when quilters
would begin around nine o'clock in the morning and quilt to, but
not past, supper time.
Esch recounted several strong family quilt traditions in her area.
She received her first quilt as a present for her hope chest and,
thanks to gifts from various relatives, had 16 quilts on the day
she was married, including a Friendship quilt from Detroit, three
from her grandmother, and "some" from her mother.
Esch regularly participates in the annual Mennonite Relief Sale
held at the Oscoda County Fairgrounds and in 1986 made two crib
quilts, one queen-size quilt, and one machine made coverlet to be
auctioned off. She also makes quilts for other Mennonite communities
that have relief sales or fundraising efforts. For example, she
recently made a Kansas Sunflower quilt of her own design for a quilt
auction held by Heston College (a Mennonite college) in Kansas to
raise scholarship money for students.
In addition to her quilting activities with family and fellow church
members, Esch also shows her quilts in secular shows.