Quilting World’s Loss –

Shelby Lewis, smiling as always

I first met  Shelby Lewis and her mother Renda Lewis three years ago at the Allen Quilt Group.  Both of them loved life and were always smiling. Even when life threw them curves, they found something to smile about.

They were passionate quilters. They always attended the Ada quilt show, and displayed quilts. Renda was an advocate of the show, often encouraging and prodding other members of the Allen Quilters to finish a quilt to display at the show. She believed in all quilters, regardless of their quilting level.

Renda never mentioned when she began quilting, Shelby began when she was about twelve. Both of them made numerous quilts each year. While they both made pieced quilts, switching between traditional and contemporary patterns found online and in the newest magazines, Renda also enjoyed handwork, and made several quilts of embroidered blocks.

Renda also preferred to hand quilting to machine. However, time limitations often sent her to the sewing machine, or  the local quilt shop and the long-arm machine. Shelby hadn’t yet tried quilting, allowing her mother to quilt hers. Although Shelby didn’t quilt, her tops were exquisite with the seams always matching, points always sharp. When I commented on the precision of her quilts, knowing mine were never that precise, Shelby ‘scolded’ me. She looked me in the eye, shook her finger at me and said, “pin, pin, pin.” Then she laughed. We both knew I wasn’t going to take the time to pin, pin, pin.

Their love of family extended far beyond their immediate family. If Renda and/or Shelby knew you, you were part of their family and they loved and cared about you and what was happening in your life. They didn’t just give lip service. When they inquired about someone’s life, they truly wanted to know and offered their support when it was needed.

Birthday cake for Shelby, Pam and me.

Another member, quilt club member, Pam, and I were both lucky enough to share our birthday month with Shelby.

Here’s a cake another member made for our joint birthday celebration last March.

For Renda and Shelby, as much as they loved their extended friends/family, their immediate family always came first for them. They loved, and adored, husband/father Wally. He and the sons/brothers, and daughter/sister-in-laws all came first.

Both of them were excited and looking forward to the newest addition to the family, a baby due

early next year by Shelby’s older brother and his wife. With a new addition on the way, the two spent much of their sewing time making quilts, blankets, bibs, burp cloths, and other baby items, leaving behind a legacy of love for the new baby.

Shelby seldom said “good-bye,” it was usually, “see ya later,” or something of that nature. Last month she said “Good-bye” for the last time. This mother/daughter quilting and life team died in a car accident. Goodbye  Renda and Shelby. You are missed. You are forever in our hearts. Your quilts will wrap your loved ones with your love and warmth.


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