Categorized | Community

Sewing Circle of Caring

By Linda Cooper

The Millington Quilters Guild is a very busy community organization. The group, with more than 80 members meets every Tuesday from 9:30 a.m. to 12 noon at Baker Community Center located at 7942 Church St.
On a recent Tuesday, members shared and displayed recent sewing projects which included a variety of tote bags and a wreath; a new quilting technique was explained and displayed; and members also worked together on a variety of quilting projects. In addition, they discussed preparations for the guild’s premier event, its annual quilt show slated for Saturday, March 29 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Sunday March 30 from 1-4 p.m., at Baker Community Center. Admission is free to the public.
Millington Quilters Guild President Karen Hammer explained that a variety of new and antique quilts will be on display, a few may even be for sale. Some members will also be selling their craft items, and one quilt will be placed in a raffle to be won for $1 a ticket, with the proceeds donated to a breast cancer charity.
While one of the organization’s goals is to teach quilting, as well as new and different quilting techniques, Hammer noted, “The guild is as much a social outlet as it is learning about new quilting techniques.” She joined about five years ago and said, “I enjoy learning the new techniques, as well as meeting new people.”
Monete Ray has been a member for seven years and echoes those sentiments. “I joined because I wanted to learn how to make a quilt. But, I love the charity work. I love making Christmas stockings.”
Indeed, a significant portion of the guild’s time and activities are dedicated to charity work. At Christmas time, 60 Christmas stockings are sewn for the residents of Wesley at Millington.
On an ongoing basis, the group makes quilts to cover the incubators for babies at LeBonheur Children’s Hospital and the Regional Medical Center in Memphis, as well as sews smaller quilt blankets that fit into car seats when parents take their babies home from the hospital. They also make afghan blankets for the older children at LeBonheur. Stuffed animal fish-, turtle- and bear-shaped pillows are stitched for children recovering from heart surgery, and for patients recovering from breast cancer to hug when they cough.
Guild member Kathy Hite explained “Quilts of Valor” are made for wounded military service members returning home from overseas and estimates members have made some 350 “Quilts of Valor” in the past five years. Quilts also made for police and firemen to carry in their cars and trucks to comfort children in trauma.
Further, special bags are sewn filled with toiletries, socks, pens and other items, and donated to Alpha Omega Veterans Services in Memphis, which operates five facilities for homeless veterans.
With all of the activity, guild member Kate Finley explained that the group keeps a bi-annual calendar which outlines all of the various projects and classes conducted each week, from a featured quilting “block of the month” such as “Kansas dugout.” or technique or pattern such as “log cabin,” charity projects, or their monthly “meet and eat,” which includes a potluck lunch.
The guild pays for materials utilized for these efforts through annual $12 dues and a members-only “trash to treasure” auction where new or gently used sewing, household and garden items donated by the members are sold. Many members pay for their own materials, as well as contribute and share supplies. Donations of materials also come from people in the community familiar with the guild’s work.
Many of the guild’s members are people who are retired or no longer working, who may have quilted or sewed in the past, and are looking to take up the hobby again. Hammer explained. Hite also noted there are a few members who can no longer sew, but still come to the meetings to share their knowledge and expertise, as well as socialize.
Labels are sewn onto all the items made by the guild which say, “Made with love by the Millington Quilters Guild,” which aptly sums up the mission of the group.
For Guild members working on a quilt.information about the Millington Quilters Guild, check out the organization’s page on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/MillingtonQuilters/, call Baker Community Center at 873-5770 or Karen Hammer at 487-2903.

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