Quilting For a Cause
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By MARK EVANS
STE. GENEVIEVE HERALD
Once a month they come, needles and thimbles in hand, to quilt for a cause.
No one is certain just how long ago the Ste. Genevieve County Memorial Hospital Auxiliary quilting sessions began. Auxiliary Chairperson Toni Vaeth has been at it since 2005.
“When I joined in 2005, it had been going on for a long time,” Vaeth said. “Back then, we’d have as many as 32 quilters. I remember one time we had 17 quilts done. It’s just a thing of the past because the elderly, good quilters have gone on to their reward.”
The group generally meets the third week of each month for three straight days, finishing quilts to be sold at the hospital gift shop. Sometimes more than a dozen show up. Other times, such as May 17, only four brave souls show up.
“It’s just us youngsters now,” joked Linda Hermann.
With many of the quilters octogenarians, they would love to see some younger blood come in and ensure that the tradition continues.
“We just make time because it’s for the hospital to sell them and make money for the hospital,” Hermann said.
Others provide material.
“People the community have donated fabric,” Vaeth said. “Whenever a person passes on, their family will give us fabric that we can use. Therefore our expenses stay low. Last year we had hardly any expense.”
There are 22 in the community who still take part in the quilting at various times.
“Some ladies embroider and some ladies come in and embroider and some have made quilt tops for us,” Vaeth said.
“Some take a full quilt home, and does them because they want to stay home,” Hermann said. “And then, one lady takes them and just binds them and hems them.”
“It’s a community effort,” Vaeth added.
Last year the gift shop sold 46 quilts from the group. They are in-demand items.
“One lady came down from St. Louis and bought 10 of them for great-grandchildren she had coming,” Vaeth said. “She had heard about our quilts and cane down and bought 10 of them last year.
Arlene Roy pointed out that a former Ste. Genevieve resident living in St. Charles also come down from time to time and buys quilts.
Most of the quilters have neen quilting for a while, though not since childhood.
“I started taking quilting lessons in the 1980s,” Vaeth said.
“My mother quilted, but I wasn’t interested then,” Hermann said. “I was too busy.”
Vaeth’s granddaughter, 25, has gotten into quilting and is “going gung-ho,” according to Vaeth.
They also give the hospital’s Friends group a large quilt for their annual gala in November, plus the auxiliary also has its own quilt raffle.
“It all goes to the hospital,” Hermann said. “It benefits the community.”
The group meets in the hospital’s Medical-Surgery wing. However, an upcoming remodeling job will force the group to temporarily relocate.
The next quilting dates are June 12-13.
The numbers have dwindled over the years, making the quilters wish for some reinforcements.
“I wish ore people would come out and quilt,” Hermann said. “We could help them get started.”
“That’s the problem, though,” Roy said. “They don’t want to quilt. It’s too slow.”
“They have other things to do,” Hermann said.
“Even our parish,” Roy said, “I belong at Zell and we quilt out there. And it’s hard to find people. I have about seven women who come – and here’s two of them right here.”
“It’s a lost art and we don’t want to lose it,” Hermann said. “We want it to keep on going.”