WENTWORTH Whether they are making scarves for Christmas gifts or working on a quilt to give away, a dozen or more quilters gather several times a week to use their talents to help others.
Those who enjoy crocheting and knitting can be found at the county’s Agricultural Building at the old Wentworth School every Monday morning. While some work on quilts at that time, many quilters are there Thursday mornings.
People who are unable to attend sessions during the week typically work on their quilts at the building on the third Saturday of each month.
Sessions usually start about 10 a.m. and end with a potluck luncheon around noon. Some workers often stay through the afternoon.
Susan Childrey joined the group after retiring in 2011 from the Rockingham County Mental Health Center. She said she has been coming at least once a week and sometimes twice.
“It’s fun,” Childrey said. “It’s a good group.”
Volunteer coordinator and instructor Linda Hill has overseen the work of participants for the past 16 years.
Most are members of the North Star Club although others are members of one of the other three extension clubs in the county. Hill stressed membership in a club is not necessary for individuals to join the fun and fellowship of the craft sessions. There is no cost to attend.
Reidsville Pharmacy customer Carol Thompson told Amanda Fargis about the group. When Fargis retired from the pharmacy in July after 27 years, she immediately checked it out because some of her fondest memories are of her grandmother, the late Melissa Fargis, quilting. She said she inherited her grandmother’s quilting frame.
“I wanted to be a quilter,” Fargis said. “I’m still not good, but at least I try.”
The workers bring materials for making the products. Some families who have lost loved ones that enjoyed crafts donate their materials to them.
Hill worked at the American Red Cross for eight years. After the death of her father, Wyatt Hearp, she quit her job and turned her energies to helping others do what Hill has enjoyed all her life — sewing, quilting, knitting, crocheting and a variety of other crafts.
“I benefit from helping them and they benefit from helping me,” Hill said.
Not all quilters are female. Working diligently alongside long-time members is Austin Scarlett, who learned of the group from member Pam Fleming. Scarlett and his husband, Dillon Smith Freeman, moved from New York City to Reidsville in the spring of 2018 to renovate the Smith family home of the late Dillon Capus Smith on U.S. 158.
Pam’s husband, Jay, was helping with the restoration. When Scarlett mentioned he had set up a sewing room in an upstairs bedroom and was working on a quilt, Pam invited him to the quilt sessions.
“I thought it would be really fun to go and check it out,” Scarlett said, adding everyone “was extremely friendly and welcomed me into the club with open arms.”
During the summer and fall months each year, the quilters concentrate on one major project. They create a special king-sized quilt that is raffled at the annual Rockingham County Cooperative Extension Volunteers Fall Fair scheduled Nov. 23 this year. Proceeds from the raffle are added to the profits from the fair to provide $500 scholarships to local high school and college students.
“We try to do something different each year,” Hill said. “Each year we think it is the best one, but every year we come up with another (great) design.”
The quilt is on display at the Agriculture Building. It has a farm theme with a red tractor on the front and a green one on the back.
Cindy DuLany did most of the design work for this year’s quilt, Hill said. Each member chose a special block to create. Once the blocks were completed, they were sewn together to create the top of the quilt. When that was done, DuLany quilted the layers together on her special long-armed quilting machine.
Anyone wanting to purchase raffle tickets can do so at the extension office, 525 N.C. Highway 65, or by calling Hill at 336-616-2978. The group also accepts donations of materials and supplies. Details on donations can be obtained by calling Hill.