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
Once finished, the quilts will be distributed by Quilts for Kids, a Pennsylvania
organization that transforms discontinued designer fabrics into quilts for
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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