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Busy quilters lend a hand for the needy

Robert HugginsGuild Community Service Chairwoman Deedee Brownell lays out a layer of a quilt that she is working on. This is her second year as chairwoman, and she has been a guild member for 21Z2 years
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Eleanor Sagely thought she knew how to quilt until she joined the Pine Tree Quilt Guild seven years ago.

Then she met several guild members who really knew how to quilt.



Sagely wasn’t worried, though, about her level of quilting competence. The more advanced quilters warmly welcomed her.




“I’ve never met such a nice and giving bunch of women. who are not afraid to share their knowledge or materials,” said Sagely, now the guild’s drop-in-and-quilt chairwoman.

“Drop in and quilt” means members quilt the third Thursday of the month from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Salvation Army at 10725 Alta St. in Grass Valley

“Members bring sewing machines or just their bodies,” Sagely explained. “Drop in and quilt has evolved into an old-fashioned quilting bee. We all work together to make things for community service.”

They also bring their lunches because, once they get started on items that are donated to Nevada County residents in need, the members are too busy to take leisurely breaks.

Last year, the guild donated 760 items, according to Deedee Brownell, community service chairwoman. The items included 110 crib- through queen-size quilts in addition to doll quilts, Christmas stockings, wall hangings and purses to attach to walkers.

“We all work so hard, but we have so much fun,” Sagely said. “They’re the greatest bunch of ladies. We just have fun and share with each other what we’ve learned at our classes.”

Currently, about 18 members show up each month. The majority are in their late-40s to mid-70s.

“You reach a point in your life you want to give something back,” said Sagely about why she goes to the quilting sessions. “One day a month is no big deal. It makes you feel good about yourself, your community, the people you’re dealing with.”

Brownell also finds working on the quilts quite rewarding.

“The look in the people’s eye when I donate the quilts … I can’t explain it,” Brownell said. “Some people are less fortunate. A fire can happen to anyone – rich or poor. It’s the same with cancer, which can happen to anyone. It’s nice to give something to them that they can cuddle, something that will add a little brightness to their lives.”

Last year, the group donated items to individuals served by groups including the Nevada County Food and Toy Run, Lutz Center Adult Day Services, Hospice Kidshare, Child Protective Services, Manzanita House and Salvation Army. Quilts were also given to fire victims and families of the local January 2001 shooting victims.

Besides making quilted products that will hopefully bring a smile to someone who could use some comfort, the monthly gatherings are a six-hour break from reality, Brownell said.

“There’s a little of teasing. One little lady tells some great stories about when she grew up on a farm, little tidbits that are so interesting,” said Brownell, who has quilted almost 20 years.

Brownell hopes her group can continue to meet the needs of the community. “We’re always looking for new guild members to help with community service.”

For information about the guild, call membership chairwoman Carolyn Jordan at 268-7328 or visit the Salvation Army any third Thursday of the month.


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