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Quilters share in the excitement of Special Olympics

July 21, 2010

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Sheila Green, president of the Lincoln Quilters Guild, stands in front of a 2010 Special Olympics USA National Games quilt. This quilt will go into the permanent collection of the International Quilt Study Center and Museum in Lincoln.

Photo: Kathryn Spader, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

The quilt drew the eye with its playful red sashing and yellow border as a crowd gathered to watch it being donated to the International Quilt Study Center and Museum on Tuesday.

The quilt’s red and yellow fabrics incorporated the colors of the 2010 Special Olympics USA National Games.

The Lincoln Quilters Guild made a total of five quilts: three to be raffled, one to be displayed in the Nebraska Special Olympics office and one to be given to the IQSC.

The LQG provided funds to buy fabric for these quilts, the total cost being approximately $430.

The quilt blocks were sent to every state Special Olympics office, which distributed the blocks to athletes who decorated them. Each quilt was carefully laid out to best show off the color of each block.

Some blocks were inspirational. New Mexico chose to use the Special Olympics slogan, “Let me win, but if I cannot, let me be brave in the attempt.”

Others were more whimsical, like Florida’s, which depicted an athlete skiing down a mountain slope.

Yet other states took a more literal approach. Illinois drew its route to Lincoln and the distance the delegation had to travel to come to the games, and Nebraska wrote the names of every athlete on its softball team.

No matter what a state chose to draw, the common theme for everyone was the sense of excitement and how happy the athletes were to be part of the Special Olympics and to be able to compete in the games.

While some athletes had quite a distance to travel, the LQG had quite a short time to put together each quilt.

“We wanted them ready to be bound by our quilt show [May 21-23],” said Sheila Green, president of the LQG and docent for the IQSC.

Quilters attending the show could sew on sections of the binding, making it possible for many more people to be part of the Special Olympics.

In the weeks preceding the games, the LQG looked for different businesses in which they could display the quilts in order to generate interest. This week, all the quilts are on display at the IQSC.

Chuck Cooper, president and CEO of Nebraska Special Olympics, presented the quilt to the IQSC.

“It’s a gorgeous remembrance of the games,” he said.

“It’s been a lot of work for a lot of people, and we’re happy to display the result,” said Maureen Ose, communications coordinator for the IQSC, as she received it.

The raffle for the remaining three quilts will take place Thursday at 6 p.m. at Special Olympics Town in downtown Lincoln. However, all the tickets were sold as of Tuesday evening. Green explained that was due to the raffle permit, which capped at $5,000. All proceeds will go to the Special Olympics.

The key element throughout the project was the enthusiasm about the Special Olympics and the dedication and energy of everyone who had a part in making the quilts, Green said.

“It was a pleasure to share their enthusiasm.”

Story: Kathryn Spader, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

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The quilt square designed by athletes from Illinois depicted the route from Illinois to Lincoln.

Photo: Kathryn Spader, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

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Florida’s quilt square took a whimsical approach.

Photo: Kathryn Spader, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

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The Special Olympics Athletes Oath is written on the block designed by athletes from New Mexico.

Photo: Kathryn Spader, University of Nebraska-Lincoln



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