The 50th Anniversary Quilt with some of its creators
As residents and staff across Kendal Crosslands Communities started to think about how to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the community, ideas were sprouting everywhere. And naturally, the artists on campus started thinking of ways to express their feelings for the community and the celebration through their craft.

Susan, Lynn, Janney and Susan are part of a core group of Quilters who helped design and bring together people from across the Community to create a special quilt to commemorate this major anniversary.

Taking on The Project

Description of the early meetings.

“We came up with the idea of doing a quilt for the 50th anniversary and met with our core group three or four times, just putting ideas together.  What should be included? How can we represent everything that is Kendal at Longwood?

“We have 50 blocks in the quilt, each one reflecting a different aspect of Kendal, surrounding a tree, like the large oak tree in front of Kendal at Longwood, with deep roots, representing our core values,” Susan explained.

“We wanted all aspects of the community represented- staff, departments, creativity, and more.”

We also created a key to the quilt that hangs next to it so people can understand what each block represents,” Susan added.

Participation From Throughout the Community

“Once we had all the blocks we needed and the size worked out, we gave block templates to different community members to complete and return for the final assembly of the whole quilt.  It was amazing how people designed their blocks- there is applique, embroidery, some are printed on fabric, some are woven, some painted.”

Every participating person crafted their square to the theme, and each one is beautiful and unique on its own and part of the whole.

“The project needed to be started well before the 50th anniversary and took almost 2 ½ years to complete.  Once we got all the blocks back from everyone, we had to assemble the top and send it off for the final long-arm quilting.”

“When we finally got all the squares back, we put them all on a design wall and agreed which ones would go where before completing the sewing and sashing for each one.  It’s a real challenge to have everyone go off and do their own square and then get them all together,” Susan added.

“When we got it back, we were so thrilled.  The final sewing of the layers together gives dimension to each block, but if you look closely at the stitching, you’ll find designs meaningful to that block integrated as well.  For example, the pet block has small pawprints in the stitching, and you can find a tube of paint in the square about painting; tools quilted into the maintenance block, and books into the library block,” Jannette and Lynn pointed out.

“We even have a poem about Quilt Blocks from a Kendal at Longwood Resident, Marjean, incorporated at the bottom of the quilt and alongside, as it is a perfect metaphor.”

I’m thinking of quilts

And I’m thinking of Kendal

And I think that Kendal is

Like a great sprawling quilt-

A quilt whose patterns and

Colors are always changing

I‘m thinking of quilt patterns

And I remember the founders

Whose Bright Hopes and

Strength in Union make

Kendal a reality

And I think that the pieces may

Change, but the patterns persist-

Carpenters Square and

Flight of swallows and

Of course, Tree everlasting.

These pieces are you and me,

And they are dark and light,

Bright and dull, plan and

Fancy. Each new piece

Changes the quilt a little

But the whole stay strong.

The Quilt Story

The quilt “starts” with the center tree, where you can see the core values between the roots- the core beliefs that help keep the community strong. In each surrounding block, you see an aspect of life at Kendal at Longwood. There’s a block celebrating the honoring of all faiths, the Kennett Quaker Meetinghouse, musical groups, pets, the Gateway Shop, Culinary, the Grounds Crew, and more.

Each time you look at the quilt, something new, a small detail like the musical notes quilt into one square, or the incorporation of textures, pictures, and fabrics, catches your eye.  This labor of love from many of the craftspeople at Kendal at Longwood has brought the spirit of the community into an heirloom art piece that will be treasured.

Like the poem from Marjean, Kendal at Longwood is a great quilt, with patterns and colors that change with each new resident, yet each piece and person adds more and strengthens the quilt. Each has its own flavor and design, but together, it speaks to a whole- the story of life at Kendal at Longwood.

The finished quilt is on display in the Kendal at Longwood Community Center, and the group hopes it will find a permanent home in the Kendal Auditorium, where it can be appreciated and equally preserved for years.