Ptarmigan Tracks

The Newsletter of Camp Denali,
North Face Lodge & Parkside Guest House

Online Version 2017

A Quilting Tradition

After the long journey to Camp Denali, the first thing seen upon entering your cabin is the quilted bed. Its colors grab your eye and establish a unique luxury in the wilderness.

The quilts of Camp Denali have evolved over the years.

In the 70s Camp Denali’s beds provided very basic coverings. Working with what they could afford at the time, Wally and Jerri backed wool Army blankets with fabric. Next came wintertime quilting bees as neighbor women assembled quilts from foot-square blocks of fabric.

Gradually, all the sewing became a staff function. The sewing crew made what was needed for the coming season: aprons and pot holders for the kitchen, pillow shams or curtains for the guest cabins and rooms, but mostly quilts. 

Each May, the living room at North Face Lodge fills with ironing boards, sewing machines, and cutting mats. The crew arrange and re-arrange fabric bolts to determine a palette. The quilt is designed and they start cutting and sewing the four-inch squares. The turned and tied quilt is then embroidered on the backing with the first three letters of the cabin for which it is designed, the year it was made, and the initials of those making the quilt.

Quilt-making in our community is not limited to need. When staff members get married, a message goes out to family and staff requesting squares.  These creative blocks—traditional quilt patterns, appliqués, embroidered pictures—are joined by a coordinator into a quilt for presentation to the newlyweds.

What began simply and from necessity has become a warm tradition: homemade quilts for chilly nights, to bring smiles to lips of guest and staff alike.

Back to Online Version 2017