Portland Community of Christ Quilting Group
As I walked into the basement of Community of Christ in Northeast Portland, I heard the sounds of happy people and whirring machines.
Quilters were everywhere, doing their assigned tasks of transforming rainbow pieces of material into stunning quilts for people who had none. Northwest Pilot Project clients are some of the beneficiaries of these quilts.
The Community of Christ Quilt Group, dubbed the Quilting Angels by one of their supporters, Dee Dudek, is a well-oiled human machine for humanity. Dee says, “I call them the Quilting Angels because that’s just what they are-angels.” At NWPP we couldn’t agree more.
The basement of the church is their factory one day a week, turning out 125 quilts a year. These quilts are given away to many local organizations as the need arises. Quilts are also sent all over the world to people who need them.
There are an average of 16 people on the quilting team, including 5 men. The men joined when, one Sunday in church, an announcement was made that strippers, rippers and tiers were needed. A gentleman named Max said, “I went to find out about the strippers and they had me tying knots instead!” Max has retired, but Bill, Ron, Art, and Rick tie all the knots on the quilts, doing it very efficiently by using a template Max designed to find the center of the quilt square. Gordon assists in cutting quilt squares.
The big basement of the church is filled with large tables that support the different stages of quilt making. The richly colored recycled fabric is stripped and ripped and made into squares. The squares are laid out and pinned together in a pattern of 8 squares by 7 squares. There is a sewing machine where the squares are sewn together. There are tables where the quilt’s inner padding is laid out, pinned, and sewn together, the warmth sewn in for the future owner.
On another table the filler is put together with the back of the quilt, which is one piece of fabric, and the top of the quilt, which are the sewn together squares. Then everything is pulled and prodded so it lies flat and straight, without any wrinkles. The final quilt is taken home and sewn by Robin, Sally or Barbara.
Some of the quilters have known each other for 50 years. “That’s exactly the reason we do it,” one said, as two dogs with their dog toys chased around the assembly. There is an easy togetherness in the room. There is lots of laughing and joking, the end result being that someone can be warm again.
The quilters put their caring and love into these quilts and the new owners feel that. The love put into such a hand-crafted quilt helps the new owners to become a part of life again, helps someone feel happy, connected, and sleep well. The people who receive the quilts can tell their stories to others, to be a part of the human fabric of life. The group has been making quilts for over 15 years.
“Quilting and providing quilts for others fills a need for the quilters just as much as for the people receiving the quilts. A need for fellowship is fulfilled for the people who come here. No one wants to miss quilting day”
At NWPP, we are profoundly grateful to receive these quilts and give them to the people we serve.
You can learn more about the Northwest Pilot Project by visiting their website at http://www.nwpilotproject.org/
or if you would like to visit and quilt at the church on Tuesday mornings, the Quilters start at 10 AM.
Quilting meets in the basement dining room every
Tuesday, from 10 a.m. till noon.
Morning snack/coffee provided. All are welcome to attend.
The Fabric of Warmth and Love
Article taken from the Northwest Pilot Project Spring 2013 Newsletter.
Writtin by: Dena Chilikos, NWPP’s Volunteer Program Coordinator