Thursday, December 13, 2012

Working Women

Most Wednesday mornings at my church, Living Word in New Port Richey, at 8:30 am, you'll find a group of working women. Maybe not such an unusual occurrence, but their energy and industry belies the fact that the great majority are of retirement age and some have been retired for 20 years or more.

They are the Women's Missionary Activities Group and they have been putting together simple patchwork quilts for those they know in Nursing Homes, or confined to their homes due to infirmity and to the missionaries supported by the church (more than 30) and their families. In recent years their products have reached groups of people they've never met in women's shelters, migrant worker camps and those receiving support services in their homes.

The process for putting together these quilts has always fascinated me.  First there is a shallow closet lined with boxes of fabrics already cut into squares, with like colors together. We have several talented people who lay out quilt tops using the squares.  Most often the pattern is "Trip Around the World" but depending on the fabrics available and the whim of the designers, other patterns are sometimes seen.

Once the pattern and colors look right, each row is marked by pinning a number to the top square. The numbers of course are cut from old calendars. The rows of squares are then stacked in order with the numbered square on top. Each row is then pinned together and rolled up.  All the rolls for one quilt top are placed in a clear storage box.

Next a sewist sews each row of patches together, then after pressing, sews the rows together into a quilt top. The day I took pictures none of the tops were made into the usual "sandwich" of quilt top, batting and backing fabric, but that is the next step. Usually backing fabric is chosen so that it can be wrapped around to the front and stitched down.

Next the layers are stitched together at the corners and centers with floss that is knotted securely. The finishing touch is to stamp a message on the back from the group with the date.
All of the workers are volunteers. All of the equipment has been donated, as has the fabric for the squares. Batting and bedsheets for backing along with thread and floss are the only things that need to be purchased, taking advantage of local sales when at all possible.                                           .
More than 100 quilts have been finished in each of the past two years. We are planning to give away the last ones in the closet before Christmas so that we can start with a clean slate and storage space in the new year.

Monday, December 3, 2012

One of My Home Towns

Took a walk today to a nearby park and spent a quiet time on a nice bench riverside reading a book. This is one of the local rivers with nearly unpronounceable names of Native American origin. The name usually used in conversation is The Cotee River.  We are very near the coast, so the river is tidal.  If you don't know your geography you might be hard pressed to say which way the river actually flows.  Today it was quite placid, water gently rising as it entered from the Gulf of Mexico. There was the occasional splash of a jumping fish. Possibly mullet (I'm no expert.)
This photo is looking upriver to the bridge.  A bit overcast, but not so hot that way. Note the Spanish Moss hanging from the trees.