SIDNEY — Even when it’s not cold outside, quilts bring comfort.
That’s why the Ohio Living Dorothy Love Knotters, a quilting club which meets at the local retirement community, have planned Children’s Quilts for Hurricane Relief, a day — open to the public — of assembling quilts that will be given to children affected by hurricanes in Texas and Florida.
The group meets weekly and have finished seven quilts this year. They hope enough people will turn out, Thursday, Sept. 28, between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. to create another seven. The event will be in the Amos Community Center at Dorothy Love, 3003 W. Cisco Road.
No sewing experience is necessary.
“They have to have a willing heart,” said Lori Puterbaugh, independent activity coordinator at Dorothy Love. People who do sew or quilt are asked to take scissors, rotary cutters, mats and sewing machines. Refreshments will be provided. Participants can show up any time during the day, but signing up in advance will give organizers an idea of how many people to prepare for.
“We will have several stations set up,” Puterbaugh said. The 50-inch by 50-inch quilts are assembled in stages, even when the Knotters make them during weekly meetings. The fabric is donated.
“I get phone calls: ‘I’m cleaning out my stash!’” Puterbaugh said. The Knotters sort fabric and keep the cottons for the quilts. Other types of donated fabric are passed on elsewhere for other uses.
“It’s kind of a different way of quilting,” Puterbaugh said of the Knotters’ process. “Usually quilters will say, ‘I want a certain color palette,’” Puterbaugh said. Club quilters figure out how to make attractive covers from whatever’s donated.
The group begins by pulling out pieces that are large enough to be the backs of the quilts. Other pieces are cut into 4 1/2-inch squares by club members and Dorothy Love residents.
Koko Anzawa and Miki Motohashi, both of Troy, then lay out the colorful squares in patterns. The rows of squares are stitched into quilt tops by Grace Davis.
At a Knotters meeting, the sewers put batting between the back and top of a quilt and then baste it together with safety pins. They run strings of crochet cotton from back to front at strategic places and tie knots before trimming the batting and sewing the edges all the way around.
“These ladies take extra care with the binding. The quilt could end up being a Linus blanket, being dragged around,” Puterbaugh said.
Usually, they work on just one quilt at a time. During Children’s Quilts for Hurricane Relief Day, at stations for cutting, ironing, layout, sewing and tying, there will be several in production at once.
The Knotters began quilting as a group in 2005 to make coverlets for Hurricane Katrina victims in New Orleans. Since then, they have finished and donated 117 quilts. Some have gone to the Sidney Police Department for distribution to children who are afraid when police officers have to enter their houses on crime calls. The Salvation Army, Wilson Hospital and New Choices have also received Knotters creations.
“It’s a service for people who need them,” said Margaret Cook, who has been a Knotter since the club formed. Cook learned her skills by doing 4-H projects and, as an adult, was in a ladies aid group that made quilts.
“I’ve always liked to quilt, but I can’t do big projects, so this is perfect,” said Lois deLorraine, of Sidney, about why she participates.
Anzawa and Motohaski, both temporary U.S. residents from Japan, enjoy the camaraderie of the club.
“In elementary school (in Japan), we have a class to learn how to sew,” Motohashi said.
Margaret Boyd, of Sidney, also learned as a child — at the feet of her grandmother.
“She always had a quilt set up in the parlor. She quilted with church ladies,” Boyd said. Now Boyd teaches quilting classes in her home.
The Dorothy Love Knotters is always open to new members. It meets Thursdays from 2 to 3:30 p.m.
The women have no idea who will get their latest batch of quilts. They’re hoping to establish a connection with someone traveling to hurricane-relief areas, who can make sure the comforters get into the hands of needy children.
“We know the children won’t have any idea how much work goes into these,” Puterbaugh said. “We hope the children feel the love.”
For information or to sign-up for Children’s Quilts for Hurricane Relief Day, call 497-5116.
Reach the writer at 937-538-4824.