Photo Credit: Jessica Hoppe

Story originally published by Thurston Talk

Iris Young, a youthful looking 97-year-old, was first exposed to quilting nearly a century ago.

"I was inspired by my grandmother," Iris told Thurston Talk. "Back then you didn't go to town and buy a blanket, you made quilts."

Though she grew up around quilting in small town Nebraska, it wasn't until she became a retired elementary school teacher that she decided to learn the craft as something to fill her open schedule. That was the start of a now 17-year strong passion for quilting, and one that continues on as she nears a milestone birthday.

Iris has made dozens of quilts that showcase vibrant colors and intricate designs. With many of her quilts completely handmade, she takes inspiration from landscapes and stained glass style pieces. Her work reflects beautiful scenery, but Iris still refuses to sell her masterpieces. Why? Because her family holds them too close to their hearts.

"They consider them their heritage," Iris said. "Someone wanted to buy one once, one I didn't really care that much for, so I thought I could sell that one. My daughter said, 'Mom, if you start selling your quilts, there's going to be a family uprising.' They want them when I'm gone."

Now Iris' time is completely dedicated to quilting. Despite her desire to be involved with the community, Iris says she quilts simply because she is passionate for the craft.

"I do it because I love it, and the kids appreciate it," Iris said.