Blessed are the peacemakers … ." It's a biblical teaching that commends those who restore hope and resolve conflict. There's a group of ladies who gather around scraps of cloth on a weekly basis to create a patchwork of warmth with needle and thread. They are piecemakers.
Since 1983, they've used lots of pieces of cloth -- sometimes just treasures tucked in the back corners of dresser drawers, or long-forgotten patches still smelling of a cedar chest. The colors, the fabric, the textures, the sentiment … all those variables were secondary.
But what a difference those scraps of cloth mean when needle and thread come together to form a quilt.
Reap what you sew
Using no machines, five or six ladies gather around a quilting frame at John Wesley United Methodist Church. The goal is to make a quilt. The size will be determined by the materials that are furnished.
There's something to be said for just using what you have instead of complaining about what you don't.
Three to four hours every Wednesday afternoon, the piecemakers gather to piece together the various scraps, keepsakes and fragments.
There's also a bit of conversation that goes along with the construction. Topics invariably include trips to the doctor and forgetful husbands.
They might even share a story about a husband who forgot to go to the doctor. They laugh and share their time together creating something that will provide comfort and warmth.
Marion Walden, 90 years old, is the driving force of this needle-wielding quilting crew. Emily Strider, 91; Elaine Blalock, 86; and Faye Dandridge, 69, are all Methodists. Carol Ellis, 66, is the lone Lutheran and the baby of the group.
Now that I've given their ages, they might wrap me in a quilt and throw me off the Wappoo bridge.
When asked what they talk about during their weekly sessions, Blalock immediately says, "Everybody!"
It's not what they talk about, though, as much as what they do that has others in awe of their commitment and handiwork.
No frayed edges
Sure, the fabric is important and a proper pressing is preferred. Considerations are also given to color value and making sure there are no frayed edges. The finished product is sold, and the money that's raised is donated to church organizations and charities. They've donated to Epworth Children's Home and My Sister's House.
On occasion, they'll specifically tailor a quilt to suit the request of a congregation member. The money they're given is immediately donated to a youth scholarship or perhaps to purchase new Communion implements.
A quilt can mean different things to different people. Warmth is a basic function of a good quilt. Who doesn't like to cuddle up under a cozy comforter that seems to blanket you with good memories?
A quilt is also, though, a terrific example of how small, insignificant pieces can become extremely useful when they're all sewn together with the perfect amount of love and direction.
I've seen quilts used by wounded soldiers in foreign hospitals that became their only connection to home.
Some quilts are used by homeless shelters and provide comfort for a person with no family or friends for support.
Blessed are these piecemakers. A little needle and thread can make a big difference in a cold, indifferent world.
To reach Warren Peper, call 937-5577 or firstname.lastname@example.org.