A stitch in timeCurrently working on the 26th quilt to be raffled off at the annual fall festival at the South Washington Senior Center, in Cottage Grove, five quilters came to the traditional craft in various ways.
By: Judy Spooner, South Washington County Bulletin
Currently working on the 26th quilt to be raffled off at the annual fall festival at the South Washington Senior Center, in Cottage Grove, five quilters came to the traditional craft in various ways.
As a child, Charlotte LeMay helped her mom make quilts by sitting under the quilt frame and pushing the yarn needle back to the surface as her mother tied a quilt top to the backing.
Now LeMay is one of five quilters that are working on the quilt to be raffled off at the senior center’s 2009 fall festival.
“My daughter asked me if I would ever marry again,” LeMay said. “I told her, only if he owns a Jo-Ann Fabric store.”
Like LeMay, the other quilting enthusiasts working together have memories of their mothers making quilts.
Vi Schlichting’s mother put her quilts over the backs of chairs in their home.
“She made a quilt for every one of her grandchildren,” she said. “My daughter got the last one.”
At 93, Lois Mavis is the group’s oldest quilter. She took her first stitches after she retired. She worked on the first senior center quilt with a “Drunkard’s Path” design along with Lucille Haugo.
Haugo made her first quilt in 1949. After that, children came along and she didn’t have much spare time.
In retirement, she started quilting again at the senior center.
The center pays for the quilt batting and the backing. Many quilters such as LeMay, have extensive collections of fabric.
Most of the fabric in the quilts is donated, some comes from the estates of quilters after they die.
Death is not a frequent topic of discussion for the quilters during the two hours a week they spend making tiny stitches around the patches in this year’s quilt, but it comes up.
Marion Bonfig, 80, was also a quilter and died less than a month ago, according to Schlichting. “She got me into quilting,” she said.
Jackie Horner is also part of the group.
The women say that they like to talk about local politics.
“We solve the world’s problems,” LeMay said.
The quilting process starts in the fall when the women decide by consensus what the design will be and choose the colors.
After cutting the pieces, LeMay takes the pieces and sews the quilt top on home sewing machine.
The top is temporarily basted to the filling and the quilt backing by senior center quilters. Using tiny stitches, they sew the top, batting and backing together by hand sewing around each piece of the design. When completed, basting is removed and edge strips sewn on.
The finished product will be ready in May.
“When it gets to be nice, we like to be outside,” LeMay said.
Income from the annual raffle has varied over the years. In a top year, more than $1,000 was raised.
That was because there were men who were members of the senior center selling raffle tickets in local bars.
“None of us is willing to do that,” LeMay said.
Designs for senior-center quilts include Card Trick, Jennifer’s Fan, Ribbon Star, Thousand Pyramids, Bow Tie, Heart Block, Flying Geese, Kaleidoscope, Calico Heart, Cat’s Eye, Devil’s Puzzle, Dresden Plate, Rail Fence and Shooting Star.