Hearts in the park

Every Thursday from 2-4 p.m., a quilting class meets at the Greenville-Butler County Public Library community room. They have been meeting there since before the pandemic, making small quilts, large quilts, baby, pet and doll quilts. If it’s quilted, they can make it.

The class was originally started by Gail McKenney. She hails from Old Town, Maine, but now calls Greenville home. Everyone who knows Gail loves her. She was a bright fixture at the quilting class, but due to ailing health, she turned the class over to former student Wanda Dewberry, who is also from Greenville.

Sewing skills are not required to take the quilting class. Catherine Tanner, one of the students enjoying this class, said.

“Wanda teaches you everything you need to know, not just quilting.”

Tanner has been quilting for about three years now.

One thing the class learns right away is, “A fat quarter is not a quarter,” they all said in unison. For those not familiar with fabric, it means a fat quarter is not really equal to a quarter of a yard of material. Good to know, if you’re quilting.

The class has made fidget quilts for the residents of Crowne Nursing Home, and Dewberry made a Quilt of Valor for retired veteran Mr. Sport. She had to register her quilt with the organization. Her number was over 87,000. Quilts of Valor now has over 300,677 registered quilts nationwide.

Dewberry has several new projects lined up for the class.  She calls it, Project a Month. It’s designed so that the students can finish a project, from first cut to last stitch, in three or four weeks.

They’ll be doing a quilted diaper bag project; which Tanner is looking forward to. “I’m excited that we’re going to do a project a month so that will allow me to complete a project. And the beauty of it is, everybody is doing something different,” she said.

“Same pattern, different material,” Dewberry said.

“You can make it as expensive as you want or as economical as you want,” Tanner added.

A “Set Your Table” project, which includes table runners, place mats, and most things dining table related is also on the agenda. Dewberry would also like to teach the class the snowflake pattern and the flying geese pattern.

The class would also like to make memory bears, small keepsake bears made from the clothing of a deceased loved one.

Regarding the use of old clothing used in the making of quilts and toys, class member Janice Taylor said, “That’s what our great-grandmothers used to do.” A quilter let’s nothing go to waste.

“It keeps you busy,” Dewberry said.

“It reminds me of my grandmother,” Tanner said. “I’m excited because this is machine quilting, but you can do it by hand, too.”

Their latest group project, Hearts in the Park, is similar to the Painted Rock group that the city of Greenville participated in before the pandemic where painted rocks were left around the city for people to find. Participants make hearts and hang them outside around the city. Dewberry stressed that they are only for outdoors.

“I’ve got the scraps to bring,” Dewberry said. “You sew them all together, then you trace out a heart and sew it together with a ribbon for hanging. Then stuff it.”

That’s where the park comes in. “You put them in the parks. Then, whoever gets it logs onto Facebook to keep track of them. It’s to make you feel good.”

The Greenville Library is located at 309 Fort Dale Road in Greenville. For more information about the quilting class, contact Wanda Dewberry on Thursday afternoons at the library at (334)382-3216.

Lorraine Boutwell, a former member of the class said, “There are three ways to quilt: by hand, by machine and by check.” Whichever way you choose, join in the fun and make a memory.