Growing up in Missouri, Shirley Greiner found herself using needle and thread as soon as her grandmother felt Shirley was old enough to handle a needle. Her grandmother and mother always had a quilt on a frame in the family home. When guests came to call, they would sit and help quilt while they chatted. Shirley would thread a bunch of needles for her grandmother and mother before she headed off to school. When she returned home for lunch, she would thread them all again. Her grandmother’s eyesight was failing and Shirley’s job was to keep the needles threaded. Having recently celebrated her 92nd birthday, one could say Shirley has been around quilts longer than most of us have been alive.
Shirley’s quilting came to a standstill once her 4 daughters were born. She was busy sewing clothes for the girls. By the 1980’s though, she had some free time again and began to sew quilts and other charity projects. Shirley made hats for the newborns at the local hospital and lap quilts and walker bags for the Veterans’ Home. For decades Shirley volunteered her time and efforts to the PTA, Hospital Auxiliary, her local church and thrift shop, the food bank and the Trenton, MO senior center.
In 2007 Shirley was named the “Volunteer of the Year” for the State of Missouri’s Veterans’ Administration Hospital. For the hospital she sewed tracheotomy collars, lap quilts and colostomy bag covers.
Since coming to Arizona, Shirley has been an active member of the Delightful Quilters in Scottsdale, Arizona. She regularly brings lap quilts for donation to the Scottsdale Fire Dept. and crochets hats for the newborn babies at Scottsdale Healthcare – Shea campus. Shirley crochets about a dozen hats each month. She’s also donated crocheted hats to the Airman’s Attic at Luke Air Force Base and donated quilts to the Sojourner Center and to Habitat for Humanity.
The staff at the assisted living center where Shirley resides often receive a quilt and hat to mark the birth of a new baby.
Shirley doesn’t do much applique these days as her eyesight isn’t as clear as it once was. Her favorite quilt pattern is the Lone Star. For 14 years she wintered in Texas to escape the colder Missouri weather. While in Texas she made many Lone Star quilts, often completely by hand.
Two of Shirley’s four daughters are quilters and all four daughters are painters as is Shirley. Shirley has 7 grandchildren and 6 grandchildren and hopes the quilting tradition is carried along by some of them.