February 19, 2013 // Local

Quilt covers eight generations of family history

Carole Sorg’s blue ribbon winning quilt captures 176 years of Sorg family history living in one location on the family farm, and as parishioners of St. Joseph-Hessen Cassel Parish, Fort Wayne.

HOAGLAND — It’s not Tweet, Facebook, blog or any other nanosecond image transmission. It’s “Q-U-I-L-T” … a soft, fluffy medium, loaded with color, done one stitch at a time, thoughtfully, lovingly, with the feeling of satisfaction found only when hand and mind produce art.

The artist in this case is Carole Sorg, a great-grandmother who began quilting when in grade school at St. Aloyisus, Yoder, who, last year stitched up her ultimate masterpiece, a quilting contest blue ribbon winner, a “memories of the past” themed quilt depicting eight generations on the Sorg family farm, beginning on July 4, 1837 when the first ancestor purchased the land from the government.

The center of the quilt shows, appropriately, St. Joseph Church, Hessen Cassel, since the church has been the center of the Sorg family life going back to 1851 when Sorgs were charter members.

Branching out from the church are family trees, U.S. flags, the family homestead, which has survived two fires, weddings, Christmas scenes, tractors, wagons, livestock, pets and a special section devoted to a Fort Wayne radio station, WOWO, which had an early morning farm program called The Little Red Barn and heard by the family each morning for years.

The tale of this tapestry includes the fine spun figure of a girl reading a book, spider webs, a squirrel hole and subtle signs such as the change of colors in falling leaves to represent the change of life to death in a cemetery scene.

Spiritual symbols prevail, as do the hearty good times such as a hay wagon ride in the woods of the family farm. There is a mama cow searching for her calf, and a nearby tire swing and another swing on the front porch.

Carole Sorg is a full-time quilter. In the Sorg picturesque farm home are two large quilting frames. These are about eight feet wide, 30-inch-high double roller devices, a take-up roller in the back holds completed work, with the front roller holding unworked fabric, and the area in between showing the work in progress for the seated quilter.

These frames hold quilts Carole is sewing at home. On Mondays and Tuesdays, she works with three other ladies — Monica Johnson, Jeanette Klingenberger and Irene Shelburn. These four quilters are called the St. Joseph Quilters, H.C. (Hessen Cassel), and their work includes quilts made and donated as fundraisers for charitable groups. On Thursdays, Carole works at St. Peter Lutheran Church as a quilting advisor.

If quilts could talk, Carole’s fabrics would tell quite a story — dots and diamond shapes of cloth represent a spread of years — in one 18-inch quilt block can be found fabric from a feed sack dress she wore as a child, next to fabric from a frock worn on her third date with the young man who became her husband. Scraps from her daughters’ dresses and cloth from other sources make up the warp and woof of family history … threads and fibers neither forsaken nor forgotten, but quietly quilted in a colorful garden of memories that continues to grow.


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