Column #112

The Family That Quilts Together, Stays Together

At least once a month on Sundays for the past 20 years, various members of the Doskocil clan gathers for the family quilting bee. Photo courtesy of Karen Doskocil.

Chris Doskocil shows off her feedsack quilt made by the family containing scraps from her childhood dress. Photo courtesy of Karen Doskocil.

The label that Chris made for her feedsack quilt. Photo courtesy of Karen Doskocil.

In 1996, when Christine (Chris) Doskocil retired, there was something she wanted to do—something she had learned as a young girl growing up in a Czech family in Hillsboro, Texas, but had never had the time or space to pursue as a working mother of eight children: she wanted to piece quilts.

She also wanted a way to keep her big family connected after her husband, Bob, passed away in 1991. The couple’s six daughters and two sons were all grown and married with families and busy lives of their own.

Chris decided that quilting would be a good way to ensure that she and her children remained close and saw one another frequently. “When I told my girls what I was going to do, they said, ‘Oh, Mama, you have to make each of us a quilt!’” Chris recalls. “I told them I would piece the tops, but they would have to have to help me quilt them—their own and each other’s, too.”

And so began the Doskocil family quilting bee, a tradition that has been carried out at least once each month on Sunday afternoons for over 20 years.

In that time, each of the eight Doskocil children have gotten their own full-sized (or larger) quilt, and so have most of Chris’s 17 grandchildren. “We’re working on number fourteen right now. But we keep having to interrupt the quilting on the big quilts because one of the grandkids will have a baby and we have to stop to make a baby quilt,” she laughs, “I now have 15 great-grandchildren and we’ve made baby quilts for all of them.”

Chris herself has a quilt made by the family group. Like most quilters, Chris loves fabrics. Her fabric stash included a collection of feedsacks, one of which her mother had used to make a dress for her when she was a girl.

When it was Chris’s turn to have her own quilt, scraps from that feedsack were included in the top—thus reinforcing the family ties still further. It is, not surprisingly, Chris’s favorite of all the ones they’ve made.

Karen Doskocil is one of Chris’s daughters-in-law who values the time spent over the quilting frame with her family members.

“I am so fortunate to have Chris as my mother-in-law,” she offers. “I have been married to her son for nearly 30 years, and dated him for years before we married. She has always been such a gentle, loving woman. I’m amazed at all the things she does every week, volunteering in the community, and she still maintains a perfectly clean house, can sew and quilt circles around the rest of us, still makes kolaches and strudel, and cans and preserves foods like no other. The quilts are the by-product of Chris's idea of keeping us close as a family through quilting. Our quilting days have been a blessing to our family for all of these years and I cherish the days we set aside for each other.” 

The family quilting bee has far exceeded Chris’s expectations: “Oh, it’s wonderful! “There’s something about sitting down and working together on a quilt. We visit and share things and catch up with what’s going on in each other’s lives. Everyone is busy and not everybody can make it every time. Sometimes one will come and quilt for just a little while before they have to go someplace else, but they all try to come as often as they can. I think all families should do it, because it really keeps everyone close.”


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Archived blogs:

Column 111: Two Rivers, Three Sisters
Column 110: Quilters Helping Quilters
Column 109: Community Cookbooks and Fundraiser Quilts—Parallel Histories
Column 108: Quilting to Freedom
Column 107: National Quilting Day
Column 106: The Airing of the Quilts
Column 105: A Call for a National Juneteenth Commemorative Quilt
Column 104: Dominoes
Column 103: 1936 Texas Centennial Bluebonnet Quilt
Column 102: Helen Blackstone, A Texas Quilter
Column 101: Montana CattleWomen Anniversary Brand Quilt
Column 100: 100th Suzy's Fancy Column!
Column 99: Montana Stockgrowers Anniversary Brand Quilt
Column 98: The Tobacco Sack Connection
Column 97: Meet the Sisters Who Are State Fair Quilting Queens
Column 96: The connection between fairs and quilts.
Column 95: Her Mother Pieced Quilts
Column 94: Rebecca Barker’s Quiltscapes
Column 93: The Thread and Thimble Club Mystery
Column 92: The Ballerina Quilter
Column 91: Grandmother's Flower Garden Comes Alive at Texas Quilt Museum
Column 90: Leitmotif for a Lifelong Love Affair
Column 89: Quilting in The Bahamas
Column 88: Joan of Arc: A Quilter's Inspiration
Column 87: Home Demonstration Clubs and Quilting
Column 86: Linzi Upton and the Quilted Yurt
Column 85: A Bounty of Quilts
Column 84: Desert Trader
Column 83: Quilts and the Women’s Liberation Movement
Column 82: Replicating the Past: Reproduction Fabrics for Today’s Quilts
Column 81: Why So Many Quilt Shops in Bozeman, Montana?
Column 80: Southeastern Quilt and Textile Museum
Column 79: 54 Tons of Quilt
Column 78: Ollie Steele Burden’s Quilt Blocks
Column 77: Quilting with AMD
Column 76: Maverick Quilts and Cowgirls
Column 75: The Modern Quilt Guild—Cyberculture Quilting Ramps Up
Column 74: The Membership Quilt—Czech Quilting in Texas
Column 73: Maximum Security Quilts
Column 72: Author: Terri Thayer
Column 71: The Christmas Quilt
Column 70: New Mexico Centennial Quilt
Column 69: Scrub Quilts
Column 68: “Think Pink” Quilt Raises Funds for Rare Cancer Research
Column 67: Righting Old Wrongs.
Column 66: 100 Years, 100 Quilts - More on the Arizona Centennial.
Column 65: Arizona Centennial Quilt Project
Column 64: Capt. John Files Tom’s Family Tree
Column 63: The Fat Quarters
Column 62: Quilt Fiction Author: Clare O’Donohue
Column 61: Louisiana Bicentennial Quilt
Column 60: The Camo Quilt Project.
Column 59: Thread Wit
Column 58: Ralli Quilts
Column 57: Preschool Quilters
Column 56: The Story Quilt
Column 55: Red and Green Quilts
Column 54: On the Trail
Column 53: Quilt Trail Gathering
Column 52: True Confessions: First Quilt
Column 51: Quilted Pages
Column 50: Doll Quilts
Column 49: More Than a Quilt Shop
Column 48: Las Colchas of the Texas-Mexico Border
Column 47: Literary Gifts
Column 46: A Different Way of Seeing
Column 45: Sampling
Column 44: Hen and Chicks
Column 43: A Star Studied Event
Column 42: Shoo Fly Pattern
Column 41: Awareness Quilts
Column 40: Tivaevae
Column 39: UnOILed UnspOILed Coast Quilt Project
Column 38: Katrina Recovery Quilts
Column 37: Quilted Vermont
Column 36: The Labyrinth Quilt—A Meditative Endeavor

See other archived columns here

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