Morton crafters turned entrepreneurs work to preserve lost art of quilting

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MORTON, Ill. — No matter the day, Michelle Lohrenz and Vermeda Freidinger are always creating, crafting and designing.

“The days I’m not here, I’m either making samples or I’m sewing for the store,” said Freidinger, the co-owner of The Quilt Corner.

While The Quilt Corner in Morton has been around since 1988, Freidinger and Lohrenz have owned the business for almost six years. The two met while working for the previous owner for 24 years.

Lohrenz said, “And it started with between 300 and 500 bolts of fabric—very small. And then it just grew.”

Quilting a quintessential pastime for the two Central Illinois natives. Each had a unique path to their sewing start. Freidinger learned at a young age, whereas Lohrenz is newer to the craft.

“I was tall and I needed something to wear so I just started sewing on a treadle machine,” Freidinger said.

“I had a neighbor who quilted and she asked if I would like a job here [at The Quilt Corner]. And I said ‘I don’t think they probably want me. I don’t know how to quilt!’ But I took classes and it went from there,” said Lohrenz.

As a team of ten, The Quilt Corner staff has more than 150 years of quilting experience. They’re hoping to revive the lost art by spreading their enjoyment of the craft to a younger generation.

“We have a lot of people our age that have done this for years,” said Lohrenz. “But we need some young people to see the benefit and what they will gain out of this.”

They hope to prove with a little practice, anyone can learn the craft.

For more information on The Quilt Corner, visit their website.

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