Diocesan News

Woman’s Patchworked Gifts Warm Hearts

ROSELAND (SNR) - Lorene Trausch hasn’t kept very good track of the number of quilts, baby blankets and lap pads she’s made – and given away – over the years. Her best guess is "270 or something" since 2002.

"And before that, I know I did lots more," she said.

A member of Sacred Heart Parish in Roseland since 1959, Mrs. Traush learned the useful art of sewing from her mother.

"My mom sewed for us kids," Mrs. Trausch said, remembering her childhood in Stewart, Nebraska. "Probably when I was 12 or 13 years old, I did a lot of our sewing myself."

She added with a laugh, "Of course, she was watching."

As a young woman, Mrs. Trausch parlayed her sewing skills into a job at Hastings’ Mode-O-Day factory. The factory made clothing – mostly women’s blouses. Mrs. Trausch started with the prep work, sewing smaller pieces together.

In time, she worked her way up to collar setter, a role that requires considerable skill.

After she married her late husband, Mrs. Trausch lived on a farm near Roseland, which left her little time for work in town. Still, she sewed for her growing family – three boys and a girl. Now she has 14 grandchildren for whom she sews quilts and crochets afghans and doilies.

Mrs. Trausch enjoys staying busy, so when the opportunity came some years ago to work on quilts with two other ladies – quilts that would be donated to various organizations – she was happy to help.

In the long run, however, the other ladies had only two afternoons a week to work on the project. Since Mrs. Trausch had more time to devote to sewing, she split off on her own.

"I wasn’t getting enough done," she explained.

Now, she works through piles of donated fabric, most of which comes from her connections at Catholic Social Services or the local Goodwill store. Sometimes it’s new material, but often its sheets or clothing that are too worn to be serviceable.

Mrs. Trausch cuts away the good parts of the fabric to piece into her patchwork quilts.

"I have no idea what kind of pattern I’m going to make until I start laying it out," she said.

She uses whatever colors coordinate together well. As for the size, "the size comes out of how much color I have."

"It’s surprising to see what they come out like," she said. "I get started on one, and I have to finish it to see what it’s going to look like."

She’s had a couple of quilts that stand out. One design uses old blue jeans – she even includes the pockets, knowing how much fun a child might have stowing something away.

Mrs. Trausch has also used her niece’s deceased mother’s knit blouses and sweatshirts to make several items. She sewed the sweatshirt fleece inside out to make an exceptionally soft, cuddly blanket.

Once pieced, she sandwiches the top and bottom around batting and ties the quilts at the corner of each shape to make a warm, secure blanket. Then, she stockpiles the blankets until it’s time to donate them.

Mrs. Trausch has made quilts and lap pads for nursing homes, childcare centers and other organizations.

"I enjoy doing it," she said. "People should help those who need help."

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