top of page

THE AIR FORCE QUILT

La Juana Peterson standing on her Airfoce Quilt.

Erika's Mom standing

on her Air Force Quilt

Erika Pinkley sent the story to Quilters Newsletter magazine to be published.

As Seen in

Quilters Newsletter Magazine 2006

Photo frames of memories of the Airforce quilt.
Erika's Memorial Wall
to her Mom & the quilt
About Erika's Memorial Wall
Cross stitch lady with a quilt behind her.
One of Two Cross Stitch
blocks that she made

This little scene shown above and in the middle means more to me than words can say but know that my fellow quilters here can totally appreciate it. When we got settled in our new home, I finally hung up my little ode and memory wall of my mother and some of what she’s done. A cross stitch sillohette of a girl working on a quilt that she did in ‘91, a poster of her 20 foot square Air Force Quilt that is a permanent installment at the Wright Patterson Air Force Museum in Dayton, Ohio, a photo of her standing on/with the quilt just before it got whisked away to its permanent home, a 3 page article I penned and was honored with being published in Quilt Letter News Magazine telling the tale of the quilt.

 

And last but not least, as per someone’s suggestion, I framed up one of her lesson plan sketches of her favorite block design (Monkey Wrench) along with my new business cards featuring that block as my logo for my new biz Little Glass Quilts that was inspired entirely by her and her endless talents & giving lessons.

It’s so amazing to look back at her (and my) journey over the past several decades … and I can’t wait to see what lies ahead. Something tells me she would have cried at this wall and what it all means to us both. I know I did

About the Quilt
In January 1997, the 50th Anniversary Office received approval for the creation of a special anniversary commemorative quilt. Production of the project was funded through the Air Force Services sponsorship, and all 85 Air Force installations worldwide responded to participate in the project. Guidelines were established to ensure size, material and color were standard in each square. Dependents, volunteers and various individuals associated with the Air Force assisted in making the squares. Contests were held in some locations for the design and theme of the squares. A "Grand Quilting Bee" was held in San Antonio, Texas at my mother's house, where her quilting students, my sister and my friends helped her to finish putting the quilt together.

This distinctive quilt, "Fabric of the Air Force," was created to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the United States Air Force. It contains 100 hand-made squares from virtually every Air Force installation throughout the world. Each installation provided a 16-by-16-inch custom-made square reflecting its mission. The quilt center features a 36-inch Air Force seal and is surrounded by seals representing each major Air Force command. The four corners of the quilt are dedicated to installations that have closed in the continental United States, Asian Theater, European Theater and other worldwide installations. The top border is embroidered with the Air Force core values and flanked by the 50th anniversary logo of stars and wings. Measuring 20-by-20-feet, the quilt contains more than 180 yards of Air Force blue material. Thread used to join the squares together was flown aboard the Space Shuttle Atlantis on its Sept. 22, 1997, mission.

Final assembly of parts and pieces had to be completed in just under 2 months time. The hand-embroidered lettering took my mother more than 500 hours alone to do. After its unveiling on Dec. 5, 1997, "Fabric of the Air Force" was placed on display at the Pentagon before its transfer to the National Museum of the United States Air Force.
The Air Force quilt being made.
Mom working on the center seal
that measures aprox 45" square
Erika Pinkley and friends hand sewing the bias tape on the back of the quilt.
The "Emergency" Quilting Bee
Erika is in the yellow shirt
bottom of page