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‘Sew Whats’ quilters stitch together

By Carol Sones Shelter - | Mar 17, 2021

The “Sew Whats” quilters of Elimsport are (standing left-right); Carol Riddell, Hilda Sampsell, Joyce Houser and Ann Finck. These “Victory Quilts” were donated to county veterans at the office of the Lycoming County Veterans Bureau. “Victory Quilts” is a nation-wide effort to honor veterans.

ELIMSPORT-The “Sew Whats” quilting club consisted of seven members when forming in 2004. Back then the seamstresses, who had recently retired, were excited to have time to pursue their love of fabric, design and sewing. “Considering our wide range of interests and skill levels, we quickly formed a support group willing to share patterns, fabrics, tools and problem solving skills,” said Nancy Jarrett, an initial member.

To date, six members remain active in the ‘Sew Whats’ who met originally in member’s homes. However, the lack of space, electrical outlets, along with a growing membership, necessitated moving to the basement of the Elimsport UM Church.

An early endeavor by the group was a Round Robin quilt. Instructions were for each member to create a center block which was then rotated throughout the group. Each added a border having a designated technique chosen by the quilter such as curves, squares, triangles, diamonds, corner stones. The last round was “quilter’s choice.” The final reveal was the first time quilters saw it since creating the original center blocks.

Gay DeMarco said, “Traditionally, homemade quilts have been associated with comfort, warmth, love and shared efforts and talents. The ‘Sew What’ members have embraced the traditional expectations by creating and gifting ‘Victory Quilts’ donated to local veterans; Hospice quilts to the Gatehouse in Williamsport; baby quilts for newborns at the church; Linus Project quilts for children in need; and individually made charity quilts.”

As the years have passed, the growing membership have their varied interests, skills, acquisition of new tools along with sophisticated machines. “We embrace hand and machine piecing and quilting, machine embroidery, free motion and long arm quilting. In addition to quilts, we make lap quilts, wall hangings, table runners, carrying bags and clothing. Each of us have created many items, as to how many cannot be counted,” Jarrett said.

photo provided The Round Robin quilt had at least five seamstresses, as after the initial quilter made the center block, each border was placed by another quilter. Nancy Jarrett did not see the end result until completed.

Advancing into their golden years, the group celebrates members birthdays when ending in zero. A special luncheon is planned with the quilter honored according to her interest.

The pandemic of 2020 has temporarily stalled the ‘Sew What’s’ monthly gatherings, but as the new year progresses and the church reopens, we will be reconvening to pursue our passion of fabric, design and sewing.