The Quilter


A life of fabrics, colors, shapes, needles, and thread would describe the life of Nancy Federick. Federick is a retired kindergarten school teacher of 31 years with a passion for quilting.

As a 10 year old girl Federick would lay on the floor looking up at the quilts that her mom and grandmother would be stitching. As she was growing up she quilted using a treadle machine. A treadle sewing machine is powered mechanically by a foot pedal that is pushed back and forth by the operator’s foot causing the pitman (a rod connecting the band wheel crank) to rotate the wheel ultimately allowing the spool pin to release the thread. Subsequently, as time moved forward so did the technology of the sewing machine therefore making sewing faster.

For this quilter, and many others, this was a plus. “We all find our niche,” Federick said. “I loved teaching, but it was time to retire.” So not only did she start the foundation of a child’s education but now she is able to bring warmth, comfort, and memories into peoples lives.

Federick brings history to life and comfort and warmth to children and families in need. She brings comfort back to someone who may have lost a family member. She does this by putting fabrics big or small of many shapes together. During this process there are no two shapes the same. However, what she sews doesn’t have to be a shape or fabric. It could be ties or clothes worn by loved ones that people want to remember.

Hence, memory quilts — memory quilts are quilts that embrace the past. These quilts could be t-shirts, ties, etc. Whatever the memory, it can be sewn into a quilt. For example, last year Federick made two small quilts from a child’s clothes that had died suddenly 14 years ago. The family had kept his clothes stored. The family decided to have a quilt made out of his clothes. “By making these quilts they are not stored in a closet, they can see them, touch them, and have memories as they look at them,” she said. “This is why memory quilts are so dear to me.”

Federick is a member of many guilds: MQA (Mississippi Quilting Assoc.), Busy Hands Quilt Guild, Nance Hill quilters, and Norris Homemakers Club. Each one of these guilds have their own particular goal. Such as; Busy Hands Quilt Guild which is in Decatur made quilts for Sunbelt Christian Ranch; also, makes quilts for Newton County Hospice patients; Nance Hill quilters make quilts for nursing homes and families whose house burned and veterans homes; Norris Homemakers Club makes 100 or more per year for children at Blair E. Batson.

Not only are Federick’s quilts popular in Lake but popular all over the United States and even other countries such as Italy.

Federick may be a magnificent quilter but to many of her friends she is also known as the “bread” lady. She bakes sun-dough loaves, rolls and cinnamon rolls. She has baked over 100 loaves in November and December alone. So, with more than one passionate hobby one can see why Nancy Federick stays very busy. “I spend my time sewing, piecing, quilting, crocheting, knitting, cooking, bible study, and reading Christian historical fiction,” she concluded, “I truly try to keep my hands busy especially serving the Lord.”