Quilt weaves together memories for Ebert family

Colleen Kottke

It's all about the small details and the heartfelt sentiment that went into creating a keepsake quilt for Randy and Renee Ebert, hosts for this year's Farm Technology Days in Kewaunee County.

This keepsake quilt created by the Kewaunee County Home and Community Education group weaves together the Ebert family history and the diversity of agriculture in Kewaunee County.

While the Ebert's knew that members of the Kewaunee County Home and Community Education group were fashioning a quilt to commemorate their role in this year's farm show, the couple says they were moved to tears when the committee unveiled their handiwork.

"They wanted to do something for our family and they even let us give them some of our daughter Britney's shirts to weave into the quilt," said Renee Ebert, wiping away tears as she spoke about her late daughter. "Not only does the quilt represent our family's history, it also captures our family's personality."

Around the logo of this year's Farm Technology Days are photos of the Ebert's farm: from the early days when the couple was just starting out, to the cutting edge farm operation they run today.

Also featured on the quilt are family photos: Randy and Renee gathering their small children - son, Jordan and twin daughters Britney and Whitney - together for a photo by their cattle. The quilt also highlights the official family photo for the Farm Technology Days program, taken before Britney's death on May 12, 2016, at the age of 19.

Randy and Renee Ebert with their chidlren (from left) Jordan, Britney and her twin sister, Whitney Ebert.

"The publicity committee asked us what we wanted to do, and we said that we wanted our family picture when Britney was still here," Renee said.

While the news is still under wraps, Renee says that one of the streets in Tent City will be named after Britney.

"People will come to this show and have no idea that we've lost a daughter, so the sign committee will create a write-up along with her picture to let them know why it was named after her," Renee said.

Mari Fager, a member of the Kewaunee County Home and Community Education group says members also wanted the quilt to highlight the diverse agriculture present in their county along Lake Michigan.

Family photos of the Ebert family are sandwiched between colorful fabric squares emblazoned with images representing the diverse agriculture present in the county along Lake Michigan.

The border around the king-size quilt features squares of fabric illustrated with cows, cherries, grapes and glasses of wine, wedges of cheese, milk bottles, dishes of ice cream and canning jars filled with summer produce from the garden.

Sandwiched between these hallmark images are photos of the Ebert family, some black and white and others in color. The signature touch applied by Ann Sinkula who assembled the quilt -  is the unique quilting pattern across the quilt of tractors and the word 'milk' - a nod to the Ebert's way of life: family and farming.

"Hopefully this will be a treasure for the family for many years to come, and it's a good remembrance of hosting this event," Fager said.

Randy says he was overwhelmed upon viewing the quilt for the first time.

"It goes back to what I’ve been saying all along: we’ve met so many good people through this process," he said. "So many times (the success of the show) is judged by how many people come or how many dollars is generated amongst the community, bu the truth is, it’s all about the people and the people we’ve met and the gals from the heritage that put this together.

The fine details of the heritage quilt includes tractors and the word 'milk' quilted into the design.

"There's a lot of thought and the energy that went into (that quilt) and it's special to us from a standpoint of having some of Britney’s clothes weaved into the design. It will be special to us forever," he added.