OHIO VALLEY — What happens when a quilt becomes more than a quilt, when it becomes not only a cover to keep the body warm, but the heart as well?
Can a quilt transform into a recognition of what has been lost and an effort to help those affected regain a sense of stability?
A group of women recently showed that a quilt can do just that.
Those living along the Ohio River know too well the effects of flooding. Entire communities can be swept away, residents left without homes, the contents ruined or lost by the rushing water.
Following devastating floods in West Virginia in late June, many folks in the surrounding area responded with generosity, providing essentials such as food, water and clothing.
When temperatures reached record highs this month, it was difficult to think ahead and imagine a cold night and the need for a blanket. Winter is far away, but not to the caring minds of one group of women.
Debbie Duvall found herself called to help.
Through her friend Paula Wood, Duvall learned about the work of Wood’s cousin Jim Hawthorne and his wife, Dixie.
Wood had seen firsthand their dedication to flood victims as the Hawthornes made 10 trips to deliver supplies to residents of Clendenin, W.Va.
Duvall and several of her friends, including Wood, are accomplished quilters, so the idea of making quilts for children in Clendenin seemed natural.
“I started thinking, ‘These kids are going to be cold this winter,’” Duvall said. “I decided to ask our group if they would be interested in a project to make quilts.”
Members of Duvall’s quilting circle are from Meigs and Washington counties in Ohio, and Parkersburg, W.Va. All wholeheartedly agree it was a worthwhile endeavor and set to stitching.
Donations of cash and fabric were collected from friends, family, Mill End Fabrics in Middleport, the Fabric Shop in Pomeroy, and the Nelsonville Quilt Company.
“Many people and the fabric stores were so generous with their donations,” Duvall said. “After we had the necessary supplies, we got together in my basement (her sewing room) one Saturday and made the quilt tops.”
Over a period of three weeks, the women worked sewing and binding until 42 lay completed. The quilts ranged in sizes from crib to young adult. They assembled in a variety of colors and styles — from rubber duckies, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, The Walking Dead, Frozen and super heroes. Some are made of fleece, others were “tied and knotted,” a technique used to bind layers of fabric together. All are made with love.
Duvall issued “a challenge to all quilt guilds or people who just love to sew,” saying: “I know it’s hard to think about blankets when the temperatures are in the 90s, but in a few months quilts will be desperately needed. At the present time, a lot of these families have nothing. Make your stitches count.”
Reach Lorna Hart at 740-992-2155, Ext. 2551