Meet the Cresco Ladies

I have a BIG bunch of quilt tops to share with you.  All of them were made by the Cresco ladies.  If you think this was a lot of them to get done, let me tell you this…they also sent a big box of tops directly to Ray our volunteer longarmer!!  WOW!

I got a comment in the comment section from Pamela.  She writes:
Jo I would love it if you would tell us all about the Cresco ladies. I would like to know how many of them there are and where they are based. How did they get together and decide to make quilts for charity? Are the quilts all made from donated fabric? I am picturing parcels flying up and down the US with fabric and quilts. Who is the Mastermind behind organizing it all?
I ask because life is very dull here at present in strict Lockdown so it gives me a great deal of pleasure thinking of you all quilting away dotted about the country.  Do tell if you have the time.”

First off, Cresco is the name of the town in Iowa where most of them live.  I don’t know that they have an “official” name.  I just started calling them the Cresco ladies.  Cresco is a town about a half-hour north of me.  Sandra messaged me one day asking about some goodies I had offered on the blog and the rest, as they say, is history!!

I asked Sandra who is my contact with the group if she could help me answer the question that Pam proposed.  Sandra wrote:

I don’t know how to get everyone together for a photo….  because of CV-19 there is never more than 1-2 of us together at a time.   Here we are each individually.

So far, besides where you send the quilts/quilt tops: 
Upon request, we have sent finished quilts to a transitional men’s center in Milwaukee, WI (for men getting out of prison), to some elderly ladies in a trailer court in Mesa, AZ to a 90-year-old widow in White, SD, Several to a woman on the NH/Maine Border who wanted some for a hospice, to the nursing homes in Cresco, to Ronald McDonald, to Catholic Charities, to Lutheran Charities, to Quilts of Valor, to Project Linus.  We also contributed quilts to Gladie Church – she sent them to Nebraska when farm homes were flooded a year or so ago. We usually contribute 100+ to social services here in Howard County for a Christmas Charity Donation to needy families.  And yearly we contribute 1-2 larger quilts to the Howard County Quilt Auction where funds are raised to buy needed hospital equipment.

Some of the quilts of valor we’ve made have gone to San Antonio, TX, to Seattle, WA, to Florida, to Alabama, to Indiana, to Minnesota.  If someone requests one, we try to make and send it off to the Vets.  Around Christmas, Pat H found a family that needed quilts for relatives in Mpls, South Dakota, and Waterloo, IA – we made and she delivered by having her children distribute them.  A few quilts have been made for use at church funerals to cover caskets, and then are donated to the families. We have made full-size quilts,  Twin, Crib, and lap-size quilts.  Lately, most of our quilts range between 50-65 inches – many are 44 x 60 to accommodate batting and backing fabrics.

Before we connected with you, we used our own supplies, “stash” to make the quilts or purchased fabrics.  Once in a while, women from Piecemaker’s Quilt Guild (here in Cresco) and a few other local quilters would donate scraps, UFO’s and Orphan Blocks. They would also contribute leftover batting (sometimes very small strips that we sewed together.  Thus the scrappy quilts, strip quilts, etc you would often see.

Because of CV-19, our guild hasn’t met since last April.  So, the “Cresco Ladies” group consists of 6-8 members of our guild who help to make quilts with the generous donations of you and your blog readers.  The Cresco Ladies help us sew quilt tops, trim, attach bindings and very importantly coordinate our “orphan blocks” into a design we can use on the quilts, and Donna Fredrickson is our long arm quilter.

That’s the info I got from Sandra.  Can you believe how busy the group is?  It’s great that they are friends all working towards a great cause!!

Now I’m going to treat you with the tops they recently dropped off at my house.

When Sandra dropped these off I sent a whole bunch of goodies with them.  It’s a fun give and take that happens when they come.  During the drop-off Sandra and Donna explained that they had a day coming up that they were going to tackle “odd” things that had been donated to them.  They have so much fun getting together.  You can see that in this shipment of quilts there were a lot of panel quilts and lots of charm square style quilts.
Here is a fun string quilt…

Oops.  I meant to take a close-up picture of the cute rabbit fabric on this top.

This was a fun way to use this panel of Seattle.  I’m hoping someone from the area might volunteer to finish this top and donate it.

This top has an embroidered panel in the center.

I don’t know if someone did this especially for a quilt or if it is an upcycled piece.

This one surprised me.  I didn’t realize it was a cheater cloth in the center.

The animals in this one had me smiling.  So cute!!

This was a great way to use up 10 panels.  It’s so hard to set a different number of blocks.  They did great with this.

This one was bright.  There are bunnies all over.

I loved the little panels from this…

Aren’t they cute?

This might be one of the three-yard quilts the ladies have been making.

The color in this is awesome.

See what I mean when I said it was a panel quilt session.  So many are panels.

This one was fun!!

I can see my grandsons loving the one above and this one below!

If there is a motorcycle lover out there, this one is for you!!

I have two childcare girls that would squeal over this one.

At the bottom of the pile were two quilts that were packaged up with backings.  I decided to leave them that way.  We’ll have to wait to see them when they are finished.

I so appreciate all of their work to put these together.  I am currently in the market for more people to finish quilts.  It’s crazy.  I get a few people going and then everyone else finds them too so then they get lots of quilts and I don’t have anywhere to send quilts to again.

If you’ve done quilts in the past and want more or if you are looking for something to do with your time or with your existing quilt group, I would be happy to set you up with quilt tops.  You are welcome to specify the size you prefer.  You are welcome to tie the quilts.  If you need backing or batting, I do my best to get it to you…If you’re interested, please contact me at

Thanks to the many of you who donated fabric to make these tops happen.

18 thoughts on “Meet the Cresco Ladies”

  1. SO nice to have faces to put with the name “Cresco Ladies” – what a great group! They are a ray of sunshine in today’s world…

  2. Well that was fun! I am originally from Cresco, plus my parents still live there -and I see several familiar faces!! Thank you ladies for all you do. Question for them – do you work with big and small baby flannel chunks? And a comment for other readers, if you want to see a fun quilt auction and the many lovely quilts that you can bid on, every fall during their fall festival the local hospital is the beneficiary of the monies raised.

  3. Since I started reading your blog and seeing all the wonderful quilts and needle work projects you have been doing I am getting inspired to return to my sewing and hand stitching again after two years of not doing either of these things.
    I have appreciated your silent push as I have several UFO’s stashed in a corner of my house that need to be finished.
    I’m also thinking I have lots of fabric that I could use for charity quilts after I finish my UFO’s.
    Thank you!!!

  4. Thanks for another wonderful show of quilt tops from the Crescoe Ladies, Jo! Sandra, it was SEW nice to see you and the other ladies who make your group function like a well-oiled machine. Keep on quilting!

  5. I loved your highlight on the Cresco Ladies!! It’s amazing all they get done and how far our donation quilts reach. Jo, I’m honored to be just a small part of the quilts for donation circle that has grown from your outreach.
    That leads to another question. I was gifted a lot of food fabrics, but not the usual kinds. They are things like hamburgers, hot dogs, pretzels, eggplants.. etc. So my question is would these be ok to donate for quilt backings? I don’t see myself using them to make quilts, what do you think?

    1. Susan the Farm Quilter

      I thought Jo was collecting food fabric for another quilt…perhaps send it to her and if she can’t use it in her quilt, she can certainly pass it on to the Cresco ladies!!

    2. YES. Food fabrics are great. I’ve been collecting some myself. They do make fun quilt backings and they make really fun pillowcases especially for teenagers.

  6. Thank you for getting information about the Cresco ladies. How fun to earn about them and all they do – and it is a lot! Beautiful quilts.

  7. Hi Jo
    Thank you so much for telling us about the Cresco ladies. It was so nice to put faces to the lovely ladies who are so generous with their time. The quilts they make are really beautiful and I am lost with admiration how they manage to put the miscellaneous bits and pieces together making a coherent whole.
    We are feeling very isolated here after nearly a year of Lockdown off and on so reading about your busy lives keeps me in touch even though I’m quilting away here on my own!
    My quilts are piling up so once we are released I will be looking for a charity to donate them to (
    or as my daughter irreverently says ‘Someone to off load them on)
    Thanks again Jo lovely to hear from you.

  8. Margaret in North Texas

    The Cresco ladies can take a bow— they are a very creative group. So nice to meet them today and keep up your wonderful work! Thanks Jo for taking your time to give us the introduction.

  9. Thank you Sandra for sharing the pictures of your partners in “the Cresco ladies”. What an amazing group you have all become and I admire so much of what you create with all our bits and pieces. Your talents have certainly reached far and wide with all those donated quilts. Keep on stitching ladies, I admire your talents.

  10. Jo, thank you so much for introducing us to The Cresco Ladies! I’m sure I’m not the only one who has longingly admired their quilt tops and wondered about the makers. They’re all just as wonderful as I expected they would be.
    What a great and generous bunch they are — it’s no accident that they’re partners of yours.

  11. Great post! It is wonderful to meet all you Cresco ladies. You are an inspiration! Also thank you to Pamela for asking the question that I had also wondered about along with many others I’m sure.

    1. Judith Fairchild

      What a wonderful stash of tops. Thank you Pamela, Jo & Sandra for getting the Cres o Ladies introduced. Such fun quilts you make and share.
      Jo your ad girls aren’t the only ones who will squeal over the butterfly quilt top. It came up and I squealed. I couldn’t help it. That top took my breath for a bit. I so enjoyed the whole show.

  12. I always enjoy the quilt show when you show the tops from the Cresco ladies. How fun to see who they are and know more about them. They sure are an inspirational group!

  13. Very amazing group of ladies. Sewing for a cause. They really do make beautiful tops to spread joy. Very sorry for their loss.

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