Carry On & Quilt

Carry On & Quilt

In today’s society it can be difficult to pass on a family’s history and traditions to its future generation. One woman is piecing together her family story bit by bit to make sure those traditions  stay alive.


Nat (Nell Orndorf): “My life entails carrying on the traditions my grandmother taught me.

Anchor: Nell Orndorf is the keeper of a time-honored Native American tradition.”

Nat (Nell Orndorf): “I love it when a plan comes together!”

Anchor: She quilts.

Quilting is a sacred art to most Native Nations. Girls in Native American communities learn to quilt at a very young age because a quilt can provide three important things to a family: groundcover, shelter, and warmth.

Orndorf’s quilts are made with a little extra.

Nell Orndorf: When I make quilts, regardless of if I know who they’re for or not, I say a lot of prayers for the person who’s going to have the quilt.

Anchor standup: Orndorf’s quilts put in double duty. Aside from the warmth they provide to the recipient, the quilts also pass down the history, story and culture of a family.

Anchor: Quilts passed down in the Orndorf family can be found carefully preserved in special bins in the Orndorf’s home dating all the way back to the 1930’s. Each holds its own story that Orndorf can happily recant.

Her husband Jim Orndorf explained the significance of passing down the quilts.

Jim Orndorf: We all need to pass on to our children and friends and whoever will listen some of our lore and our knowledge and our heritage, so that it doesn’t disappear.

Anchor: With her family’s heritage safely tucked in between layers of ornate quilting, Nell Orndorf can craft away just for fun.

For KSU’s own TV2, I’m Jasmin Sparkman.

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