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Made With Love For Katrina Survivors

September 16, 2005
MELISSA PIONZIO, Courant Staff Writer

Joann Sawyer eyed piles of brightly colored fabrics on a worktable at the North Hartford Senior Center Thursday.

In no time, the Hartford resident selected several vibrant red and green pieces and began the important step of ironing them in preparation for quilting. When planning the design for a quilt, she said, sometimes all it takes is one piece to get you started.

"This is my center, I'm going to outline it in red," she said, pointing to a strip of cotton with a big leafy design. "There are so many fabrics to choose from."

Sawyer, with other area residents, is making quilts for children affected by Hurricane Katrina. With fiber artist EdJohnetta Miller as their guide, about 15 members of the senior center will spend the next few weeks making as many quilts as they can.

"Right now, we are just organizing the fabrics," said Miller, who has been teaching quilting classes at the center for several years. "Then I have patterns for them to follow. We want them to be brightly colored and cheerful."

Bloomfield resident Esther Hosein said she wanted to help the hurricane victims, but didn't have much money to spare. She is a beginning quilter and new to the group, but said she will do her best to make something beautiful.

"This is one small thing I can do," she said. "I don't need to see who is getting it, I know it is going to someone who needs it and will appreciate it."

Although the quilters have stockpiled some fabric, they also received donations from DesignerSourceCT, a new design show room on Park Street. The business, owned by Nancy Zwiener and Richard Ott, has donated a box of textiles and a dozen sample books filled with swatches.

"I am a big believer in Hartford," said Zwiener, who met Miller through the Greater Hartford Arts Council. "Anything we can do to help support it, especially with children, is a great opportunity."

Seniors aren't the only people contributing to the project. Hartford city Councilwoman R. JoWinch is a longtime quilter and plans to contribute several of her own creations.

"When I am quilting I mix colors and make sure that I put a little of me in there," she said. "That's important, that you have that connection with what you're making."

Miller said she has received many calls fromquilters who are interested in helping, but many have full-time jobs and can't participate in the sessions at the senior center.

"I'm trying to find a location where we can set up and have a group sew," said Miller. "Could you imagine, hundreds of quilters working together?"

Once finished, the quilts will be distributed by Quilts for Kids, a Pennsylvania organization that transforms discontinued designer fabrics into quilts for needy children.

Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant. To view other stories on this topic, search the Hartford Courant Archives at http://www.courant.com/archives.
| Last update: September 25, 2012 |
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