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Hand Quilting Masterpieces

Humans move fast. They must to keep up with the world around them.

From iPhones to smart TVs to a mere click of a button, humankind is constantly inventing new ways to increase efficiency.

But often, we miss opportunities to go through the laborious process so that we might truly be aware of the beauty of the outcome.

In room 135 at Central, you will find that the process has not been overlooked. Every Wednesday morning, a group of ladies meticulously work in unison to create masterpieces: hand-stitched quilts. The group started meeting in 1991 and has changed in attendance throughout the years. They makes quilts so detailed and substantial, it can take more than six months at two hours a week to complete one. But according to the quilters, the process is actually what impels them. Often, the final product is merely an emblem of the work put into a quilt. To the ladies, the time spent together is the reward.

“We like the get together,” quilter and member Shirley Buse said. “We just love quilting. We love the company of being together.”

Dot Carney, long-time member of Central and quilter, said that she began hand-quilting at age 19. Dot is now 98 and hand-quilts with the ladies at Central.

“I like seeing the finished product, being with the other ladies, and the fellowship we have,” Dot said. Several of the other ladies agreed, saying the time together has helped form better relationships among one another.

Hand-quilting is a very detailed activity that requires an abundance of patience and diligence. According to member and quilter Barbara Williams, it is an art that many have moved away from due to the introduction of quilting machines.

“This hand-quilting is a kind of dying art and that makes me sad,” Barbara said. She hopes the group will continue on for years to come.

Art truly defines the work and creations these ladies produce. Shirley Buse ran her fingers over a quilt hanging at the front of their workshop. The ladies call it their “Sampler Quilt” and it happens to be their

favorite. Shirley showed off the intricate stitches it took to hold the layers of fabric together. The fabric was pieced together and the stitches were all hand-done by the group at Central. Each stitch measured smaller than a quarter-inch wide. Shirley mentioned that the small size of each stitch shows just how skillful the quilters were who made it. The choice of colors, patterns, and design also show the talent.

The ladies did not pick quilting up overnight, though, and fully expect anyone desiring to learn to go through some troubles. But once someone learns, they may never want to stop.

“It’s frustrating until you learn, and then you can’t wait to get back to quilting again,” Shirley laughed.

“It is an illness,” quilter Pat Huntley said.

“It is an addiction, for sure,” Barbara added.

And even if a person does not necessarily want to learn how to quilt, the quilts the group has made throughout the years are displayed in photo albums and scrapbooks in room 135 for all to see. Each quilt has a story behind it that many of the quilters are willing to share.

The entire group encourages any person of any age with any experience to join them in their quilting fellowship. Newbies can be taught how to hand-quilt and those more experienced can jump right in or bring a project they are currently working on.

All are welcome! If you have any questions about the quilters, please contact Shirley Buse at 865-986-1203 or Barbara Williams at 865-988-6941

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