Quilters Helping Quilters
Michael Wright (shown at left holding a pen) of the Fort Worth, Texas-based Trinity Valley Quilt Guild (TVQG) checks off items as quilters from the town of West select fabric and all sorts of quilting and sewing supplies from those donated by TVQG and the Grandbury Quilter's Guild. Photo courtesy of The West News.
On April 17, 2013, an explosion that measured as a 4.1-magnitude earthquake at a fertilizer storage and distribution facility devastated the small north-central Texas community of West.
Fifteen people were killed (many of them first responders), and more than 160 were injured. Hundreds of buildings were damaged or destroyed —a sizeable portion of the town, which previously had been best known for the Czech pastries, called kolaches, produced there.
Just about everyone in West (population 2,800) felt the disaster in one way or another. As many as 350 homes were affected, and the harm ran the gamut from exterior damage to complete destruction.
Once the immediate and most pressing relief issues were handled, the community began to realize the magnitude of its losses of a more commonplace nature, and for the quilters in the town, that meant such everyday things as fabrics and other quilting and sewing supplies.
Upon becoming aware of that fact, the members of two quilt guilds in the same general area as West, the Fort Worth-based Trinity Valley Quilt Guild and the Grandbury Quilter’s Guild, stepped in to help.
They set about collecting everything from bolts of fabric, tools, books, and batting to an ironing board, a refurbished sewing machine, a serger, and a felting machine. The Guilds gathered so many items, in fact, that it took two trips and a rented trailer to hold it all.
Irene Schiemenz, a local machine quilter, was on hand to open the doors to the fellowship hall at the First United of West (United Church of Christ) where the supplies were delivered and distributed.
“The ladies of West just couldn’t believe that strangers were being so generous to them,” Schiemenz says. “They were just so happy to get it all! A church group took some of the supplies to make quilts for people who had lost their homes in the explosion, and others were going to make quilts for people in the hospital. It was all most welcome, and the community definitely benefited from it.
“There was one lady who came and said that her sewing machine survived the explosion but her machine cabinet got destroyed,” Schiemenz continues. “Someone from the Guild heard that story and said that she had a cabinet that was just waiting for a new home, so she brought it to the lady who had lost hers. The Guilds were just wonderful and the people of West really appreciated what they did.”
Of course, it should come as no surprise that quilters would step in to help. The generosity of the Trinity Valley Quilt Guild and the Grandbury Quilter’s Guild is just one of countless examples demonstrating that’s just what quilters do.
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