Quilters at Christ the King, Moline, offer comfort and joy

Photo Caption: Margaret Milefchik and Rosie Bedard hold a colorful quilt completed by the Quilters Group at Christ the King Church in Moline. Also pictured are Helen McCormick, Arlene Murphy, and Sandy Thompson.

By: By Jennifer Willems

MOLINE — In many ways, the members of the Quilters Group at Christ the King Church here are like the quilts they lovingly fashion. Each is unique, bringing her own talents and ideas to the work, and when it all comes together it is beautiful to behold.

“They do so much for so many. They are extremely quietly compassionate women, extremely quietly compassionate,” said Sharon Dodd, coordinator of religious education at Christ King. “They are the widows who put their last two little coins in the bucket. They’ll just help you in any way, shape or form.”

Dodd knows this from personal experience. In her office are 40 fleece blankets the Quilters Group has prepared for the children to finish as part of the parish’s annual Advent workshop next weekend. These will be given to local shelters for women and children.

The quilters will prepare 40 more fleece blankets for the children to work on during CKSUMMERTIME, Christ the King’s Bible school. These blankets are donated to the Ronald McDonald House in Iowa City each year.

The group of seven women — who range in age from 65 to 88 — also create quilts for parish shut-ins, a Moline-area nursing home, a crisis pregnancy center, and the Christ Child Society of the Quad Cities during their meetings on the second and fourth Tuesday of the month. They estimate that they have made 225 quilts since Nancy Grandinetti brought them together five years ago.

A LESSON IN AGING
“We have fun when we get together,” said Rosie Bedard, who has always done a lot of sewing and at one time made clothes for her family. When they started buying their own clothes, she needed to find another outlet.

“If you can’t have fun, then it really is work,” said Helen McCormick, who has also made clothes for her family. Like many of the other women she watched her grandmother make quilts and recalled the quilting bees that brought women together in previous generations.

“My grandmother always had one quilt a year,” Arlene Murphy said as she continued to line up and tape the backing, batting and quilt top to the table. In fact, the hands of the four women who were working on this part of the project were never still as the quilters talked, conferred and laughed.

While fabric stores now sell pre-cut squares for quilting, these women cut their own from fabric that is left over from other projects or garments. They discuss each quilt before starting and usually take the fabric home to cut the blocks or strips they need and sew the quilt toppers there.

“I can carry the fabric easier than the sewing machine,” Mrs. Murphy said, as the others nodded in agreement.

Once the quilts have been assembled, Margaret Milefchik ties the threads in the middle of each square with surgical precision. Working with her on a recent Tuesday was Sandy Thompson.

“I don’t think these women ever sit down and just watch TV or put a DVD in for a movie,” Dodd said. “There’s always something in their hands.”
In addition to being active in quilting at the parish and in the Quad Cities, some of the women are part of the parish’s prayer shawl ministry. This is the tip of the iceberg, according to Dodd.

“What they’ve done in their lives for other people I wouldn’t begin to know because they’ll never tell you,” she said.

“You just fall in love with them,” Dodd told The Post. “They’ve shown me how to age, how to stay involved, have a project, be there for people. They’re delightful.”

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