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Crafty ladies

Sit n’ stitch group turns fabric into works of art

Created date

May 21st, 2013

Two years ago, the sit n stitch club at Ann s Choice, the Erickson Living community in Bucks County, Pa., began a collaborative project that members could work on together during meetings. It could have been anything, says Bonnie Bustard, who chairs the group. What they decided on was an Underground Railroad sampler quilt.

Cooperative effort

They collaborated on everything from buying and cutting fabric to assembling a sewing packet for each of the 16 blocks. Members who knew how to piece and quilt taught those who didn t. At Monday meetings, they sewed by hand and discussed what the patterns symbolized and how the quilts helped guide escaped slaves to safety in Canada. Within a year, they d joined the blocks and layered the quilt. Then new resident and experienced quilter Judy Coyle joined the group and hand-quilted the entire thing. The group is delighted with the finished project, says Bonnie. So is Ann s Choice, which is currently displaying the quilt in a series of venues across the campus. This February, it hung as a studio backdrop at Channel 5, the campus s in-house TV station. Through August, it will be exhibited in each of the community s three clubhouses. Then it will travel, first to Gilda s Club Delaware Valley, which sits just behind Ann s Choice. Sit n stitch members also hope to exhibit the quilt at two sites in Bucks County, the Visitors Center and the 2014 Peddler s Village quilt show.

Fashioning fabric favorites

Throughout the year, club members use their talents to fashion handmade items to sell at Ann s Choice craft shows. Proceeds from sales of their lap quilts, placemats, and seasonal fabric door wreaths are donated to the community s scholarship fund for its student servers. Because the goal is always to bring members together, All our projects are cooperative efforts, says Bonnie. To create the puffy wreaths, they ve established a regular assembly line to put the wreaths together. Sit n stitch s most popular sellers by far are its knitted ruffle ribbon scarves. The scarves went like hotcakes at the community s spring bazaar. It s amazing how these scarves took off, Bonnie says. People flock to our meetings to buy them. And some people join the group just to learn how to make them. Working with fabric and fiber requires a stash of materials. When the Bustards moved from Cheltenham, Bonnie continued to teach and used the large storage area in the master bedroom of their Hastings-style apartment home as her supply cupboard. She recently cleared out those supplies. Now it s all fabric, she says. The additional fabric is in rollaway drawers in the couple s second bedroom. A combination sewing room and guest room, the space easily accommodates a bed and comfortable chair plus Bonnie s sewing machine and cutting table. Besides Bonnie and Judy, sit n stitch members who worked on the Underground Railroad quilt include Doris Chism, Lois Faunce, Pat Ferren, Pam Hitt, Carol Knitter, Felisa Owen, Mary Ann Peterson, Marge Riemer, Evelyn Leingang, and Katharine Vitale.