Honor, love, respect

Greeler presents Quilt of Valor to father-in-law

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    NEILLSVILLE, Wis. – Some might not think of the intricate and sometimes painstaking detail that goes into quilting as being a form of relaxation, but for Marie Greeler, quilting most definitely is her time to relax.
    “I took quilting up as a stress reliever about two years ago,” Greeler said. “When I am concentrating on that, I am able to forget about everything else that is going on even if just for a while.”
    Greeler and her husband, Wayne, milk 60 cows on their Clark County dairy farm near Neillsville. While her husband is the fourth generation of his family to dairy on the farm that has been in his family for 120 years, Greeler herself did not grow up on a farm nor did she grow up sewing and quilting.
    “I never learned to sew growing up, and I have always hated mending and patching things,” Greeler said. “One day, I came across some nice fabric and decided to give it a try.”  
    Maybe the most notable quilt Greeler has completed so far is a Quilt of Valor for her father-in-law, Erland Greeler, who served from 1952-54 in Korea.
    According to the organization’s website, a Quilt of Valor is a handmade quilt awarded to a veteran of the armed forces who has been touched by war.
    “There are requirements about how big the quilt should be, and they must be made of cotton,” Greeler said. … “Each one has to have a label with specific information, and the quilt must be washed prior to the presentation.”       
    At a small family gathering April 30, Greeler presented the quilt to Erland, thanking him for his service to the country.
    “He is very proud of being a veteran, and I am very proud of him for his service to our country,” Greeler said.
    Greeler taught herself to quilt by watching YouTube videos to learn the steps and proper procedures, and said she is fortunate to have some great mentors at a local quilt shop, Christie Country Quilts, who she can turn to with questions.
    “I don’t always have a lot of time to spend quilting, fitting it in around farming and other chores,” Greeler said. “But my husband is supportive of the hobby because he knows I enjoy it. If I’m having a bad day, I can go up and work on a quilt and forget about things for a while. Even if the pattern I am working on frustrates me for a while, it is a different frustration than others I might have.”                
    In her two years of quilting, Greeler has completed seven quilts.     
    For the Quilt of Valor, Greeler chose a fabric that was patriotic, something that was simple but beautiful at the same time. She then chose to use the jagged X pattern by Jordan Fabrics to arrange the more than 550 rectangular-shaped quilt squares she cut, half of which were colored fabric and half of which were white.
    “To complete the pattern, I had to crisscross the pieces, trim them and then iron them back. Each quilt block is made up of two pieces,” Greeler said. “The pattern makes the blocks look like pinwheels or stars.”
    Once the blocks of the quilt were assembled, Greeler added the batting and the back piece of the quilt. She then used her long arm quilting machine to complete the quilting, followed by binding the edges of the quilt.
    “I machine bind all my quilts now, but I hand-bound the first few I made,” Greeler said. “I loved hand-binding, but unfortunately, I am not able to anymore due to arthritis.”
    To finish off the quilt, Greeler used extra fabric from the back of the quilt to create a pillowcase to store the quilt in.
    “I learned a lot coming to the farm when my husband and I were married, and Erland played a big part in that,” Greeler said. “There is a lot of love and respect that went into that quilt, and I feel like it has the best of me in it for him.”

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