A photo of Lane Englund’s quilt. (Submitted)

The theft of a beloved family heirloom has rocked a dedicated Westman quilting community.

The Neepawa-based Tangled Threads Quilt Guild held its 21st annual quilt show at Knox Presbyterian Church on Nov. 25 and 26, after being unable to hold the show in 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Lane Englund, who has been quilting since 1977 and learned the art from her grandmother, was proud to display three of her quilts outside the church on a clothesline between two trees. The most precious item, an alphabet dinosaur quilt she’d made for her grandson, now 21, when he was just five years old, was stolen shortly after the event started on Nov. 25.

“I designed it and did everything myself. It’s not from a commercial pattern or anything. There’s absolutely no possibility that anyone else has made this quilt. It’s totally, totally unique and completely my own work,” Englund said.

Englund had asked her grandson to borrow the quilt, which he has cherished for 16 years.

“I said … ‘Do I need to give you a blanket to use while I’m borrowing your quilt?’ He washed it and everything. He said, ‘Oh, no, Grandma, it’s way too important to sleep under,’” Englund said.

When she first found out the quilt had been stolen, she was extremely surprised. But seeing how the members of the guild rallied around her, Englund said, was a testament to the friendships that have been built in the group over many years.

“One of the … ladies went walking around and driving around the neighbourhood to see if anybody had taken it and then ditched it,” she said. “It was on Facebook within half an hour.”

Since then, Englund has posted about her quilt on social media and put up flyers throughout town. She’s also been in contact with the Spruce Woods RCMP detachment, but was told not to get her hopes up that it would turn up.

“They don’t feel that there’s very much possibility of recovering it,” she said, “I know that, and it’s a pretty insignificant thing in comparison to a stolen car or something like that, but … it’s very upsetting.”

The Sun made multiple attempts to the contact the RCMP regarding Englund’s stolen quilt but did not receive any reply.

Displaying quilts around town during shows is something the guild has always done, Englund said. Before now, they never considered that one of their creations would be stolen.

“In mid-March, there’s always the worldwide quilting day and we’re normally [be] at the church that day. We hang quilts over fences and we lay quilts on lawns … we hang quilts from our balconies and our verandas and clotheslines,” Englund said. “We’ve never had any troubles before.”

On the Tangled Threads Quilt Guild Facebook page, Penny Cockerill McKinnon said she hopes Englund will be reunited with her grandson’s quilt.

“I sure hope you are able to find this,” she wrote. “[Quilts] are such an enormous amount of work.”

On the same post, Denise L’Heureux called the theft “cruel.”

“I’m thinking it’s some older kids playing a practical joke,” L’Heureux wrote. “I sure hope you get it back.”

Englund plans to continue putting up posters around town, hoping that whoever took her grandson’s precious quilt, which she called a labour of love, will have a change of heart. The message she wants to share with the person who took it is one of concern.

“If you took this quilt because you were cold, I will make you your own,” she said, “but please give me back my quilt that I made.”

By Miranda Leybourne, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Dec 08, 2022 at 09:03

This item reprinted with permission from   Brandon Sun   Brandon, Manitoba

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