PRIMETIME: Quilting Love

Published 3:55 pm Tuesday, September 23, 2008

SHERIDAN — One by one a group of ladies filed into the Ingram Sewing Center Thursday and took their place at long tables, warm smiles in place.

Many of them already knew each other— after all they all had one thing in common. Some had a bag in hand containing a treasure that was near and dear to their own heart and hopefully, would soon warm the heart of someone else when that warmth was needed most.

On Sept. 19, the first-ever meeting of Lawrence County hospice quilters met at Ingram Sewing Center. The quilters will make quilt to give to terminally ill patients staying at the Community Hospice Care Center in Ashland, Ky. That agency serves Lawrence County.

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Connie Pemberton, who organized the meeting and will serve as quilting coordinator, has been involved with a hospice quilting group in Greenup County, Ky. That group of ladies has made quilts for hospice for the last five but as hospice has grown, the need for quilts has grown also. Fannie Hatfield, the quilting coordinator for the Kentucky group, suggested to Pemberton that she get some Lawrence County ladies together and form their own hospice quilting group to help better meet the need. Eager, Pemberton began calling quilters she knew, ladies she knew would love to give of their time but would prefer not to travel quite so far to attend meetings.

“And it just snowballed from there,” Pemberton said. Quilter after quilter signed up for service until she had nearly 20.

One friend didn’t quilt, “but she said she knew someone who did,” Pemberton mused. That someone was Juanita Thomas, of Ironton, who brought a quilt top she is working on for that first meeting.

“A friend of mine is a foster grandparent and she talked me into it,” Thomas said with a smile.

Though not all of the quilters are senior citizens, quite a few of them are. Pemberton said she would welcome, “anyone who has the skill and talent and is willing to quilt.”

The group will meet next at 1 p.m. Oct. 23 at the sewing center. Ingram is not only providing space but is donating some of the material to make new quilts. Why? For owner Helen Ingram, her connection to hospice is personal.

“I just like the work they do for people,” she said. “When my mother was sick she was at the hospice care center in Ashland and they were so good to her.”

This personal connection to hospice is one LuAnn Vance understands and sees regularly in her work as volunteer coordinator for Community Hospice.

“It’s very meaningful work,” Vance told the quilters at that first meeting. “This (quilt project) is one of the nicest things we do. This is something that is just treasured by the families and we treasure you for providing it.”

Donations are welcome to help defray the cost of purchasing fabric and having the quilt tops quilted. Contributions may be sent to Vance at Community Hospice, 1538 Central Ave., Ashland, Ky. 41101.