A Stover quilt shop recently helped a St. Louis woman complete 22 personalized lap quilts for veterans traveling with the Greater St. Louis Honor Flight that will leave in the early morning hours Tuesday. The project brought many women from several states together for a common cause.
The St. Louis Greater Honor Flight will coincide with Sedalia’s last Show Me Honor Flight No. 20 that will also leave on Tuesday and return at midnight.
“She’s a customer of mine, and her husband is going on the Honor Flight, on the 26th of April,” Vi Dale, owner of Stover Quality Quilting, said. “She’s just a fantastic lady that works with an embroidery machine.”
Dale said Sandy Estep, of Wentzville, asked her embroidery club if they would help make blocks for the quilts. The group agreed.
Estep said time got away from her and she realized she needed help completing all 22 of the lap quilts. That’s when she turned to Dale. Dale and her crew began work on the quilts April 12.
“I said ‘well just bring them down,’” Dale added. “We’ll just take a couple days and we’ll do the batting and the backing, quilt them and put the binding on.”
The quilts were completed in time for Estep to turn them into the Honor Flight by Saturday April 16.
“We took all of our employees and we just worked on them probably about two and a half days,” Dale said. “They were just beautiful, just gorgeous. I wanted people to know that people are volunteering time and fabric to honor these veterans.”
Estep said since her husband Jim, a World War II veteran, was going to be traveling with the Honor Flight for the first time. Because of this, she wanted to do something to honor all the veterans traveling with him on Tuesday.
“I’m several years younger than he is, but we’ve been married 41 years,” Estep said. “It just seemed the right thing to do. The more I talked to the Honor Flight people, the whole story of how they give of their time and try to honor the vets … I just felt so compelled to do something for vets.
“My passion is machine embroidery and quilting,” she added. “It was one of cases where your heart sort of speaks before your brain, and I said ‘I would love to make personalized quilts for the vets to honor them.’”
The Greater St. Louis Honor Flight volunteers thought the idea was great and welcomed Estep to create the quilts.
“Once I hung up with them, I thought how am I going to get 22 quilts done in a little over a month?” she said.
Estep went to Facebook, and since she is a member of a machine embroidery group, Embroidery Bragging Rights, she put out a called for help with the project.
“I asked the administrator if we could ask women on the site to donate patriotic blocks,” she said. “She said ‘sure it sounds like a great plan.’
“Women from eight different states ended up sending machine embroidered quilts,” Estep added. “Many more wanted to do it, but there wasn’t adequate time. Some women made 22 blocks or more, some would only make a few. (It was) whatever they could do.”
All the blocks were mailed to Estep and and she and her step-daughter Mary Gaines, of Jefferson City, put them together. She also received help from step-daughters, Glenda Estep, Brenda Nevins and Reca Horspman, all of Callaway County.
“Vi’s group gave three working days to get them all quilted for us,” Estep noted. “Vi’s group has done a lot of quilting for me before. I have such respect for their work and I just love Vi.
“I thought well, maybe they would do a few of them,” Estep added. “They ended up doing all of the quilts for me, and it was phenomenally done, just unbelievably done. It was so moving that everybody in her shop was so proud to do it.”
Estep said she stayed for two days in Stover with Dale as the women worked on the quilts. She added that through the project many friendships have “evolved.”
“It was just a sweet spirit,” she noted. “It was just a real blessing for all of us to work on these quilts. Now people all over are wanting to do it again. So, we are going to see what we can do.”
Faith Bemiss can be reached at 530-0289 or @flbemiss.