If Quilts Could Talk ladies to give final performance after two-plus decades

The two met as students enrolled in the DWU/Methodist Hospital nursing program in Mitchell

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Louise Maeschen and Ruby Pattison in their vintage dresses for a quilt show.
Submitted Photo / Joan Anderson
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MITCHELL — After 23 years, 104 presentations in three states, If Quilts Could Talk presenters Louise Maeschen and Ruby Pattison will give their last performance, which is free of charge and open to the public, at 1 p.m. Saturday, April 23, in First Lutheran Church, Mitchell.

“Those six suitcases containing 40 quilts are getting too heavy to keep hauling around as we both turn 84 years old,” said Pattison.

The two met as students enrolled in the DWU/Methodist Hospital nursing program in Mitchell — they graduated in 1956.

Then they worked together in Mitchell as registered nurses – Ruby reflected, “Louise put the patients to sleep (anesthesia) and I woke them up (in the recovery room).”

February 6, 1999, Louise participated in Rural Art Day at Oscar Howe Center in Mitchell, sharing information about textiles. Ruby assisted her by helping to hold up the big quilts for the audience to see. That was the beginning of their quilt trunk show, If Quilts Could Talk. By word of mouth, the news traveled about their entertaining production, and the requests poured in.


They have presented in over 30 South Dakota towns/cities from Aberdeen to Yankton, and from Sioux Falls to Martin. Their audience has ranged from second graders to attendees at a Weed Board Meeting.

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Louise Maeschen and Ruby Pattison holding a birthday present that Louise made for Ruby.
Submitted Photo / Joan Anderson

They have presented at many churches and have been the featured event at conferences and at many quilt guilds, and have had audiences of over 200. They even have presented to several groups of men. They created a quilt display for the SD Hall of Fame. They kept a running written log of their presentations, but have no idea of the miles they traveled during the 23 years of presenting.

They present in costume - period hats and dresses, and their sense of humor is evident. Both are members of the Heartland Quilt Guild – Louise being a charter member and Ruby is a 40-year member. Both ladies are involved with quilting in their own churches – Ruby at First Lutheran in Mitchell, Louise at Immanuel Lutheran of Dimock. And neither can count the number of quilts they have made.

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