Back in 1979, my parents John and Carrie Cederna celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. The entire family of 42—children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren—participated in preparing a special gift of love, a family quilt. On the day of celebration, as we observed our parents' full measure of joy, we knew we had chosen a gift far better than any we could have purchased!
In the fall of 1978, almost a year in advance of the big day, I sent a letter to each family member describing my idea for the quilt. I explained that I would purchase some gold broadcloth, cut 11" squares from it and mail one to each person. In turn, they would decorate their squares in any way they liked: applique, embroidery, or cross stitch—adding anything about themselves they wished such as names, date, jobs or hobbies. When completed, they would return their squares to me.
By May of 1979 all of the quilt squares had been decorated and returned. Due to differences in handling their squares, they were now unequal in size so I made a 10.5" template our of posterboard, placed it over each block and cut it to size. I then stitched a 1.5" border of brightly colored calico to each side of each square (now a quilt block). Next I sewed the bordered blocks together. Added a larger border to the entire quilt top, added a polyester batting and calico backing and it was ready to quilt!
On July 1, 1979, our parents celebrated their 50 years together and we, amid the festivities, fell heir to our own sweet memories, many of them already carefully captured in the stitches of our family quilt.
The family quilt won Blue Ribbon Awards in the Iron County Fair and in the Chelsea Community Fair and now resides at the Iron County Museum in Iron River, Michigan.