Island-inspired quilt to roost permanently in Bremen

Thirty years ago members of the Patriotic Club of Bremen sewed a unique “Feathered Friends” quilt inspired by the Hog Island Audubon Camp as a fund-raising project. Now, thanks to the generosity of Anne Bilz, the birds on the quilt will roost permanently in Bremen.

Anne Bilz stands beside the "Feathered Friends" quilt she gave to the Bremen Patriotic Club. The quilt’s bird motif is in recognition of the Audubon Camp on Bremen’s Hog Island. The birds depicted on the quilt, left to right, top to bottom, are: Chickadee, Robin, Evening Grosbeak, Nut Hatch, Gold Finch, Cedar Waxwing, Blue Jay, Red-Headed Woodpecker Scarlet Tanager, Baltimore Oriole, Red-Winged Blackbird, Purple Finch, Indigo Bunting, Rose-Breasted Grosbeak, Cardinal, and Humming Bird , all common to the area.
Anne Bilz stands beside the "Feathered Friends" quilt she gave to the Bremen Patriotic Club. The birds depicted on the quilt, left to right, top to bottom, are: Chickadee, Robin, Evening Grosbeak, Nut Hatch, Gold Finch, Cedar Waxwing, Blue Jay, Red-Headed Woodpecker Scarlet Tanager, Baltimore Oriole, Red-Winged Blackbird, Purple Finch, Indigo Bunting, Rose-Breasted Grosbeak, Cardinal, and Humming Bird , all common to the area. Click to view full-size.

In 1980, the Patriotic Club members decided to make a quilt as a fund-raiser for the Club’s newly established scholarship fund. The fund provides a scholarship to every Bremen high school graduate student going on to higher education who applies for one. For the new quilt they decided on a bird motif in recognition of the Audubon Camp on Bremen’s Hog Island.

Club member Barbara Tappan, a former commercial artist, designed the quilt. She used 17 different species of birds common to the area, each drawn to scale and in life-like color, then appliqued in calico on quilt squares. In the center of the quilt, several birds are perched in the limbs of a tree.

Nine women appliqued the individual bird squares and center motif. Then working groups of Club members gathered twice a week at the home of Betty Noyce to finish the sewing and hand-quilting.

“Feathered Friends” prepare for public display

Fortunately for Bremen, the quilt was won by Anne Bilz, then a summer resident of the town and now a full-time resident who is a Patriotic Club member and past president.

At the Club’s Christmas Party on December 9, Anne surprised the Club by giving it the quilt. Anne said she always meant for the quilt to remain in Bremen and had only two stipulations for the gift – that it never be sold and that it be displayed in Bremen Town House. Patriotic Club President Diane O’Connor thanked Anne for her unexpected and generous gift, and promised the Club would take good care of it.

Anne protected the quilt well over the past 30 years and it is in perfect condition. The quilt will be stored for the winter and displayed in the Bremen Town House next summer. The last time the bird quilt was on public display was at a quilt show in the Bremen Town House in 2002.

About the Patriotic Club of Bremen

The Patriotic Club of Bremen is a community service organization founded in 1912. Its name originates from the Club’s first community project: to raise funds for a monument to Bremen’s Civil War soldiers and sailors, located on the grounds of the Bremen Union Church.

Since that time, the Club has continued to raise and donate funds for community projects and town improvements. The Club will celebrate its 100th anniversary in 2012.

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