Ann Pierce is a remarkable lady, ask anyone who knows her. At the age of 93 she has struggled with vision problems and was declared legally blind in 2013 from macular degeneration. The disease didn’t stop Pierce from living, and her inability to see just changed the way she stitched together the pieces. Ann’s family estimate she has made 250-300 quilts over the past 20 years.

Early in her quilting career this amazing woman created very detailed quilt patterns, but the macular degeneration forced her to use larger quilt squares, mainly six inch squares. The hand sewn quilt pictured on Ann’s lap was stitched with love of the deepest kind. The quilt was made 17 years ago from the collection of neck ties that belonged to her late husband, Darwin Pierce.

Ann would be the first to admit that quilting isn’t as easy as it was, but with the help of her daughters she is fortunate enough to be able to continue doing something she loves despite being declared legally blind. Her loving daughters, Jean and Joyce, cut the squares and finish each quilt by tying and binding them together for her, yet Ann still manages to sew the quilt top with the assistance of a ruler fastened to her sewing machine which guides her stitching. She also considers herself fortunate that many people still provide her odds and ends of fabric and batting so she can continue to do what she loves.

“I wouldn’t be able to afford to sew if it wasn’t for the generosity of so many wonderful people,” Pierce said.

An estimated 50 of her home sewn and heartfelt quilts have gone to those in need at holiday time.

“My quilts might not be as beautiful as they used to be before my vision declined, but they will keep someone warm,” Pierce said.

As for the rest of her quilts, Ann has a large extended family including eight grandchildren and 19 great-grandchildren. Her mission has been to ensure they all received a quilt when they were born, another one when they turned three, one when they graduated from high school and a final one when they married. Age and health issues though over the last year forced Ann to stitch at a faster pace. Over the past year she has quilted 15 blankets for her great-grandchildren that have not graduated from high school to ensure they all receive one while she is still able to quilt.

“Only four had graduated, leaving 15 quilts for me to make. It was a busy year, but now no one will feel left out,” Pierce said.

With one mission down, there’s still no stopping this amazing woman from reaching out to help others in need. She already has her daughter busy cutting more squares and finishing quilts to donate to anyone she hears of who might need a quilt to keep them warm. Her daughters say it is a good thing they have retired so they can keep up with their mother and her passion for quilting. Ann says it is her faith that has kept her going and since God didn’t take her home when he had the chance she must have something to finish... must be another quilt.

There is no doubt that every quilt Ann has made will be loved and cherished for years to come and some of them will surely be passed down to future generations. Her ability to continue to quilt, despite her inability to see, will be story worthy for future generations. They may never know her personally, but they will feel the depth her love for family each time they wrap up with one of the quilts she stitched.

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Westby Times editor

Dorothy Robson is editor of the Westby Times. Contact her at 608-637-5625.

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