At Cartledge Creek Baptist Church, we have a ministry that is called “Quilts of Love.” This ministry was the brainchild of Sharon Puckett and Crystal Crouch, who also attend church there. The first meeting was held on Oct. 6, 2016 and we have met every two weeks since then — except for the month of December, when we didn’t meet because there was just too much else going on involving the church.
At these meetings, we get a lot of work done but we also have good fellowship where we get to spend more time together and thus get to know one another better. At the first meeting of the month, we have a devotional and, of course, we always have a snack — because Baptists can’t seem to get together without eating.
I didn’t attend the first couple of meetings that were held by the “Quilts of Love” because I don’t claim to be able to sew. After some encouragement from some of the attendees, however, I decided to go see if I could be of any help. I’m so glad I decided to go, since I soon found out that there are lots of different jobs that need to be done before these quilts are ready to be given away. Some of these jobs besides the sewers are cutters, pressers and pinners.
I have learned a lot about the art of quilt making since I started attending these meetings. I really don’t remember ever seeing any of my relatives who were actually making quilts. I would think that my grandmothers were probably involved at some point in their lives, but I never attended any quilting parties held at their houses. Two of my aunts who lived in the mountains of North Carolina were quilt makers and my Aunt Ethel always showed me quilts she was working on whenever I visited her. But since I never attended any quilting parties at her house either, I really did not know much at all about quilting.
Whenever I asked Sharon Puckett if she had ever attended any classes to learn about quilting, she said all of the knowledge she had acquired was handed down from generation to generation. I think that is a great heritage to have received.
Thus far, the “Quilts of Love” ministry has completed 64 quilts. These are not full-size quilts to be used as a bed covering, but are lap size instead. If they are for a child instead of an adult, they are made a little smaller. Somehow, they always turn out to be just the right size for the person who receives them; whether they use them while sitting in their recliner, sofa, or in a wheelchair. Our quilts have been given to folks from 2 to 95. The 95- year-old recipient was Mrs. Sara Kelly, who is the oldest living member of Cartledge Creek Baptist Church. Her daughters had a small birthday party for her this past December and we took it to her at that celebration. It was wonderful to see how thrilled she was to receive that quilt. You see, Mrs. Kelly grew up making quilts, so she knows all about how much time and energy go into making them. It was a really special moment that I’m so glad I was able to witness. We all love you, Mrs. Sarah Kelly!
When we have finished with a quilt, Sharon sews a label inside saying “Quilted for (Name of Recipient) by Quilts of Love Ministry of Cartledge Creek Baptist.” Then during our meeting, we all lay our hands on the quilt and pray over it. The next Sunday that rolls around after that, we put the quilts on the banister at the front of the church and ask the congregation to pray for the ones who are going to receive them. To quote Sharon: “These quilts have been prayed over and stitched with love. All hands helped; and they have been given to the young and to the old, for all kinds of needs, and in four cases, in memory of a loved one.”
We always take up a donation at our meetings to help with the expenses of this ministry, but we have also been blessed with monetary donations as well as gifts of cloth from people outside of our group. Our attendance varies from as low as six, to a high of 24. The sewers use their own machines so we have not had to purchase any machines.
This ministry has really been a blessing to me personally (the one who does not sew) and from all indications, it has been a real blessing to all of those who have received one of these “Quilts of Love.”
Azalea R. Bolton is a resident of Richmond County, member of the Story Spinners of Laurinburg, and member of the Richmond and Anson County Historical Societies.