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Column #110

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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Archived blogs:

Column 141: Tom Korn’s Military Medal Quilts
Column 140: The Return of Double Knits!
Column 139: Passage Quilts
Column 138: Home of the Brave Quilts
Column 137: The Story of Fabric Yo-Yos
Column 136: Christmas in July
Column 135: Trifles
Column 134: Deaf Initiatives—Communicating Through Quilts
Column 133: My Betty Boop Quilt
Column 132: Maura Grace Ambrose
Column 131: All You Need Is Love
Column 130: Chicken Linens
Column 129: The Quilted Chuppah
Column 128: Patchwork Around the World: Yoruba Dance Costumes
Column 127: The Bowers Co-Op Quilts
Column 126: Fon Appliqué and Haitian Voodoo Flags
Column 125: The Quilt Garden at The North Carolina Arboretum
Column 124: Harriet Powers and Handful’s Mauma
Column 123: Quilters de Mexico
Column 122: An Appliquéd Surprise
Column 121: Matisse’s Fabric Stash
Column 120: Soogan—The Cowboy’s Quilt
Column 119: The Ron Swanson Quilt
Column 118: HClarkdale, Georgia—A Thread of History
Column 117: How WWI Changed the Color of Quilts in the United States
Column 116: Wagga—The Bushman’s Quilt
Column 115: All in the Family
Column 114: The Alabama State Quilt
Column 113: Balloon Quilts of Albuquerque
Column 112: The Family That Quilts Together, Stays Together
Column 111: Two Rivers, Three Sisters
Column 110: Quilters Helping Quilters
Column 109: Community Cookbooks and Fundraiser Quilts—Parallel Histories
Column 108: Quilting to Freedom
Column 107: National Quilting Day
Column 106: The Airing of the Quilts
Column 105: A Call for a National Juneteenth Commemorative Quilt
Column 104: Dominoes
Column 103: 1936 Texas Centennial Bluebonnet Quilt
Column 102: Helen Blackstone, A Texas Quilter
Column 101: Montana CattleWomen Anniversary Brand Quilt
Column 100: 100th Suzy's Fancy Column!
Column 99: Montana Stockgrowers Anniversary Brand Quilt
Column 98: The Tobacco Sack Connection
Column 97: Meet the Sisters Who Are State Fair Quilting Queens
Column 96: The connection between fairs and quilts.
Column 95: Her Mother Pieced Quilts
Column 94: Rebecca Barker’s Quiltscapes
Column 93: The Thread and Thimble Club Mystery

See other archived columns here

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