Handmade with prayer … with a lot of fun!
By Jana E. Pye, Editor, firstname.lastname@example.org
The Peaceful Piece Makers are a delightful group of women that use their gifts of sewing talent and creative artistry to craft beautiful cloth pieces that comfort children and adults across the world from their workroom at Mechanicsville Baptist Church. According to the church’s pastor Frankie Tanner, “They sew the love of Christ with every stitch.”
The group of women from five different churches gather on Wednesday mornings at 9 o’clock with their fabric, and accoutrement in rolling carts and assemble in a work room in a building adjoining the sanctuary. A smaller room houses their impressive amount of completed projects for local and global missions.
The women met on May 13th for a “Jelly Roll Contest” to see who could sew a quilt top the fastest using a coiled roll of fabric strips together of coordinating patriotic fabrics of red, white and blue. Each woman that participated brought her own machine and spread out in a larger room…some with great trepidation.
“I’ve got the froggie!” called out one woman, holding up a seam ripper. “We used to just rip the seams out, but with Dale, we know better than to try that!”
Dale Montrose is the leader of the group, and keeps the women busy throughout the year with projects that are truly impressive for a group of this size, including:
• Adult bibs for local nursing homes and McLeod Hospice
• Soft flannel receiving blankets with two cloth diapers and pins for mission trips
• Lightweight quilts for Choice 2 M8K Crisis Pregnancy Care Center and global missions in Hondurus and Guatemala
• Quilts with matching diaper bags for church members
• Little chair covers for PVC constructed child chairs
• Patriotic quilts for Wounded Soldiers and local veteran
• Quilts for church bazaars and craft shows
• Sewing kits for missions
• Toiletry bags made from terry washcloths with slots for toothbrush, toothpaste, comb, and soap
• Fleece blankets for abused children at My Stuff Bags Foundation in California
• Little dresses and panties with ribbon ties and lace from leftover fabric are crafted by Helen Pilgrim
• Pillows are sewn for abused children, and “tear pillows”for missionaries
• Cross quilts for mission work, given to pastors
• And more projects that seem to grow each month.
Three of the women own long armed quilt machines, but the rest rely on the help of the group to help attach the quilt tops to the batting and backing. Some are hand tied, and some are quilted with the assistance of the long armed machines.
Pastor Tanner brings along many of the Peaceful Piece Maker items along with him on mission trips to Somitillo, Nicaragua, and Honduras that he leads each year.
“I hope to one day bring a few of these women with me on the mission trips to help train the women, and men in these areas how to create the quilts and projects on their own,” said Tanner. “We hope to one day help them to be self sufficient, and have Peaceful Piece Makers in other countries as not only a source of revenue but as a ministry.”
The group also donates items to orphans in Romania, hosted by Freedom Baptist Church.
Each of the handcrafted items are brought to the front of the church and prayed over before donations.
Although their work takes much care and concentration, they do have fun; a little too much fun at times, and Montrose has to get them to settle down.
Before the Jelly Roll contest, she chided them to use good language (something that made all the women laugh!) and to not sing out loud when working to distract others.
When the women go on field trips to craft shows, they take Pastor Tanner’s van that has a bumper sticker that says, “Fishers of Men”, getting a lot of attention from gentleman.
“We’ve gotten a lot of laughs over that one!” said Belinda Bonnoitt.
Much like they spent time enjoying company in Home Ec. Classes as youngsters, the ladies enjoy the camaraderie of the group as much as they take pride in their completed pieces.
The women each recently completed their own Blocks of the Bible quilts, which include quilt squares that signify different bible stories.
Sales of quilts at two church bazaars and craft shows help to fund the fabric bought by the women, but truth to be told, the women do much of the purchasing of supplies on their own.
“It becomes part of our tithe,” said Cathy Benton. “We just love to do this.”
The women are taking a summer vacation from working, but will begin anew in the fall.
Members of the Peaceful Piecemakers (not all were present for the Jelly Roll Contest):
To contact the women about joining their group, or to purchase a quilt of your own, contact Mechanicsville Baptist Church at: 2364 Cashua Ferry Rd, Darlington, SC 29532 843-393-1029. Quilts range in prices from $250 on up.
Mobile users, please click on the photo gallery to see more photographs: Peaceful Piece Makers