Lansing State Journal 12/02/2012, Page B04Helen Claire Vlasin
Formerly of Nebraska, beloved wife of Raymond D. Vlasin, loving mother to 5, mother-in-law to 3, Grandmother to 8, relative to many, and beloved of her friends.
We will cherish her memory, mourn her passing, and celebrate her life and her varied and extensive legacies. A graduate of the St. Elizabeth School of Nursing at Lincoln, Nebraska and of Central Michigan University, and holding a Master’s Degree from Michigan State University. She was a stellar vocational educational advocate and professional for the Eaton Intermediate School District and Lansing Community College. As a second career and primary avocation, Claire was a judge, preserver, designer and maker of quilts, and a helper, inspiration and friend to her quilter colleagues.
She was a long-time member, reader and Eucharistic Minister at St. Thomas Aquinas Church, where her life and loving contributions will be celebrated on December 4th at 10:30 a.m. with a visitation one hour prior to the service. The family will receive friends at Gorsline Runciman Funeral Home at 1730 East Grand River, East Lansing from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. on Monday, December 3rd, with a Rosary Service at 7:30 p.m.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Diocese of Lansing Outreach Mass, 228 N. Walnut St, Lansing, MI 48933 or to the St. Thomas Aquinas Church, Rosary Altar Society, 955 Alton Rd, East Lansing, MI 48823. On line condolences may be made at www.greastlansing.com.As Claire’s family and loved ones gather today to celebrate her life and put her to rest, I thought it fitting to share a pair of quilts that Claire dearly loved with you ---a matching pair, one red work, one blue work by the same maker.
While the quilts share some of the same block designs, they are not in the same order, and they also have different blocks than each other– we think that these designs were specifically chosen for each recipient –but as these quilts were acquired in an antique shop, no history is known of the maker or of those who the quilts were for.
Blue Work Quilt, circa 1916
By this time we had quilts stacked upon quilts and there was no way I was going to stand on that tumbling blocks quilt to photograph this one straight on! While I love all the block embroidery designs, what captured my heart was how each block was quilted – some with straight lines, some with echo quilting much like a hawaiian applique….the outlines of hand quilting echoing each other like ripples on a pond to the edge of each block. Such great texture!
When these were found in the shop, Ray was originally going to just pick up one of the quilts ----but decided that the pair should not be separated, and he gifted them both to his lovely wife, Claire.
Red work Quilt
Circa 1919 Beautiful wreath design!
This quilt came 3 years after the blue work quilt – could it have been made for a sibling?
Matching Maple Leaf to the Blue Work quilt above.
Cute bunny rabbit! With eyelashes!
Beautiful floral spray
Who was the woman who made these in 1916 and 1919? Was she the grandmother? The aunt? The mother? Sometimes I tend to think grandmother more, because the mother would have had her hands full with two small children by the finish of the 2nd quilt ---grandmothers have more time to occupy with handwork. Though NOT ALWAYS!
I think it is a beautiful legacy that these two quilts are kept together.
When I was about 14 years of age, my step-grandmother Lucy Sherwood taught me to do embroidery like this ----we’d buy good old fashioned muslin and prewash it – cut it into squares, and then find designs to trace from coloring books and other sources. I didn’t do just redwork, but used various colors of embroidery floss to color the design how I wanted it to be….pink flowers with yellow centers and green leaves in a red pot. Those were the first quilt blocks I ever made.
The blocks are long lost --- through a multitude of moves, they never finished being set into anything and I honestly don’t know when they disappeared, I never noticed they were gone, and I can’t remember the last time I saw them --- maybe 25 years ago? But I see them in my mind and wonder how many girls learned to embroider at their grandmother’s side. I’ve always loved needle work –and I truly fell in love with these two quilts and the memories they brought to me.
Dear Claire and Ray – thank you once again for welcoming me into your home to share your beloved quilts with me.
My life is ever changed by your warmth and friendship. May angels watch over you both --