The Covington News - - Society -

Of the many groups and ac­tiv­i­ties that abound in So­cial Cir­cle, the Quilt­ing Belles is a real stand­out. The or­ga­ni­za­tion is laid back in the sense that it op­er­ates be­hind the scenes with­out fan­fare or a rec­og­nized pub­lic per­sona. It is pur­pose­ful in that it seeks to pre­serve a skill that could well be­come ob­so­lete in to­day’s fast paced, throw-away so­ci­ety.

The or­ga­ni­za­tion was formed in 2006 as part of the So­cial Cir­cle United Methodist Women af­ter the death of avid quil­ter Mamie Bell Wi­ley. Mamie had of­ten in­vited fel­low quil­ters to her home on Thurs­days be­tween 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. to work on the quilt of the day. The group al­ways ad­journed promptly at 11 a.m. at Mamie’s in­sis­tence so she could make lunch for her hus­band, Fred. Mamie Bell was trag­i­cally killed in an auto ac­ci­dent dur­ing a trip to Gu­atemala while vis­it­ing her mis­sion­ary daugh­ter. Sev­eral of her quilt­ing friends de­cided to form a for­mal or­ga­ni­za­tion and named it the Quilt­ing Belles in her honor. The found­ing mem­bers in­cluded Mar­ion Bur­nette, Molly Kim­ler, Kathy Tran­tham, Kim Un­ruh, Nancy Pos­ner and Carolyn Neely; al­most all of these ladies are still ac­tive in the group five years later. Their mis­sion is to teach oth­ers while en­joy­ing the fel­low­ship of sewing afi­ciona­dos in this com­mu­nity.

The ma­jor Quilt­ing Belles pro­ject last year was to pro­duce a Dres­den Plate quilt which raised $1,000 for the lo­cal Re­lay for Life cancer fundrais­ing event. The Dres­den Plate quilt pat­tern was one of the most pop­u­lar quilts made dur­ing the 1920s and ‘30s. It was first pub­lished in the ‘20s but not al­ways un­der the name Dres­den Plate. This quilt is made of blocks with fab­ric ap­pliquéd in a se­ries of ra­di­at­ing “petals” with flat sides. Usu­ally they ra­di­ate from a cen­tral cir­cle which is more rep­re­sen­ta­tive of a flower than a plate, thus the flower names some­times used for this pat­tern in past years.

I at­tended my first Quilt- ing Belles meet­ing last week. Mar­ion, Kim, and Carolyn were there, as well as Judy Bar­ton, Penny Keener, Patsy Eg­gers and Cindy En­huis. I didn’t know what to ex­pect at this meet­ing. I thought there’d be a group of women with aprons and green eye­shades, la­bor­ing silently over a gi­gan­tic quilt frame. Noth­ing could be fur­ther from the truth. There they all were, talk­ing and laugh­ing, while set­ting up a light potluck sup­per. Their quilt­ing that day con­sisted of a kind of show-and-tell about pat­terns, tech­niques and ex­pe­ri­ences as ap­plied to the var­i­ous quilted pieces that mem­bers drew out of their tote bags. Af­ter eat­ing I asked, “when are you go­ing to start quilt­ing?” The an­swer was not very clear. Ap­par­ently, quilt­ing with the Quilt­ing Belles is of­ten more of an in­di­vid­ual rather than a group ex­er­cise.

As­pir­ing quil­ters who join the group be­gin by quilt­ing an ap­prox­i­mately 12x12-inch square pil­low top with guid­ance from ex­pe­ri­enced mem­bers. The length of time it takes to com­plete this task de­pends on the skill level and com­mit­ment of the per­son in­volved. One re­cent ac­tiv­ity in­volv­ing all the mem­bers was to com­plete 12 quilted squares, col­lec­tively in­cor­po­rat- ing a va­ri­ety of pat­terns, shapes and col­ors. Then all the squares were traded around, so that the com­pleted quilts would be­come friend­ship quilts. I had a look at some of them in var­i­ous stages of com­ple­tion and they were truly unique.

I also learned that quilt frames, at least for this group, were a thing of the past. Cur­rently the quil­ters use hand-held cir­cu­lar frames that look like large em­broi­der hoops. These hoops can be placed over the de­sired sec­tion to be quilted and used as a lap frame. The in­di­vid­ual pat­tern pieces are stitched to­gether which are then “framed” with solid fab­ric strips to com­plete a square; the squares are then stitched to­gether to form a quilt. Cot­ton bat­ting and a solid fab­ric back­ing are ap­plied be­hind the pieced top and then ac­tual quilt­ing be­gins. Plas­tic fin­ger guards are used to pro­tect fin­gers push­ing and pulling the quilt­ing nee­dle. The stitching on the top forms a pat­tern on the bot­tom back­ing. It’s a com­pli­cated and time con­sum­ing process but the re­sult is a great source of pride and ac­com­plish­ment.

The Quilt­ing Belles wel­come any­one wish­ing to learn to quilt. You don’t have to be a Methodist or a church mem­ber. The group meets twice a month on the sec­ond and fourth Thurs­day at 6:30 p.m. and new mem­bers are al­ways wel­come. The potluck sup­pers are held only about once ev­ery six weeks. The rest of the meet­ings are de­voted to quilt­ing on site. One of the ob­vi­ous ben­e­fits of mem­ber­ship is the close friend­ships that are formed. The cur­rent pres­i­dent, Mar­ion Bur­nette, dis­cussed with me the ben­e­fits of mem­ber­ship. She said that, “the group brings women to­gether in a set­ting where they can en­joy each oth­ers friend­ship. Friend­ship is so of­ten miss­ing in our fast-paced lives.”

A sep­a­rate knit­ting group al­ter­nately meets on the first and third Thurs­day. Also, a sec­ond quilt­ing group called All God’s Chil­dren meets on the first Wed­nes­day of each month to make blan­kets and stuffed an­i­mals for chil­dren in need. In ad­di­tion, they give baby blan­kets to ev­ery new baby in the church.

The en­thu­si­asm of the Quilt­ing Belles is in­fec­tious. I have de­cided to be­come a quil­ter! I am meet­ing to­mor­row with Patsy Eg­gers to se­lect a pat­tern and re­ceive the nec­es­sary in­struc­tion to build a 12x12 inch pil­low top. Patsy, who makes all the cos­tumes for our So­cial Cir­cle The­ater, is also an en­thu­si­as­tic quil­ter and, with her help, I hope to be­come the belle of the Quilt­ing Belles in the very near fu­ture!

Photo cour­tesy of the Web

The Dres­den Plate quilt pat­tern was one of the most pop­u­lar quilts made dur­ing the 1920s and ‘30s.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.