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Dodge Rec Center quilts go to the sick
|Messenger photos by Sandi Latimer
Franklinton resident Sandy McCarthy sorts balls of crochet cotton donated to the Service Circle at Dodge Recreation Center. Members of the Service Circle use this strong thread to knot quilts they make for resdients of the VA Center in Chillicothe and rehabilitation and care centers.
|Kay Willis of Grove City sews walker bags during a recent session of the Service Circle at Dodge Recreation Center. Members make quilts and walker bags and donate them to rehabilitation and care centers in the area.
Christina Encarnanze remembers when she was recovering in the Fisher House in Dayton from knee surgery at the Wright Patterson Air Force Base hospital and received a
She recently took several quilts made by the Service Circle that meets weekly at the Dodge Recreation Center to the Fisher House, which is similar to a Ronald McDonald House.
“And all we ask is that they send us a thank you note,” said Franklinton resident Sandy McCarty, showing off a bulletin board full of thank you notes, some of them bearing names of people who received the items.
Service Circle has deep roots within the recreation center, going back so far that even some of today’s participants can’t remember the start of it. The group began work at the McDowell Senior Center and moved a few years ago to the renovated Dodge Recreation Center.
“I’ve been with it 12 or 14 years and it was going strong then,” said Grove City resident Gloria White, looking up from sewing blocks of material into strips for a quilt.
Each Wednesday morning about a half dozen women gather for a day of work. Their closet is bulging with cotton material, old sheets, cotton crochet thread, boxes of supplies such as scissors and cutting wheels, straight edges, a variety of needles and lots of pins. And it’s all donated.
“That’s my job,” said McCarty, sorting through a box of donated balls of crochet thread that the women use to knot the quilts. She goes around town seeking donations, visiting thrift stores to buy sheets - never paying more than $2 for them - that are used between the top and the backing of the lap-robe sized quilt, much like the cotton batting in a bed-sized quilt.
Kay Willis, another Grove City resident, usually cuts the material into 3-inch squares, using a cutting wheel and straight edge instead of scissors. She also does some sewing. She stacks squares, according to the pattern of material, counts them before she puts them in plastic sandwich bags.
A participant, when ready to make a quilt, can select a pattern from a notebook. These quilts are 12 blocks across and 14 blocks down, for a total of 168 squares. There are many patterns and photos of quilts that “even when two people use the same pattern, they look different because of the colors they choose,” said McCarty.
When the women have as many as 15 quilts on hand, they’ll send them to the Veterans Administration Hospital at Chillicothe, or a representative from a nearby rehabilitation center will come to Dodge and get some.
McCarty says the members can make a quilt or two a week. Some will even make their project at home and return it the following Wednesday. Not all their handwork is donated to hospitals or rehabilitation centers.
“Everyone gets to make a quilt for themselves,” said McCarty. “It could be their first one. It could be the tenth one.”
Quilts aren’t all the women make. One recent Wednesday Willis was sewing two contrasting pieces of material together to make walker bags. These bags are draped over a rung of a walker and fastened with Velcro. They have pockets where people can place their belongings.
And occasionally they’ll make drawstring ditty bags for residents of hospitals and rehabilitation centers to carry their belongings in.
Other members take donated - and unworked - crossword puzzles, Sudoku, word search and cryptoquotes and glue them to the printed side of a cereal box and the answers on the other side.
Anyone is welcome to join the Service Circle, she said. There is no age limit, and sewing skills are minimal.
“Anyone who can sew a straight line can join,” said McCarty who had sewn sundresses for her daughters, and in later years made Barbie clothes for the granddaughters.
“I wanted to learn to do quilting,” she said of the day she visited Dodge in 2005 to sign up for a class. She saw what was being done in the sewing room that day and decided to stop in.
“I never did go to the quilting class I signed up for,” she said.
Encarnanze also had limited sewing skills. She joined a sewing class at Dodge and now makes some of her own clothes and well as working on quilts.
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