When local women were no longer able to meet at Cornerstone Church to quilt, they missed the social time with friends they have come to count on, after decades of gathering weekly for stitching sessions.
Quilting groups are a tradition of the many Mennonite churches, and in NOTL, that tradition has become so important to local women, many of whom remember the examples set by their mothers, as they socialize while they stitch, knowing their quilts will go to those in need.
This year, the women missed out when sessions were cancelled due to COVID last spring, but as soon as they were permitted to gather again in small groups, says quilter Dorothy Soo-Wiens, they began meeting again, moving from the Niagara Stone Road church building to their Orchard Park campus on Hunter Road.
Since then, with women physical distancing and wearing masks, each with their own work station, they began stitching furiously to make up for lost time.
In the last few weeks, they have completed 11 quilts, just in time to donate to Newark Neighbours to be distributed at Christmas.
“The relationships we’ve developed are tightly-built, and we missed each other when we couldn’t meet,” says Soo-Wiens.
She references a speech made at a quilting convention recently by the husband of a quilter who spoke, tongue-in-cheek, of their all-consuming obsession for their collection of fabric and their craft, and the loyalty they have for each other, which he compared to motorcycle gangs and cult members.
“It was very funny, but so true,” says Soo-Wiens. “That’s exactly what we’re like.”
He also spoke of the skill that goes into their craft, and the generosity of spirit as they give away their quilts to assist others in need.
That too perfectly describes the group of NOTL women who didn’t want Christmas to go by without their donation of quilts to locals in need.