Bob Zimmer is a unique, upbeat and energetic 93-year-old.
Since 1969, he has made 26 quilts, and they will be on display at “Quite a Special Quilt Show” on Saturday, June 9, at the Tobias-Zimmer Barn at Wartinger Park. The event is a fundraiser for the Beavercreek Historical Society, and Zimmer, a longtime supporter of the historical society, will host it.
The Tobias-Zimmer Barn was donated by Bob and Agnes Zimmer in 1996. Peter Tobias built the barn in 1858, and Zimmer owned it for many years. Agnes has been deceased since 1999.
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Zimmer was not always a quilter, but he wanted a quilt for each of his five children. Because his wife was an excellent seamstress and made her clothes, he began urging her to make a quilt for each of their children.
“She finally got tired of me asking and said, ‘If you want a quilt made for them, make it yourself,’” he said.
He purchased a Paragon quilt kit at Rike’s Department Store. He needed help from his wife to complete his quilt in 1970. After more quilts were made, Zimmer began making applique and patch quilts from scratch.
His Grapes Medallion quilt, with 1,200 single grapes in clusters, the first applique from scratch, took six years to make. It was completed in 1997, two years before his wife’s death.
”I made that one especially for her,” Zimmer said. “She was real proud of it. No one has it. It hasn’t been passed out.”
Each of his five children received a quilt, made by him, on their wedding day.
“All the quilts will be there,” Zimmer said. “It will be the first time I will see them all together … as soon as one is finished, it is put away.
“I have 13 grandchildren, 5 great-grandchildren and one on the way. I want to have the pleasure of personally presenting a quilt to each grandchild and great-grandchild while I’m still alive.”
When the door closes on “Quite a Special Quilt Show,” the family will assemble in the barn at Wartinger Park that bears the family name for a private, personal presentation of the 26 quilts to his family. Bob Zimmer does not have number 26 quilted, but the top is pieced together so people can see how they are made.
The quilts on display will span many generations.
Luke Yancey, a multitalented 9-year-old, will also be at this event with a spinning wheel demonstrating his spinning skills.
His parents are Chris and Amanda Yancey, and he has 3 sisters, Zoe (22), Haley (20) and Lily (11).
Two years ago, Luke, Beavercreek Valley Elementary student, learned to finger knit from his sister, Lily. After that he watched videos about knitting and crocheting. He asked for yarn and knitting needles and crochet hooks. Then he wanted to make his own yarn.
“He made his own drop spindle from a dowel rod, a CD, and a hook,” Chris Yancey said. “He was hand spinning all the time. He begged for a spinning wheel. And this past Christmas Luke was gifted a spinning wheel from Santa Claus.”
From watching videos, Luke knew how to operate the spinning wheel.
“He literally sits in his room spinning and watching shows about spinning, wool, and dying wool,” Chris Yancey said. “He recently received the shine award at Valley for his kindness and helping others.”
How to go
What: Quite a Special Quilt Show and Open House, sponsored by Beavercreek Historical Society
When: Saturday, June 9, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Where: Wartinger Park, 3080 Kemp Road, Beavercreek
Cost: $5, under 12 free
Events: Quilt Show in Barn; Log Cabin Tours
Parking: behind Fire Station or overflow at Board of Education parking lot