Quilting circle raises money for senior center

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

A tight-knit group of quilters is raising money for the Carroll County Senior Activity and Wellness Center with nothing but needles, thread and a passion for their craft.

Senior center director Carla Mann said the volunteers hand-quilt some quilts for individual requests and make others for the senior center to raffle off and sell.

“The ones hanging up are the ones we make for the center,” Mann said. “The volunteers make the entire quilt, not just the hand-stitching but also all the patchwork. All of the proceeds from these go to the center.”

The money raised by the individual quilts goes to both the senior center and the Meals on Wheels program, she said, depending on where the money is needed most at the time.

Among the volunteer quilters are Iola Peden, Dolly Bunch, Mary Wadel and Judy Hooten. They said they all started quilting at different points in their lives, learning the art form from family members, work or through personal interest.

“I’ve been quilting at the senior center since 1993. I didn’t start quilting until I retired,” said Peden. “My mother, grandmother and aunt were all quilters or seamstresses, so I guess it just came naturally for me to do it.”

Wadel said she began quilting when she was 13 years old and learned it from her mother.

“My mother quilted all the time, and I quilted with her,” she said. “I don’t know how many quilts she made, but she put them on the frames all the time for several years. I would come over to the senior center with my mother-in-law and quilt once in a while, and, when she got to where she didn’t drive anymore, I would bring her over and stay and quilt a lot of the time.”

“Her mother-in-law taught me how to put quilts in the frames,” Peden said. “I had never done that before.”

Bunch said she has been quilting for 35 to 40 years but came to the craft a little differently.

“I worked at Walmart for a long time, and I sold a lot of fabric,” she said. “People would come in, and I’d help them pick out fabric for quilts. I didn’t know what I was doing, but I pretended I knew. I learned a lot from what they would tell me about quilting. I’ve been quilting with the senior center for about two to three years.”

Bunch said her favorite part of quilting is seeing how happy people are when they receive the finished quilts.

“I like the comments people make about the quilts and how happy they are when we get one finished,” she said.

“I love all of it,” Peden said. “I like trying to figure out how to put it together and looking at how beautiful it is after it’s put together.”

The quilting is bringing more together than just scraps of fabric. Mann said she believes one of the group’s favorite parts of quilting is the company it provides.

“I started coming over here in 1993. I’d had a heart attack, and the doctor said I needed to get out and be with people,” Peden said. “My husband said ‘Well, I tried to get her to go to the senior center and quilt with those ladies,’ and the doctor said ‘You get over there and be with them people,’ so I did. That was in July of 1993. I’ve been coming here almost 25 years now.”

She said there were even two years when she and a friend put in so many volunteer hours quilting at the senior center that they received a certificate and pin from the president.

“We would come over here at 8 a.m. and stay until 4 p.m. five days a week,” Peden said.

“We have a quilt on the frames all the time,” Wadel said.

Joy Flake, a regular customer of the quilting circle, said she loves how unique the quilts they make are.

“They do so much work, and the quilts are so original,” Flake said. “They hand-do it all, which makes it extra special. It’s not something you can buy at the store. All of our grandkids have quilts from here, and we’ve got two that we put on our bed at home. We love them.”

Mann said people can stop by the senior center any time to look at the quilts available.

“If they’re interested in learning how to quilt, we’re always looking for new quilters who either know how to do it and are experience or are interested in learning,” she said. “There’s a wealth of knowledge here they would love to share with people who want to come in and learn. You don’t really need any experience. You can be new to it, and they will teach you.”

The senior center is open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. It is located at 202 W Madison Ave. in Berryville. For more information, call the center at 870-423-2796.

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