GOSHEN TOWNSHIP- A local quilting club is looking to make a difference in the community.
Formed in May, the Schoolhouse Stitchers are gathering each month at the old township administration building to work on both individual and community projects, including rag quilts for for Alzheimer's care and daycare centers in the area.
According to Director and Goshen Township resident Miriam Good, the club's mission is to establish a quilting sisterhood by helping members learn new ideas and skills and become more confident in quilting and sewing techniques, and by working on individual projects and community service projects together.
But the group, which averages about 15 members each meeting, is focusing on the community service projects, Good said, with members donating material and time to make rag quilts for area care centers, as well as projects for local public officials, she said.
"It really hasn't been done before," she said. "You see very specific groups like (military) veterans or firefighters, but not the community as a whole. We wanted to do something different."
Good explained that the rag quilts, which are pieced together using blocks of a variety of material, are used in therapy for dementia patients and early stages of learning for children.
The Schoolhouse Stitchers meet the second Thursday of each month, at 2 p.m. for projects and 7 p.m. for a business session, in the old township building next to the current Administration Building. Meetings include a short business agenda and then a show and tell of members' completed projects. Members can also schedule time to work on projects throughout the week and on weekends.
The building, which formerly housed the police department, had not been in use, and in May the township trustees granted permission for the club to use it. The building is handicap accessible with large working room, smaller storage area and bathroom.
Good said there are no yearly dues (members just pay a couple dollars each visit for utilities) and that membership is not based on attendance.
"You don't get kicked out if you can't attend for a few months," she said.
Anyone welcome to join, but must bring their own supplies and machine. Members have donated supplies to support the club, but donations are still needed for large worktables or to put legs on legless table tops, as well as fabric and flannels.
According to club member Robin VanFossen of Columbiana, the small group makes it easier to work on projects together, sharing ideas and explaining techniques.
It's also a way to spend time with old friends while making new ones, she said.
"People will come because they like the idea of sewing, and then they become friends," she said.
And the activity can be a way to escape from the hassles of everyday life, Good added.
"A lot of times quilters and sewers use it as a relaxation time, a slowing down of the tension or stress," she said. "Our meetings are a time to sit, talk, eat as friends."
Officers include Good, money keepers Terrie Patterson and Kim Williams and reporter Meta Culler. The club will hold sale days for the community to purchase projects.
The next meeting is scheduled for Thursday and includes a demonstration of a wool applique on cotton technique from the Canfield Village Quilts.
Kevin Howell can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org