Couple offers hand–sewn work

Published 3:35 pm Monday, March 22, 2010

Louise and Nathaniel (Nat) Barker VII make hundreds of quilts every year.

And give most of them away.

“We enjoy making quilts together,” Louise said. “We make them for the sheer joy of it. We give them to people God tells us to.”

Money from the quilts they sell goes toward the purchase of materials for quilts they give away, Nat said.

Pins stuck in a map on the wall of their Chelsea home mark spots, around the world, where their quilts have gone.

Pointing to a red pin in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, Louise said, “That one’s with a young man on a submarine.”

“His mother told me that while packing to leave, he was about to put blue jeans in his bag when he stopped and looked at the quilt on his bed. He said, ‘I can buy jeans on the ship; I can’t buy a quilt.’ So he left out the jeans and took the quilt.”

Last week she received a note in the mail, along with a picture of a 5 year-old boy and a small, tattered quilt she had made.

The child’s mother had called and told Louise that the child had slept hugging the quilt since he was an infant, and had taken it every place he went, including outside to play in the mud.

The note, written by the mother and signed by the child, read, “Dear Mrs. Barker, Please take care of my blanket.

I will miss it very much. Mama said you would try your very best to fix it. I hope you can, but if you can’t, I’ll just keep it with holes in it. Thank you very, very, much. Tommy.”

She repaired the quilt and mailed it back–at no cost.

The Barkers have been making and giving away quilts for 25 years.

Family, friends, hospitals, storm victims, military personnel and orphanages at home and abroad have been recipients.

She was driving a school bus, when a child said to her, “Mrs. Barker, will you make me a quilt? It’s really cold at our house.” The Barkers made quilts as Christmas gifts for every child on her bus.

The Chelsea couple had seven children and helped raise five others. Louise taught all of their children to quilt and is now teaching three young grand-daughters.

The Barkers may be reached at 678-6697 or by e-mail at

Shelba Nivens can be reached by e-mail at