All I want for Christmas is a winning ticket!

By Melanie M. Hedberg

Chris was all smiles when he checked out the backside of his new queen-sized quilt. Guild members quilted a modified rail fence pattern for this year's design. Photo by Melanie M. Hedberg
Chris was all smiles when he checked out the backside of his new queen-sized quilt. Guild members quilted a modified rail fence pattern for this year’s design. Photo by Melanie M. Hedberg

Some folks get into the Christmas spirit by watching “A Christmas Carol” or looking at twinkling Christmas lights.

For 11-year-old Chris Aamodt, a sixth grade student from St. Michael, having the winning ticket for a special quilt did just the trick.

On Sunday, Dec. 23, Chris was all smiles when he and his parents met five members of the Rush City Piecemakers Quilt Guild. He got his first close-up of his newly acquired queen-sized quilt.

While driving to Rush City, Chris’ dad Scott even wondered if they needed to present the winning ticket. The family learned of their good fortune on the previous Monday from guild member Ilene Olson Holmberg.

“It made my day,” Chris exclaimed.

In fact, when Chris walked in to claim the quilt, “I remembered him right away,” noted Belle Phillippi, president of the guild, who drew the winning ticket at the group’s December meeting.

For selling the winning ticket, Phillippi also won a $50 gift certificate to Fabric, Fashions, and More in Rush City, and she can’t wait to make a new “investment” in her own quilting endeavors.


A labor of love

Last July, the Rush City Piecemakers Annual Donation Quilt made its debut at the Chisago County Fair. Scott Aamodt remembers commenting on the fancy pattern of the machine-quilted design, noting its geometric pattern and bright colors. This year, the guild chose a modified rail fence pattern; the cost of materials totalled $560.

Donation tickets for the quilt could be purchased at the Chisago County Fair in July, Rush City Music Festival in August, Anderson’s Rock Creek Threshing Show in September and Santa Day in December. A total of $1,500 in donations was collected, with all proceeds from the fundraiser going toward supporting annual projects.

This quilt is always a labor of love for the Piecemakers guild, explained one of the 28-30 members who made 27 quilts over the past year.

The guild also is actively involved in Quilts of Valor, a foundation whose mission is “to cover ALL combat service members and veterans touched by war” with a comforting quilt. Crisis quilts are given to folks in the local community, while guild members strive to further their education in quilting.


County fair ‘bucket list’

Back to the winning ticket, the Aamodt family had never stepped foot in Rush City until they came to this year’s county fair.

Scott explained that every year the family looks at “Explore Minnesota” for tourism information including four different county fairs to attend throughout the summer. While the family has typically traveled south, as far as Cannon Falls, Dad decided it was finally time to head north.

And the Chisago County Fair ended up on the family’s annual county fair “bucket list.” Chris and his parents enjoyed exploring the Open Exhibit building at the fair, along with the historical building and log cabin where they learned about weaving.

Chisago County has “one of the best county fairs,” said Scott of the fairs his family has visited.

So when the Aamodts came upon the Rush City Piecemakers Annual Donation Quilt, the family donated $5 for six tickets and put Chris’ name on each one. “He is our good luck charm,” his mother Jeanne explained.

When asked where the queen-sized quilt will go once it’s brought home, Chris was pretty confident that it will be enjoyed on a big, wide sofa in the family’s theatre room.

Perhaps, too, the winning quilt will inspire him to try his own hand at quilting one day.

— The Rush City Piecemakers Quilt Guild, with between 28-30 members, meets on the third Monday of each month at the Rush City Community Center. New members are always welcome.  


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