First Posted: 3/21/2012
A patchwork of people, each with different skills and abilities, joined forces at the Abington Community Library to piece quilt tops March 17, National Quilting Day.
Some stitched the pieces of fabric together, while others ironed out the seams, trimmed the edges, or performed various other tasks. A total of 36 people participated in the event throughout the day, some working from start to finish, and others contributing whatever amount of time they were able. Together, they pieced 25 quilt tops in five hours.
The quilts will be donated to children in area hospitals through Project DJ, a local volunteer program, and the event was sponsored and run by the Always in Stitches quilting group.
"We call ourselves ‘Always in Stitches' because we're always laughing," said event organizer Susan Potenzano, of Clarks Summit.
The atmosphere of the event, although busy, was friendly and welcoming.
Linda Newberry, of Scott Township, who has been a member of the group since it started about six years ago, said this same atmosphere exists at all the group's meetings.
"We have fun," she said.
Diana Vass, of Newton, who was ironing seams at a table with Newberry, agreed, saying, "It's a wonderful group." She added that although their weekly Tuesday meetings consist mostly of "show and tell" times, members don't come to show off, but are interested in seeing what others are working on.
"A lot of us won't schedule appointments on Tuesdays…Even my kids, I tell them not to call me," Newberry said, laughing.
Potenzano said she's wanted to put together an open house for the group the past few years, but it never worked out. This year, she got the idea to do a service project for Project DJ, and National Quilting Day provided the perfect opportunity.
Marjorie Price, of Tunkhannock, has volunteered with Project DJ since moving into the area about 5 years ago, and has been quilting for about 20 years. She said the project was started in Trucksville by a mother who lost her son to cancer, and most of the quilts go to children who are sick in hospitals. She said the group also donated quilts last year to children who were affected by the September flooding in West Pittston, Meshoppen and Tunkhannock.
Potenzano said Always in Stitches members also donate quilts and other sewing projects to various charities and organizations. Their latest project involves sewing dresses to be sent to young girls in Kenya, Africa. They also make pillowcases to donate to ConKerr Cancer, a group which then distributes them to children in hospitals. She said the group has completed more than 70 of these pillowcases since mid-January.
Always in Stitches also made several quilts which were auctioned to raise money for several community organizations including the Abington Community Library; Curves, for use in their fund raising efforts for the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation; Griffin Pond Animal Shelter; Ronald McDonald House; the Divali Celebration and more. Members are currently working on a quilt for Geneva School and another for The Sno Mountain Ski Patrol.
The group was started by Retired Senior Volunteer Program facilitator Peg Winter, of Jermyn, and is comprised of about 20 members who meet at the library every Tuesday from 10 a.m. to noon during the months of September through May. Winter said she also teaches a class for "newbies" following the regular group meetings, and many of the current members started off in that class.
The group welcomes all skill levels and is always looking for new members.
"Anyone's welcome to join," Potenzano said. "It's not a closed group."
Abington Community Library Director Leah Rudolph said the group has done an amazing number of things in the six years they've been together.
"This Library-based group is so much more than a creative outlet," she said via e-mail. "It offers friendship, support and community service. Always in Stitches, sewing, laughing, or crying, they do it together."