Shining moments: A quilt a day

Many have visited La Rue Matney in her Walnut Creek, Calif., home. Still others have seen quilt batting stretched across an old camping table in her home.

But, it seems, few have witnessed how the stacks and stacks of quilts in her home seem to suddenly appear.It's as if there is a "tooth fairy or a magic elf" who waves a wand and the stacks magically grow, suggested Tom Hart, her bishop in the Lafayette Ward, Oakland California Stake.

Sister Matney, 80, has refined quilt tying to both an art and a science, explained a long-time friend, Judy Halverson. "It's incredible what she does."

For 10 years now - six days a week - Sister Matney has pinned, tied and bound a twin-size quilt a day, averaging approximately 300 quilts a year.

She spends thousands of dollars each year of her own money making quilts that she later donates to homeless shelters and housing for battered women in the Bay area.

Sister Matney's home, known for its order and neatness, resembles a fabric warehouse. In one corridor of her home, nine large rolls of batting are stacked to the ceiling. In a separate bedroom, each newly completed quilt is stacked on the quilt from the previous day.

Actually, a quilt a day is her therapeutic way of keeping the doctor away. "It's a source of satisfaction," she said. "It gives me a reason to start the day."

Once, a few years ago while she and her husband were stopped in their car, she noticed a lady pass in front of them pushing a shopping cart filled with salvaged goods and one of Sister Matney's brightly colored quilts.

"It made me feel really good," she said. To see the quilt helping someone else made me "feel like I'd accomplished something."

Sister Matney was reared as one of 11 children on a small farm in northern Utah during the Depression. By age 12, she was sewing her own clothing, and later worked in the retail business. She and her husband, Kent, who served as bishop and on the high council, raised five children and a nephew.

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