New Florence woman’s ‘Raggedy Ann & Andy’ quilt competes for international honors
When she was a girl, Tannette Rummel watched her mother stitch a quilt by hand and knew she wanted to do the same thing.
“I kept bothering her, getting in her way ’cause I wanted to do it, too. Finally, she took out that old piece of sheet, and she drew that picture on it,” Rummel said, pointing to her first attempt at embroidery at age 5. “She showed me how to thread the needle and gave me some floss and said, ‘Here, you have your own little project to work on.’ And I finished it.”
That encounter started her on a lifetime of quilting.
Her dedication to the craft recently paid off with the selection of one of her original designs, “Raggedy Ann & Andy,” as a semifinalist for the AQS Quiltweek Show, to be held this month in Lancaster.
It’s the first time Rummel has shown a quilt at the international level, although she has numerous ribbons from local shows.
Rummel’s daughter, Theresa Cohee, 42, convinced her to submit the quilt in the Best Original Design category and helped her mother ship it to the American Quilter’s Society in Paducah, Ky. From there, it will travel to the Lancaster County Convention Center for the show March 27-30.
Rummel, 61, of New Florence will compete against 200 other quilts entered from 37 states and 12 countries.
“My daughter said, ‘You need to get this quilt in a show somewhere.’ We were really shocked when it (was accepted),” she said.
Although “Raggedy Ann & Andy” is one of a handful of original designs Rummel has done, she has finished hundreds of quilts for clients over the 40-plus years she has been quilting professionally.
The idea for the appliqué quilt came to her while she was thinking about her Raggedy Ann doll collection.
“I was looking at her one day, and I thought, ‘I’d love to have a quilt with Raggedy Ann on it.’ I thought, well, I can do it myself, so I just sat down and started drawing. I kept coming up with ideas,” she said.
The contest-worthy quilt ended up having nine blocks total, including ones with Raggedy Ann playing jacks, saying her prayers and serving as a candy-striper along with Raggedy Andy in a sailor suit.
Rummel got involved with the craft after visiting a quilt shop in Black Lick.
“They used to have these quilt kits. They would do something called block of the month. You would get a piece of the quilt every month, and you would put that together. At the end of nine months or 12 months, you would have the whole quilt done,” she said.
She joined a quilting group in Ligonier and began showing her quilts at shows in Saltsburg and elsewhere. She quit the group when she went to work full time as a hair stylist, but she never lost her love of quilting.
Then she met a woman in Blairsville who was a long-arm machine quilter. She took a quilt she had started to her for final stitching and was amazed by the machine she used.
Rummel ordered one from the Gammill Quilting Machine Co. of West Plains, Mo., and had it installed in her basement. Eight years later, the machine has revolutionized her business, Under the Moon Quilts.
“In today’s world, women don’t have the time to sit and hand quilt. So they piece their quilts, and then they bring them to me, and I put the stitching on them. It’s a lot quicker,” she explained.
Rummel wants to go back to quilting full time, while also passing on the craft to her daughter.
“Every room in our house has one of mom’s quilts in it,” Cohee said. “It’s important to me because my grandmother used to quilt, and now my mom does it. I want to learn how to do it and pass it down to my daughter.”
Stephen Huba is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Stephen at 724-850-1280, [email protected] or via Twitter .