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Jasper quilting circle ‘tailor-makes’ personal way to help building fundcomment (0)

January 25, 2007

By Jeremy Dale Henderson



Each Thursday in Jasper, an ancient craft is practiced and perfected inside a well-heated Sunday School room at New Prospect Baptist Church.

Just down the hall from the sanctuary where interim pastor Donald Graham spins his sermons, the New Prospect Quilters, a quilting circle comprised of the church’s finest senior seamstresses, sews and mends and weaves quilt after quilt in the name of faith, fellowship and frugality.

"We did this years ago, and [the quilters] just wanted to start it up again," said Charlotte Elkins, who, at 66, is the New Prospect Quilters’ youngest member.

Initially insulated from concerns beyond fabric and fun (and the accompanying country cooking), the quilters have actually begun to patchwork for profit.

Prices are quoted to friends and neighbors in need of quilting services.

And the proceeds are then donated toward the cost incurred from the construction of New Prospect Baptist’s Christian Life Center.

The new facility was initially intended, in part, to accommodate the quilters but, according to Allie Hudson, did not suit their needs.

The quilters are partial to the building that houses the church’s 45-year-old sanctuary, which Hudson still refers to as "the new building."

Their preference is practical — "It’s easier to heat in there," said Hudson, the group’s eldest member at 89 and a more than 60-year member of the Walker Baptist Association church.

"We asked (the church) if they wouldn’t mind us using our Sunday School room in the old church. That way, we can leave the quilts up," she said.

According to Elkins, the discussion during a typical Thursday gathering — heard over the clinking of thimbles and the humming of sewing machines — tends toward the good old days.

"There’s a lot of talk about children and grandchildren, a lot of reminiscing about old times," she said.

Since reconstituting in September 2005, the group has completed about 25 quilts and given more than $1,100 in earnings to New Prospect’s building program.

"It’s a moneymaker but it’s also a fun time for us seniors, and it just adds to the church," Hudson said. "We just have a ball."

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