Contributing to the community, one stitch at a time


October 07, 2001|By Rosalie Falter | Rosalie Falter,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

THEY ARE sister guilds, joined by their love for the art of quilting and a desire to help their communities. Friendship Quilters of Linthicum and Eternal Quilters of Glen Burnie have made caps for chemotherapy patients, adult bibs for nursing home patients and toiletry kits for the homeless.

And, of course, many, many quilts.

The Linus Project, a group that provides quilts for seriously ill or traumatized children, Ronald McDonald House, House of Ruth, and several nursing homes in the area have received quilts made by the members.

On Saturday, they'll be at it again, when Friendship Quilters presents a workshop on creating Mariner's Compass blocks using Heartland Quilters acrylic templates - and then donate the quilt to Hospice of the Chesapeake.

"It's a great opportunity to learn a technique and give back to the community all at once," said Allison Bachmann, a member of the Friendship Quilters.

The two guilds share a history that dates back more than a quarter-century.

Eternal Quilters was formed in the mid-1970s, a period of renewed interest in the art of quilting. One of the group's founding members, Barbara Schafer, taught a quilting class at the Glen Burnie YWCA, and that class became a guild that in 1976 joined the National Quilting Association.

But many of the group's members worked or were raising young children, and had difficulty attending meetings, which were held during the day. Because of the need for a guild that met in the evening, the sister guild, Friendship Quilters, was formed in 1985.

Both clubs' meetings typically feature lectures by nationally known quilt artists and authors. The meetings are not traditional quilting bees, such as those familiar to our grandmothers. The guilds don't teach the basics of quilting, but they provide demonstrations at which members teach each other new techniques.

Bachmann said quilters at all skill levels are welcome to join the guilds.

"Although quilting is a very old form of needlework, it is always evolving and there is always something new to learn," she said.

Eternal Quilters meets from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. the second Thursday of the month, September through June, at St. Alban's Church, 1st Street and A Avenue in Glen Burnie.

Friendship Quilters meets from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. the second Thursday of the month from September through June at St. John Lutheran Church, 300 W. Maple Road. Linda Hahn, who was nominated for 2001 Teacher of the Year by Professional Quilter Magazine, will discuss Celtic quilting, an interlaced technique inspired by Irish art, at the next meeting.

They also offer Sit-and-Sew sessions at the Linthicum branch of the county public library on the Saturdays after their meetings.

Both groups have about 80 members.

Every year, the guilds perform at least one community service project. Last Christmas, rather than hold a gift exchange between members, Friendship Quilters "adopted" patients at a nursing home who otherwise might not receive any gifts. The nursing home staff provided a list of items the patients needed or wished for, and members purchased - or, in several instances, hand-made - those items. Both guilds also demonstrate the art of quilting at schools and fairs in the area.

Marlene Stivers, who has created quilts to raise money for Hospice of Chesapeake, including one that she made this year that raised more than $17,000, will join the Friendship Quilters on Saturday at the Linthicum library, Hammonds Ferry and Shipley roads. She will be there all day to show members and visitors how to create the compass. Her fee is $1 a kit, which she will provide. After Friendship quilters learn the technique, they will donate the quilts that are made to the hospice.

Anyone interested in learning and helping is asked to bring basic supplies (rotary cutter, mat, sewing machine, neutral-toned thread, extension cords). "Marlene, a former schoolteacher, likes to teach both to a group and one-on-one, so drop in any time that Saturday," Bachmann said.

Each guild has its own newsletter, officers, committees, activities, and quilt raffles. But the two guilds frequently share equipment, speakers, workshops and bus trips.

And every other year, they come together for their quilt show.

Members of the guilds received calls before their most recent show, Sept. 22 and 23 at Marley Middle School, asking whether it had been canceled because of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

The show went on as planned but attendance was down from past years, Bachmann said.

"It was a shame because I thought it was one of our better shows," she said. "But with everyone's mind on what had happened, it was understandable."

The Viewer's Choice awards went to Helen Ford's Rose Sampler Supreme for large quilt, to Martha Sulcer's Blossoms-a-Plenty for best wall hanging and to Mary Zebrauskas' white jacket in the "other" category. Julie Welzenbach of Denton won the Grandmother's Flower Garden Raffle Quilt.

The drawing for another to be raffled by Eternal Quilters will be held Dec. 13.

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