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Local quilter, Linda Augsburg, of Joliet, has her work featured at the Orland Park Public Library, 14921 S. Ravinia Ave., Orland Park, through the month of April. (Supplied photos)

Local quilter, Linda Augsburg, of Joliet, has her work featured at the Orland Park Public Library, 14921 S. Ravinia Ave., Orland Park, through the month of April. (Supplied photos)

Orland Park Library celebrates art of quilting

By Kelly White

As a youth, Linda Augsburg was in a 4-H club where she learned how to sew. At the time, she did mostly garment sewing, but was always striving to learn more.

Today, through her years of dedicated ambition, she is known as an expert quilter.

“I continue to learn and explore so my skills will improve,” Augsburg, of Joliet, said. “I’m also lucky because quilting has brought me great friends who also enjoy the artform.”

A year after college graduation from Bradley University, she took on a job as an editorial assistant at a craft magazine.

“My experience in crafting and sewing and my ability to break down projects into simple steps for written instructions were a huge help,” Augsburg said.

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Local quilter, Linda Augsburg, of Joliet, has her work featured at the Orland Park Public Library, 14921 S. Ravinia Ave., Orland Park, through the month of April. She is pictured here alongside Mary Lynn Maloney, Outreach Assistant at the Orland Park Public Library.

While on staff with that magazine (the defunct McCall’s Needlework and Crafts), she produced a special-interest publication featuring instructions for antique and vintage quilts that were rented from a dealer specializing in those products.

A quilt expert, Liz Porter, founder of Fons & Porter’s Love of Quilting magazine, came to teach Augsburg the math of quilting, since many patterns are based on simple geometry, and also the basics of quilting and the details that can help ensure success.

“Already a lover of fabric and the prints and colors available, as well as being a mathlete in high school, I was intrigued by combining my love of geometry with the colors and patterns I could find in the stores, and started playing with creating simple quilt block designs,” Augsburg said. “I designed some projects for our next special issue.”

Augsburg then moved to Birmingham, Alabama, to help launch McCall’s Quilting magazine in 1993. After various moves around the country, she had the chance to design quilts for publication and also manage a quilt shop in Florida.

“My various positions at craft and hobby magazines have continued to let me play with the fabrics and patterns I love, often creating quilts as gifts for friends and family, as well as supporting charitable quilt projects, like Quilts of Valor, or sewn pillowcases for various charity programs,” Augsburg said. “Because of my love of quilting, I have also occasionally purchased vintage pieces or blocks. I’m lucky to have shared my penchant for fabric and quilts with my recently deceased mother, and we often discussed projects we imagined.”

Many of Augsburg’s quilts are gifts, ranging from baby quilts to graduation gifts.

“Some of the best memories are quilts made with others, like time spent with my nieces making their t-shirt quilts, time spent with my mom making quilts for my nephews, a quilt made with my mother and cousin for a cousin who was just beginning an aggressive battle with cancer, and quilts worked on at quilting retreats with friends,” Augsburg said. “I made a quilt with bluebonnets for a friend who had lost a lot in a hurricane in Texas. The extra efforts with that quilt still make me smile.”

Augsburg has also made four Quilt of Valor quilts, one for a friend and three for strangers to honor those who served in the military. The presentation of the quilts to its recipient is always emotional, she said.

The Orland Park Public Library is displaying quilts in the display case at the front entrance of the library building through April.

This display is called “Quilt Your Own Story” and Augsburg is sharing a selection of her quilts. Some of which she has created, some are vintage, and some are works-in-progress. Each has designs based in film and literature.

There are 20 quilts and nine quilt blocks displayed. Augsburg made all but two of the quilts. Those two are vintage quilts she bought over the years and keeps in her collection.

“The library knows there are many local quilters in the Orland Park area,” Sarah Kleiva, Community Engagement Manager at the Orland Park Public Library, said. “We see this in the number of quilting books that are requested to be added to the collection, and the library hosts community groups that meet at the library to talk about their quilting projects. It was confirmed that this display would be a hit when we shared the picture on Facebook, and a few local residents asked if they could be connected with other quilters.”

For the display at the library, Augsburg dug into various books or book series to find some quilt references.

“There were a few quilt blocks referenced specifically in the ‘Little House on the Prairie’ book series, and a few years ago, one of the quilt fabric manufacturers created a fabric series based on the fabrics that would have been available at that time. I still had some of the fabric in my stash and was able to incorporate those into the blocks that will be turned into my own Little House-inspired quilt,” Augsburg said. “A few years ago, another company had printed a fabric line based on the ‘Nancy Drew’ book series, so I created a quilt top for the display that showcased that line, since so many women in my age group grew up on the ‘Nancy Drew’ mysteries.”

Another author Augsburg loves, Jennifer Chiaverini, wrote a book series about a family manor turned into a quilt retreat (Elm Creek Quilts) that also spun into historical fiction about the Underground Railroad and the quilt blocks used to communicate messages to the freedom seekers.

“I chose blocks from the first book that are displayed at the library, but as I listen to the whole series again, I find myself drawn to the idea of creating some quilts to commemorate the quilts created by those brave quilters who welcomed the escaping slaves into their homes on their path toward freedom,” Augsburg said. “I’ve hit pause on movies on TV when a quilt used in a scene caught my eye, and have been inspired by everything from plowing patterns worked in the soil by my farmer father or a bouquet of colorful flowers to patterns in tilework, antiquities at a museum, bible passages, and more.”
The unique quilts on display are certainly eye catching, according to Mary Lynn Maloney, Outreach Assistant at the Orland Park Public Library.

“I like the variety of quilting techniques,” Maloney said. “Linda’s thoughtful approach in showcasing quilt designs that are part of the storyline in popular fiction. I thought this was a great concept for a library exhibit.”

“I was honored to be asked to display my personal collection and my hope is that the display will inspire others looking for a creative outlet to consider quilting, or to pursue making any other kind of creative expression,” Augsburg said. “Maybe the colors will inspire someone to make a paper collage, and someone else to explore new color combinations in ceramics or paintings.”

Augsburg has been featured on YouTube channels including American Patchwork & Quilting that has 41,000 subscribers.

“My quilts are mostly meant to be used, not tucked away for future generations, but that’s not the intention of every quilt or of every quilter, and that’s OK, too,” Augsburg said. “What matters to me is that I have the opportunity and honor to share my creations with the folks who visit Orland Park Library, and, at the least, maybe change their opinions or ideas or broaden their understanding of what a quilt is. Quilting as a hobby and as an art form isn’t limited to one stereotype of a person or one type of a quilt.”

1 Comment

  1. Kelly J on April 20, 2022 at 8:06 pm

    What an amazing story and so much talent! You make such beautiful quilts — my children treasure their quilts from “Auntie Linda”



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