Michigan Quilt Project
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Quilts Made in Michigan

26 Star Flag Quilt
Donna Esch
Mio, Oscoda County, Michigan
Cotton with polyester filling
50 1/2” x 72”
MSUM 6610.1
Photo by KEVA, all rights reserved Michigan State University Museum

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.

Esch also made a Map of Michigan quilt in the Museum's collection.

In 1988, Esch received a Michigan Heritage Award.

From Michigan Quilts: 150 Years of a Textile Tradition

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