The Herald Bulletin

May 24, 2013

Hearts and hands

Quilts and bears to help patients, children

By Nancy R. Elliott
The Herald Bulletin

DALEVILLE, Ind. — Busy hands, happy hearts.

Women at Daleville Christian Church recently launched a new program that taps into the creative side of participants while reaching out to help others. Everyone has a pretty darned good time doing it, too.

Last Saturday, quilts and teddy bears were in progress, while others were learning how to knit, crochet and embroider. A table nearby held skeins of yarn. On another, lengths of fabric were neatly arrayed.  All around the large worktables, hands were at work accompanied by a steady flow of pleasant chatter and laughter.

This was just the second meeting of the Christian Women’s Fellowship group dedicated to stitching, knitting, crochet, crewel and more. For those who know what they’re doing, it’s a time to enjoy and share their craft with the fellowship of kindred souls. For those who don’t know how, it’s a place to learn. In the end, the quilts and teddy bears and blankets and hats that are created will go to warm others in need — their hearts as well as their bodies.

“There’s just so much to do for people,” said organizer Susie Freeman. She’s hoping to see more people from the area join the group. Currently, the main focus is to create lap quilts and teddy bears. The lap quilts will go to patients at local hospitals. The fleece teddy bears will go to local police and fire departments to give to small children involved on a run. Freeman said the group also offers an opportunity just to be with other women, talk and have fun.

“We’re hoping to bring people in from the community,” said Freeman. “We’ll teach people how to quilt. They can donate them or keep them…. I’m hoping that the young people will start doing some of this.”

The fellowship group meets every first and third Saturday of the month from 1 to 3 p.m. in the downstairs family room of the church, 14220 W. Daleville Rd.

‘Help one person smile’

Amanda Simpson doesn’t know how to sew — yet.  That didn’t stop her from busily stuffing teddy bears last Saturday.

“I have never done anything like this,” said Simpson. Still, she expressed her philosophy, “If you can help one person smile, you might as well do it.”

Simpson remembered when her own child was in the hospital at one month of age, fifteen years ago. That baby was the recipient of a similar handcrafted bear.

“It was just for him to love,” said Simpson. “It does mean a lot.”

Across the table, Jill Adkins and 11-year old Emily Walker were receiving tutelage from Freeman on how to knit. Walker counted up stitches on her knitting needle as Freeman leaned over Adkins’ shoulder, showing her the next step on her round needle.

Adkins said she was going to start out by making a blanket for her grandson. “Then, I’m going to go to prayer shawls,” said Adkins.

Beverly Bane and Judy Knight had their heads together nearby.

“Watch me and then you do it,” said Bane, as she showed Knight how to crochet. Later, Bane pulled out a hoop and demonstrated various embroidery stitches to Knight.

Quilter Ilene Rowe dropped in to the meeting to give a primer in how to make lap quilts. Rowe is a prolific  quilter from Daleville United Methodist Church, who estimates she’s made about 5,000 of the 1.25-yard-square quilts. She ties them, binds them, and delivers them to area hospitals.

While Rowe was showing the group how she makes her lap quilts, Madonna Gillum was pinning together a block for a more complicated quilt from a pattern called, “Seamless Serenity.”

“I’m going to try to enter this in the state fair,” said Gillum.

There’s something for everyone around DCC’s table. As for Freeman, she’s got a great grandchild due in August. She’ll be knitting a blanket for the new arrival, “Then, it’s hats, hats, hats.” She says those will be destined for babies at hospitals or for the schools.

Freeman says she only sees the needs in the community growing. She hopes the  new endeavor of  the Christian Women’s Fellowship will grow as well.

Like Nancy Elliott on Facebook and follow her on Twitter @NancyElliott_HB, or call 640-4805.