Traverse City Record-Eagle

Archive: Sunday

March 2, 2014

Quilting with surgical precision

TRAVERSE CITY — David Lint traded sutures for stitches.

The retired orthopaedic surgeon took up quilting in 2002, inspired by the colors, patterns and textures of fabric and thread.

“I get joy out of what comes together,” said Lint, 75. His quilt designs range from the traditional “double wedding rings” to the wavy “bargello.”

He’s created about 100, from the crib quilt that was his first solo project — a gift for a grandchild — to the California King quilt that took months to complete. More than 20 of the quilts are on display at Horizon Books in Traverse City in only his second show in eight years.

Lint practiced orthopaedic surgery for 34 years, all but the last three at Munson Medical Center. He learned to quilt shortly before he retired in 2004, motivated by his wife, Mary, and friend and fellow surgeon John Liddicoat, both quilters.

It all started with a visit to the Ice House Quilt Shop in Grayling where Lint, a Renaissance man who plays violin, roasts his own coffee beans, fly fishes and skis, was captivated by the brilliant and imaginative fabrics.

“I taught him what to do and he did it,” said Mary, who creates her own quilts from scraps left over from Lint’s projects, which can consume up to $500 in materials.

The couple collaborated on their first quilt shortly after they attended the prestigious International Quilt Festival in Houston. The result, “Heart’s Delight,” won the Viewer’s Choice award at the Patchwork in the Pines Quilt Show in Traverse City.

Now Lint has his own workspace in the den of the couple’s log home overlooking Grand Traverse Bay, where fabrics are stored in every nook and cranny. Completed quilts are rarely sold but instead are folded away, hung from the loft railing, or given to friends and family including five children and 12 grandchildren. Some also make their way into charity auctions.

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