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Group crafts quilts to help others

September 15, 2004|by MARLO BARNHART

marlob@herald-mail.com

WILLIAMSPORT - Got nimble fingers and a sympathetic heart? If so, the Hearts-N-Hands quilt group that meets at Zion Lutheran Church is hoping you'll stop by every third Thursday of the month.

"We started this group about a year ago," said Nancy Sandberg. "It just grew out of a love of quilting."

It has now grown into an ecumenical outreach benefiting people both in the U.S. and abroad.

A member of Zion, Sandberg and fellow organizer Janice Tyson were able to secure the church's social room at 35 W. Potomac St. for the monthly gatherings, which run from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Word is spreading and the quilt group now boasts about 10 core members and another half dozen who come when they can. At the August meeting, new volunteers included an avid quilter from an area nursing home and a former quilt show judge, Sandberg said.

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No sewing experience is necessary and all tools are provided.

In addition to Sandberg and Tyson, current active quilters and helpers include Betty Turek, Kendra Grove, Gerry Sandberg, Marjorie Dilworth, Ralph Wesser, Ruth Lutz, Marcy Offerdahl, Mary Jane Peitersen, Peggy Dinkle Judge, Cindy Aston, Lois Taylor and Nancy Rouzer.

Quilts in various stages of completion are spread onto large tables for initial sewing, assembly, batting and then hemming of the borders on sewing machines brought by quilters.

The final step of tying each square is often left to the two men - Gerry Sandberg and Ralph Wesser - who show up regularly each month.

At noon, the group clears one of the tables and the members sit down to eat sandwiches brought from home.

Unable to get to the meetings? There are provisions for those who are homebound for whatever reason.

"Kits are available to anyone who wants to participate but can't come to the meetings," Nancy Sandberg said. "People with young children or those who are older and less mobile can work at home."

When one of those quilts is nearly completed, volunteers will go to the home and pick up the quilt, bringing it back to the church for the final touches and packaging for shipment.

While most of the quilts are designated for Lutheran World Relief, some are sold locally at yard sales with proceeds going to purchase more supplies.

"Most of our material and batting is donated by Holice Turnbow, a quilting teacher in Shepherdstown, W.Va.," Sandberg said. All donations are welcome, especially fabric squares, sheets, and batting.

Most squares measure 101/2 inches. The finished quilts are 60-by-80 inches.

"Our goal is to deliver quilts to the Lutheran World Relief distribution center in New Windsor, Md., twice a year," Sandberg said. "We took 25 quilts the last time we went and we try to increase that each time."

Depending on where the quilts go in the world, the uses can be very diverse. "Some are used for bedding, others for room dividers or floor mats," Sandberg said.

For anyone interested in joining in, the emphasis isn't on skill but participation.

"It's not just for the quilting, it's the fellowship that is important, too," Sandberg said. "Come and watch and then jump in."

For more information call 304-262-6196 or 301-223-7260.

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