FREDERICKTOWN — The generation gap in Fredericktown has been bridged — at least between a select group of senior citizens and pupils in Joanne Streby’s kindergarten class — by a cooperative quilting project.
The Nifty Needlers sewing group connected with the Senior Activity Center wanted to work on a community project, and decided to include the school in the activity.
Needler Betty Thompson created 12 animal characters based on children’s handprints; nine were chosen for the individual pupil’s quilt. Using fabric and backing donated by the members, the Needlers then cut 250 muslin squares and ironed freezer paper in the back of each square to make the fabric easier to color, then traced each character onto one of the squares. Sashing and borders were cut from fabric donated by Art Dremann in memory of his wife Bev Dremann, a long-time kindergarten teacher at Fredericktown.
The children then colored the pictures, nine apiece, with crayons donated by group members and Pat Catan’s Craft Center. The first block for each quilt was a handprint of the teacher with the student’s handprint on top. It also included Mrs. Streby’s name as well as the student’s name. Some of the pupils added their own touches to the squares, adding details such as grass, a dog’s name or a sun.
Back at the senior center, and in their homes, the Needlers set the colors with heat. They sewed the blocks together and added the batting, backing, sashing to make a “quilt sandwich” and added yarn ties in preparation for tying.
On the final day in the classroom, the Nifty Needlers, plus Art Dremann, several parents, teachers and high school volunteers came together to help the pupils knot the quilts, tying six knots in each quilt block, and the project was complete.
Project co-chairman Eleanor Bowlus said the students were more enthusiastic about the project than she expected, and she commented on the wide range of abilities demonstrated by the pupils.
“Kindergarten teachers have a huge challenge,” Bowlus added.
Streby asked the children what they liked best about the quilt project. Several said the coloring, several said the knotting.
“They enjoyed getting to know our quilting friends from the Nifty Needlers,” Streby added. “Cole said his quilt is on his closet door. Kylie said she curls up under hers.”
The Nifty Needlers include: Barbara McIntyre, Carolyn Ewers, Bowlus, Thompson, Mavis Hammond, B.J. Hules, Fran Walsh, Patty Hoar and Judy Divelbiss, who provided information about the project. Another Fredericktown quilter, Dorothy Stiles, volunteered to help with the sewing.