Love It

Friend­ships and mem­o­ries flour­ish when craft­ing with oth­ers.

Country Woman - - CONTENTS -

Mak­ers groups are a boon for craft and ca­ma­raderie.

Warm Blan­kets, Warm Hearts BY JU­DITH A. ROBERTS HALLSVILLE, MIS­SOURI

In the sum­mer of 2016, my grand­daugh­ter called me and asked if I would make a “busy blan­ket” for one of her Alzheimer’s clients at the skilled nurs­ing care fa­cil­ity where she worked.

I knew the abil­ity to make and do many things dis­ap­pears with Alzheimer’s, as I had watched my mom strug­gle with the dis­ease. But busy (or “fid­get”) blan­kets give pa­tients some­thing to do with their hands. I was happy to help.

Soon af­ter de­liv­er­ing that first blan­ket, I be­gan get­ting re­quests from other fam­i­lies. To fill the need, I re­cruited my friends for a day of sew­ing.

The laugh­ter, cre­ativ­ity and ex­per­tise of the many hands turned what might have been a chore into some­thing spe­cial. The tal­ents of ev­ery woman made each blan­ket a per­sonal work of art that con­nected us all. The bonds we shared that day grew with each pass­ing hour.

To­gether we made 32 blan­kets that day. The busy blan­kets warmed hearts twice—first for the friends who made them and sec­ond for the res­i­dents who re­ceived them.

Mon­day Morn­ing Knit­ters BY KATHY CUFF BISHOP HILL, ILLI­NOIS

Some peo­ple groan about the start of the week, but the Mon­day Morn­ing Knit­ters in Bishop Hill, Illi­nois, man­age to be­gin it with fun and fel­low­ship over nee­dles and yarn.

For more than 10 years, 15 of us have gath­ered over pots of cof­fee and treats to spend the morn­ing knit­ting, help­ing each other with projects—and vis­it­ing. We’ve shared fam­ily joys: new ba­bies, birthdays, grad­u­a­tions and mar­riages. And we’ve shared sor­rows: ill­nesses, breakups and deaths.

It’s a great sup­port group for all of us.

Over the years we’ve also knit for the ben­e­fit of oth­ers, in­clud­ing socks for a Civil War ex­hibit in our state’s cap­i­tal, mit­tens for school­child­ren, hats for new­borns at area hos­pi­tals and win­ter ac­ces­sories for a nearby church’s mit­ten tree.

Fam­ily Quilt­ing Bee BY MARIE WESTPHAL VAN BUREN, ARKANSAS

“Iwant you to have some­thing,” my aunt Sylvia Steele said as I vis­ited her one win­ter day in 1980.

“Mama made this back in the ’40s and never got around to quilt­ing it,” she said, hand­ing me a quilt top my pa­ter­nal grand­mother had pieced by hand most of 40 years ear­lier.

I was filled with en­thu­si­asm as I took it home. That sum­mer the quilt top beck­oned to me, but I couldn’t quite un­der­stand what it wanted.

In early fall, my ma­ter­nal grand­mother vis­ited, and as we talked about sew­ing, quilt­ing, kids and fam­ily, a plan be­gan to form: I would have an old­fash­ioned quilt­ing bee. I sched­uled it for that Novem­ber, just be­fore Thanks­giv­ing.

When the day ar­rived, I felt both ex­cite­ment and a sense of peace. My mother, her mother and all of my aunts (in­clud­ing Aunt Sylvia)—three gen­er­a­tions of quil­ters—gath­ered to stitch the quilt top pieced by Grandma Steele so long ago.

While the stitches flew and my young girls played un­der the quilt, we solved the prob­lems of the world. We quilted through lunch cleanup, fussy ba­bies and bath­room breaks. By evening the quilt was far enough along that Mom and I were able to fin­ish it the next day.

Now, al­most 40 years later, that quilt, worked on by so many women in my fam­ily, is still a trea­sured re­minder of our time to­gether.

For the Love of Fairies BY JULIE COLE JEF­FER­SON, OHIO

Un­til two years ago I had never heard of fairy gar­dens, but as soon as I was in­tro­duced to them, I was smit­ten and im­me­di­ately started cre­at­ing fairy gar­dens in my yard. Ea­ger to share my new love, I started two Face­book groups for en­thu­si­asts. Lit­tle did I re­al­ize there were thou­sands of us all over the world who were will­ing to share cre­ations, ideas and even tu­to­ri­als.

I thought it would be fun to host a fairy gar­den class at my house, so I in­vited a few Face­book friends to join me. The first class brought three peo­ple, the next five, then seven. Now a group meets with me ev­ery Wed­nes­day to make fairy gar­dens. Each week we tackle a dif­fer­ent project, all start­ing with the same items, but all end­ing up with com­pletely dif­fer­ent de­signs. We have a blast and have be­come fairy good friends be­cause of our shared in­ter­est in the imag­i­nary worlds we cre­ate.

Ju­dith Roberts (bot­tom, far left) gath­ered many hands to make light work of the busy blan­kets they cre­ated for Alzheimer's pa­tients.

Julie Cole's love of fairy gar­dens has grown into a se­ries of themed classes, in­clud­ing a hang­ing bas­ket work­shop To­nia Varcette and her mom, Joyce Brown, joined.

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