Column: Grannies put love into quilts


Commentary by Worrell

A fluffy, white snow is beginning to cover the yard as I sit down to write this week’s column.

It looks and feels cold outside, which makes me appreciate even more the warm afghan spread across my lap. Given to me by my grandmother some 15 plus years ago, the blanket she made just for me reminds me of her every time I use it. Stitched into every inch of the bed cover are memories of her kindness.

So when I heard about the Quilting Grannies, I was intrigued. The name alone conjures up a Norman Rockwell vision but I sensed these ladies might be doing for strangers what my grandmother did for me.

April Hensley is an original Quilting Granny. She and her friend, Anita Swank, were looking for an activity to do together. They were looking for something which would keep them productive but more importantly, provide a service to others.

Beth Etherington suggested something for Wheeler Mission, and the idea of quilting blankets took off. The Quilting Grannies have been at it now for 10 years and estimates (nobody is counting) puts their output well over 1,000 warm, cuddly, beautiful, hand-made quilts.

There are nine ladies who carry the Quilting Granny ID card. Joining Hensley, Swank and Etherington are Phyllis Gary, Elaine Turner, Andrea Lievertz, Ginny Day, Roberta Higdon and Cynthia McCullough.

Last year I would have been able to report that all nine women are grandmothers, but the Grannies have expanded their horizons. Two of their newest members are not grannies yet, but new moms instead.

“The children are where our focus has been the majority of the time,” Hensley said. “Because we are Grannies, our grandkids are so special. We hear the kids are surprised they get to keep the quilts and that makes it even better.”

The grannies find themselves funding the operation personally, but appreciate donations of fabric that they receive from time to time.

“We are really good at using every particle of fabric we receive and purchasing fabric when it is on sale,” Hensley said. “Especially batting. That is what we usually have to purchase most often.”

For children in our area hospitals, the Quilting Grannies have them covered.

On another note, since this is the first column of 2014, I want to announce one of my New Year’s Resolutions. I promise to triple check the correct spelling of beloved people who are subjects of my column. John Schuler – my regrets. I failed you; a mentor and cherished treasure of our community.

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