Mothers hope to have personal heirlooms or family treasures to pass down to their children and grandchildren. Such was the case for Penny Merrill of Charles City. However, she desired something more personal than her original plan of Longaberger baskets. “As a young girl when I visited my maternal grandmother, I saw the enjoyment she received from sewing,” said Merrill.  “When my mother began to knit, I also saw how much enjoyment she received.” But, as a busy full-time working mother of two children, she didn’t have the time to commit to a hobby such as sewing or knitting. “Instead, I started to collect Longaberger baskets, so I would have something to pass down to my daughters,” she said.  “But, as they got older, I wanted something more personal to hand down.” She decided it was time to take up quilting.


 It’s been 12 years, since Merrill first started quilting. “I enjoy looking at books with quilt patterns,” said Merrill.  “My favorite patterns are appliqué and seasonal patterns with dark rustic colors.” She said her husband, Steve, along with her two daughters, Sara and Erica, have been very supportive of her hobby. “I now have many quilts to hand down to them and my grandchildren,” said Merrill.  “Right now I have one grandchild, six-month old Dylan Marcus.  He is the son of Erica and her husband, Josh Rosendahl.” 


 “I heard about Penny’s love for quilting from her husband when he was here installing the museum’s security system,” said Ellen Elsbury, Chairperson of the Mitchell County Historical Museum.  “He told me about her love for quilts and quilting.” Elsbury asked her to bring in some quilt samples to the museum. “We fell in love with her quilting skills and wide-array of quilts,” said Elsbury.  “We knew her quilts would compliment Eloise Kuper’s “Pieces of Americana” exhibit currently on display at the museum.”


 Merrill has three quilts – “Cookie Sprinkles” by Calico Printworks, “Country Garden” and “Americana” exhibit currently on display in the museum’s quilting corner.   

 They will be on display through the middle of August.