By Starrla Cray
MONTROSE, DELANO, MN For Bunnie Runman of Montrose, morning, noon, and night are all prime quilting times.
“It’s all I do for hours,” she laughed. “It’s an addiction.”
Bunnie’s “addiction” has produced hundreds of gorgeous full-sized quilts, impressive wall hangings, and cozy baby quilts.
Bunnie has been creating her masterpieces for more than 30 years, and her passion for quilting just keeps growing.
“After breakfast in the morning, I work until my stomach’s growling and my shoulders are sore,” Bunnie said. Then, after lunch, she’s back at it again.
“I usually have a couple different projects going,” she said.
Bunnie’s husband, Doug, often has trouble tearing her away from a quilt she’s working on.
“He’ll come in and ask, ‘are you going to make dinner soon?’” Bunnie laughed.
Her answer is usually, “just one more seam.”
“It’s like a really good book,” Bunnie explained. “You can’t put it down.”
When she was younger, Bunnie never imagined she’d be making quilts, because she didn’t like the idea of doing precise measurements. Now, her friends laugh when they recall how she told them, “I can’t sew.”
“I hate math, but you find ways to get around it,” Bunnie said. “That’s partly why I do my own thing a lot.”
Bunnie often creates her own patterns, which makes her quilts truly one of a kind.
Her most unique creation, which is currently on display at the Delano Library, is made of men’s neckties from the 1940s.
“I began collecting the neckties about 20 years ago,” Bunnie said. “Then I thought, ohh, I could make a quilt with these.”
Style and creativity
Bunnie’s style ranges from 1930s flour sack fabrics to Civil War reproduction designs to sleek modern patterns, and everything in between.
“It’s pretty eclectic,” she said.
Her favorite is a traditional log cabin pattern, but she also adores batik fabrics, which feature a wax-resist dyeing technique.
One of Bunnie’s memorable custom orders was making a huge quilt out of dance costumes. Another interesting quilt incorporated the paneling of a 1970s skirt into the center of the quilt.
She’s also done several quilts made from t-shirts and sweatshirts. Parents often order them for their sons or daughters who are graduating from high school, as a way to preserve clothing from extracurricular activities.
Bunnie sells her quilts at the Howard Lake Craft Show, and at the spring and fall Heart and Home Boutique shows in Waconia.
She also donates many of her quilts. One of Bunnie’s wall hangings sold at a Hennepin County Medical Center fundraiser for $1,200.
“It was so exciting,” said Bunnie, who volunteers at the center every Tuesday.
Bunnie is involved in three sewing groups, including the Calico Quilters in Delano. The group started at the Calico Cat sewing shop in Rockford more than 25 years ago.
When the shop closed, the group moved to the Delano Library, meeting every first and third Thursday from 9 a.m. until about 1 p.m. The group has grown in recent years, Bunnie said, with about 16 current participants.
“We bring a potluck for lunch and everyone brings their sewing,” Bunnie said.
Bunnie first started quilting because her grandmother and great-grandmothers were quilters. Her early projects were mostly squares for friends’ babies.
In addition to quilting, Bunnie has a passion for gardening.
“In the winter I’m sewing, and in the summer I’m gardening,” she said.
Bunnie estimates that half of her 120-foot by 250-foot yard has turned into a garden.
“And I’m not finished yet,” she said.
Bunnie is also an avid collector of vintage clothing and antiques. Her shelves at home are lined with pre-1950s ceramic pitchers.
When she started running out of room in her house for more antiques, Bunnie began collecting postcards from the early 1900s.
“You can fit a lot of postcards in a notebook,” she laughed.
Bunnie was born in Kansas, and her family moved to Mound when she was in junior high.
Bunnie and Doug have lived in Montrose for 32 years. Doug works as a tool and dyemaker in Plymouth.
To see a quilt Bunnie created, go to the Delano Library, located at 60 Railroad Avenue East.