A sign reading “Homestead Stitchers Meets Here” hangs on the door of Leona Scharfenberg’s room at The Homestead at Hickory View.
Inside, instead of a couch and a television is a large quilt frame. Around it, several ladies busily hand-stitch the top of a child-size quilt, which will be donated to a local crisis nursery, Grace’s Place. Though Tuesday is the designated day set aside to work on quilts, ladies fill the room on a Wednesday morning, and nearly every other day of the week.
Present are other Homestead residents, Agnes Maune, 95, LuLu Rhodes 85, and Mildred Kleekamp, 91, who donated the frame; and others including three of Maune’s nieces, Bernadine Koenig, 77; Arlene Holdmeyer, 76, and Mary Shipley, 75.
Scharfenberg, 90, said she was disappointed when she learned that The Homestead didn’t have a quilting group. At the end of 2012, she opened her apartment to stitchers in hopes of organizing a quilting group of her own.
“I had brought such a stash of quilting materials. I was glad when I found out there were more than just me and LuLu really wanting to do it,” she said.
Scharfenberg had donated to Grace’s Place prior to moving to The Homestead.
Koenig talked to Grace’s Place about donating quilts.
“She saw an article about Grace’s Place in the paper, so I went down there and talked to them,” she said.
Amanda Jones, Grace’s Place executive director, visited with the group to talk about the services Grace’s Place provides.
The facility offers no-cost child care for families during a crisis such as stress, child care loss, job loss, medical treatments, drug or alcohol counseling, relationship issues or loss of a family member.
Koenig said each child who stays at Grace’s Place leaves with a blanket or care item.
In addition to making quilts, the ladies stitch stuffed toys and knit or crochet hats, scarves and other gifts for the children at Grace’s Place.
The first donation, of 16 quilts, toys and other items was made in December. Several others are completed or mostly completed and ready to donate.
“It’s unbelievable to me,” Scharfenberg said.
The ladies agreed that they create the quilts with love for the children.
“It’s volunteer work. It’s just a way of living to do it,” Rhodes said. “That’s what life is all about.”
The ladies could be called a club or a group, but they’re really more of a team — with each lady having something to contribute.
One person is responsible for drawing the quilt patterns on with pencil while others hand stitch the pattern. One person will thread needles, while others work on sewing tops for the quilts.
All of the ladies said quilting was a family trade, something they grew up with and learned from the women in their families.
Each quilt is made from donated scraps, batting, thread, embroidery floss and yarn. The ladies also have received donated quilt tops and completed quilts.
“Our motto is, we use what is given,” Scharfenberg said, adding that donations are always welcome and appreciated. Batting is always needed.
The children who receive the quilts aren’t the only ones who benefit. The ladies said they all get satisfaction from creating the quilts.
“It feels really good,” Koenig said. Others agreed.
“There’s satisfaction, and keeping busy and knowing you’re doing something that’s (making a difference),” Scharfenberg said.
The Homestead Stitchers have an open invitation every Tuesday, at 9:30 a.m., at The Homestead.
Helpers are needed to press material, cut out material for blocks, create blocks and put together quilt tops. People also can help bind, tack or tie quilts.
“If we had more help we could get more made,” Scharfenberg said. “I wish we could get more interested to join in the fun we’re having and doing a good deed.”