Sewing troubles away

  • Irene Fry

Weatherford resident Irene Fry began sewing she was 5 years old in Germany, and she has been hooked ever since.

“My aunt had an old Singer brand sewing machine which you had to crank with your left hand and feed it with your right,” Irene said. “It wasn’t fast or anything, but I made little doll dresses, pillows and other small items.”

Irene said her aunts would give her scraps of fabric left from her own projects. When she moved to the United States to marry her husband Elton Fry, Irene was introduced to quilting after admiring a quilt at her mother-in-law’s house. Since then, quilting has been one of her biggest passions.

“For a while, I did the quilts by hand because I didn’t have a sewing machine,” Irene said. “Now I have a really nice sewing machine to make them with.”

To date, Irene has made only two quilts by hand, and she takes good care of them.

Irene has made many, many quilts throughout the years. While she doesn’t keep them, she keeps pictures of the projects in her “braggy book.” She keeps some of the quilts, but most make their way to family and friends.

“I don’t need any more blankets — I just love the make them,” Irene said.

However, she does keep some for herself. The Frys have a “wedding ring” patterned quilt in one bedroom. Irene also made a quilt out of old United States Post Office patches for her husband Elton.

Irene’s quilts make their way to her daughters, especially the one who lives in Denver because “it’s cold up there.” Irene has made quilted baby blankets and table runners in addition to fullsize quilts. The projects have a mix of tradition patterns such as wedding ring, fan and bear paw as well as more creative patterns such as figures of children, kites, pinwheels, dolls dresses or fish.

One time, Irene made a quilt out of more than 260 pictures.

She draws inspiration from her monthly quilting magazine subscriptions and the collection of fabric pieces in her workroom.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic began, Irene was an active member of the Clinton Quilting Guild. She also taught a sewing class at the Pioneer Center in Weatherford, where she has had quilts on display.

After the Pioneer Center closed to the public, Irene continued to work on the class’s project — piecing a quilt which would be donated to disaster relief. Before that, the group made holiday table runners for personal use.

Since the pandemic began, Irene has spent more time on her hobby.

It keeps my mind occupied,” she said. “I’m not worried so much when I sew or cut out fabric pieces. I feel like I’m doing something. It makes you feel good.”

In addition to quilting, Irene also enjoyed quilting. She has made crocheted baby blankets, Christmas stockings and other holiday decorations.