Each year, Evelyn Pohl spends months piecing, or sewing together, sections of a quilt in preparation for the annual Sisters of St. Joseph Auxiliary Spring Luncheon Benefit. The tradition of making and donating a quilt to be raffled at the Sisters’ fundraiser began in 2012, just a few years after her daughter, Sister Kari Pohl, professed final vows as a Sister of St. Joseph.
The late Sister Mildred Boeh embroidered a blanket top and passed the piece along to Evelyn, whom she hoped might be able to help finish it. Completing Sister Mildred’s quilt soon became a family project and Evelyn worked alongside her sisters-in-law Rosie Miller, Laurie Kowatch, Gladys Schneider and Marie Smith and her late mother-in-law, Veronica Pohl.
“It was just gorgeous and we felt guilty keeping it so we put borders on it, hand-quilted the top and gave it back to her as a gift,” Evelyn says. “I believe she donated it to the Sisters luncheon.”
Since then, Evelyn and Rosie have continued to collaborate on a quilt each year to support the Sisters. Evelyn starts piecing together blocks of fabric in September and slowly watches the pattern come together as she sews on Sunday afternoons. Her goal is to finish sewing by March so Rosie can begin layering the back batting and the top upon returning from her annual trip to Florida. Rosie’s intricate hand-stitched designs transform each quilt into a piece of artwork.
Evelyn enjoys taking her time with each quilt, carefully selecting fabrics, colors and patterns. Many of her quilts, including one made specially to celebrate Sister Kari’s vows, incorporate a bit of family history. She inherited a box of fabric from her mother, a talented quilter, and looks for opportunities to pair her mother’s traditional patterns with modern color schemes.
“That’s what she would want. . . for her fabric to carry on the tradition,” Evelyn says.
She always hoped to learn to quilt from her mother, but there was little time while balancing the demands of being a teacher and raising three children. After retiring, she joined a church group that makes quilts for the parish festival and began to learn. Ideas shared within the group often provide inspiration for the design of the spring luncheon quilt.
This year’s queen-size quilt titled “Summer Stars” has bright pink, purple and yellow triangles of fabric arranged to create a star pattern. Past quilt designs have included a cobalt blue and purple scheme with a soft, swirling pattern, an elegant teal and tan combination and a rustic blue, green and brown sequence featuring geese.
“It’s been fun, and it’s a challenge,” she says. “It’s always interesting to try to find patterns. Some look easy but are not and others look difficult but turn out to be easier.”
This year, Evelyn and Rosie plan to make the five-hour drive from their home in Westphalia, MI, to attend the Auxiliary Spring Luncheon Benefit, where their quilts have become a sought-after auction item among attendees. It will be a special occasion for the family since Sister Kari, who recently returned from six years of mission work in Managua, Nicaragua, will be able to join her mom and aunt at the event.
The 55th Annual Auxiliary Spring Luncheon Benefit is Saturday, May 20, at the Double Tree by Hilton in Mars, PA, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The luncheon begins with a bake sale and the opportunity to purchase raffle tickets for a chance to win one of the many beautiful baskets. Attendees will enjoy a sit-down lunch and time to visit with family and friends while supporting the Sisters and their ministries. Tickets are $35 per person. Register online or call 724-869-6574.