Published 12:00 am Sunday, February 17, 2013

Over the past three decades Brenda Zimmerman has gathered more than 2,500 quilts for the public to enjoy at Trinity Oaks health and rehab.
But they’re not simply things of beauty or works of art. The quilts provide fascinating glimpses into history, much of it related to Salisbury and Rowan County.
This year’s show – called “Sew? How’s it Going?” – starts today in the multi-purpose room at Trinity Oaks health and rehab (formerly the Lutheran Home at Trinity Oaks). Hours are from 2 to 5 p.m. today and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday and Tuesday.
Among the items on display is a quilt made of feed sacks from Grimes Mill.
Another quilt sewn with feed sack material came by way of Trinity Oaks resident Jim Kelly. Hand-stitched and hand-quilted, it was made by Kelly’s mother in the mid-1940s, probably when she was pregnant, Zimmerman says.
A vibrant red and gold Star of Bethlehem quilt came from Kaye Leonard, who explained that in 1909, Eddie Wilson Rentz (paternal grandfather of Leonard and resident Cindy Rentz) was headed to Newberry College. His mother, Sarah Alice Kinard Rentz, made the quilt to send with him.
Some of the quilts in the show honor local veterans. The Salisbury Veterans Appreciation Quilts project was launched by Shelley Lenhausen, co-president of the Sunny Days chapter of the Salisbury-Rowan Quilters’ Guild. Lenhausen provides the fabric—red, white and blue – to some of her fellow quilters, who make the tops. Another guild member, Cindy Sipp, then quilts them.
“It’s kind of a spin-off of the Quilts of Valor Foundation,” said Lenhausen, who has been quilting for about 30 years. She loved the idea of making quilts for veterans but wanted to keep the focus local. On May 9 at Rufty-Holmes Senior Center, 16 of the appreciation quilts will be presented to veterans who have volunteered in the community.
Besides being active in the quilters’ guild, Lenhausen recently started her own home quilting business, the Quilted Bicycle, with the help of a long-arm quilting machine. (If you’re interested in learning about the services she offers, she can be reached by email at She’d also welcome the names of veterans for future appreciation quilts.)
Lenhausen’s personal project right now (and one of the items on her quilt bucket list) is making a “Baby Jane” quilt, a recreation of the much-admired and widely known “Dear Jane” quilt crafted by Jane Stickle in 1863. Lenhausen is going the traditional –and time-consuming – route of piecing the 225 different blocks by hand. So far, she’s finished one of the 13 rows of blocks. The final product will feature 5,602 pieces of fabric.
“It’s nuts,” Lenhausen says. “But I’m addicted.” Lenhausen will be on hand at the show from 1-3 p.m. Monday and Tuesday working on her Baby Jane blocks.
Other local quilters are also tackling their own Baby Jane projects, with a Baby Jane quilting group meeting at 10 a.m. every third Thursday at the Rufty-Holmes Senior Center. The Starry Night chapter meets there every second Thursday at 6:30 p.m.; the Sunny Day chapter meets there the third Thursday of the month at 1 p.m.
Admission to the Trinity Oaks Quilt Show is free. Several of the quilts on display will be for sale.
For more information, call Brenda Zimmerman at 704-603-2770.

Katie Scarvey is a communications specialist for Lutheran Services Carolinas.