Churchwomen continue decades of quilt-making


November 18, 1999|By Jean Marie Beall | Jean Marie Beall,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

IT WAS A DARK, DRIZZLY day when I visited Linwood Church of the Brethren outside Union Bridge.

As I walked to the basement level, I was wrapped in the warmth of four women who were busy putting the stitches into a huge quilt spread on a quilt frame. These women, Thelma Dayhoff, Virginia Hook, Mary Garver and Joanna Hesson, and a fifth woman who wasn't there that day, Frances Lowman, are the Linwood Church of the Brethren Quilting Circle.

The quilting circle originated in 1918. In those days, the women gathered in their homes to do their stitching.

"I've been quilting since the 1930s," said Hesson, 88. "I was only about 20 years old then. But I remember we were doing it in our homes then."

No one is certain when the quilting circle moved to the church basement.

For some of the women, quilting has been something that has passed from one generation to the next.

Hook, a church member for 58 years, said she has been with the group 12 years.

"I've always quilted," Hook said. "My mother quilted and she quilted with this group before me."

Garver, 70, said she had quilted before she retired from her full-time job.

"My mother-in-law quilted here and that's how I learned," Garver explained. "We had the frames in our home."

Dayhoff learned to quilt only when she joined the circle.

"I've been a member of the church for 50 years and I have been quilting here about 15 years," she said. "I didn't know too much about quilting then, but I had done some sewing. They asked me to join them. I'm a left-handed quilter and there aren't too many of us like that."

The women spend a solid seven hours working every Wednesday. The quilts are made upon request by organizations or individuals. The $150 to $200 earned from each quilt is used for church expenses.

"We just finished one and sent it to Kentucky for a Brethren school there," Hook said. "We average about 12 quilts a year. Not all of them are the same size, but they average about 84 inches by 96 inches."

Some are cross-stitch, including one they were working on that day, and some are done in pieces. The pattern of stitching may be marked. Garver points to dots that mark the pattern on the quilt they are all working on. If where to stitch is not marked in advance, Garver designs and marks it.

Garver pulls out patterns made of plastic and cardboard and explains the stitches.

"We have a whole lot of patterns," Garver said. "Some are border patterns and some are heart-shaped. There are feather patterns and then there are circle patterns, which go inside squares." The person requesting the quilt looks at the patterns to "pick out what they want."

The quilts are rolled up on one bar of the quilt frame and then rolled back under. The frames hold the quilt taut so that stitching can be done easily. The frames are wood and estimated to be more than 40 years old.

Why do the women quilt?

"I enjoy the friendship," Dayhoff said.

"I enjoy the fellowship," added Hook.

"And it gives you a sense of accomplishment," Hesson said.

Uniontown daffodils planted

Residents of Uniontown and members of the Carroll Garden Club and Carroll Young Gardeners planted 2,000 daffodil bulbs at the east and west entrances of the historic town recently. The bulbs will bloom in spring.

"The first year we planted the bulbs, about six years ago, we didn't have any `Do Not Mow' signs up," explained Barbara Childs, a Uniontown resident. "And the county mowed them."

After spending a good part of the day planting, event organizers Mary Ellen Bay and Childs provided homemade chili for the gardeners. The chili was served in the town's former one-room schoolhouse.

Childs said the bulbs cost $1,053. The Young Gardeners donated $420 toward that.

Participating Carroll Young Gardeners included Kaitlyn Brewer, Rachel Cunningham, Scott Davis, William Hoge, Ben Kable, Caroline Kable, Michael Kroe, Rebecca Kroe, Kaitlyn Parkins, Elizabeth Sebastian, Danny Shaffer and Mike Shaffer.

Members of the Carroll Garden Club included: Mary Ellen Bay, Wait Bay, Trinka Cueman, Pat Gordon, Nancy Heiberg, Connie Hoge, Joan Mann, Lois Sebastian, Beth Sparks and Sue Webb.

Uniontown residents included: Childs, Betty Clarke, Russ Clarke, Ned Cueman, Gail Hosmer, Sam Mann and Bob Sebastian.

Jean Marie Beall's Northwest neighborhood column appears each Thursday in the Carroll County edition of The Sun.

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