The Shawnee News-Star
  • Handmade quilts donated to local disaster victims

  • Victims of nature at its worst are finding some comfort in quilts labored with love.
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  • Victims of nature at its worst are finding some comfort in quilts labored with love.
    The Spinning Spools Quilt Guild of Shawnee provided nearly 50 quilts to tornado victims in 2013 and now aims to donate meaningful textiles to local fire victims. President Evelyn Pipkin said the first quilt was presented to Roy and Roye Nealy of Bethel.
    “Their home was completely destroyed on Dec. 28,” Pipkin said. “In the fire, Mrs. Nealy lost a quilt that her great-grandmother had made and Mr. Nealy lost a quilt that had been presented to him by Quilts of Valor through the Wounded Warrior Project.”
    The non-profit organization learns of victims directly from the fire department and through word-of-mouth. Members most commonly contribute to the program by using simple cutout patterns to create one or two blocks before one person assembles the blocks into a quilt.
    Pipkin said a teacher, last year, fought back tears as the group gave quilts to children affected by disaster.
    “A child said, ‘Oh, I just thank you. The tornado blew my quilt away,’” said Pipkin. “We found that to be true. They were surprised. They’re very thankful.”
    Children are a large focus for the guild. The organization makes more than 100 baby quilts annually, for children in Babies First, the Department of Human Services system and similar services. Pipkin also highlighted the significance of teaching boys and girls to quilt.
    “Hopefully we’ll have classes at the library this summer. Volunteer guild members have agreed to teach,” she said.
    Classes would educate youth about the machines, the process, safety and sewing, and allow participants to leave with a finished product.
    Adults interested in quilting for pure hobby, or to assist in the disaster program, are encouraged to attend a 7 p.m. meeting the first Thursday of the month at the Senior Citizen Center of Shawnee.
    “We have members from Seminole, McLoud, Tecumseh, Moore, Choctaw, Prague, Earlsboro, Oklahoma City, Texas, Kansas and all around,” Pipkin said. “It’s not limited to Shawnee.”
    Pipkin said she hopes disasters are few and far between this year, but members are preparing for the possibility of more tornadoes and fires.
    “The Guild is busy making quilts,” she said. “Large size, teens, children and infants, for families who may suffer loss of their homes in the future.”
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