Stitch by stitch, creativity and love flow from the quilting group at Woodland Pond as they work on quilts for people whom they care about and for seniors in need. The ladies meet once a month to work on a variety of quilting projects. Sometimes these dedicated will work on separate projects for their family and friends, other times they will work on joint projects that benefit others. In the past, the quilting group has donated quilts to seniors in skilled nursing.
“It is never too late to pick up a hobby,” said Bernice Leonard, a member of the Woodland Pond quilting group and a member of the Wiltwyck Quilt Guild in Kingston. “I started quilting in my adult life and have found enjoyment in creating special keepsakes for my friends and family. Thirty years ago, I decided to the lead the project of assembling a 50th wedding anniversary quilt for my parents. I had each member of our family create a square that would make up an overall compilation of memories of them and their marriage. As the squares arrived at my house, it was always a fun and sometimes interesting surprise to see what someone had created. My daughter created a square with grandma’s cookie jar for her contribution, which I thought was really cute.”
Leonard’s favorite quilt is hanging in the north wing of Woodland Pond. It is a quilt with keepsake baskets sewn on it. The quilt has such special meaning to Bernice, because she used lace trim handkerchiefs that her mother made and crocheted handkerchiefs that a good friend made in the design of the quilt. She said this particular quilt has much sentimental value for her, because it encompasses special items that she delicately included to share with others.
“My husband likes to read, so I made him a quilt with a bookcase on it and stitched the titles of some of his favorite novels on the books,” said Leonard. “Everyone has creative pieces of art to share. We are inspired by our loved ones and by our experiences with them. This show is going to be very special.”
“After my mother passed, I discovered an incomplete postage stamp quilt that my grandmother had started years ago,” shared Joyce Gartrell, a member of the Woodland Pond quilting group and the Philanthropic Educational Organization (PEO) quilting group. “My grandmother passed when my mother was only 12-years-old, so this quilt was special to me, a gift from the grandmother I never met. After discovering this special keepsake, I decided that I would like to finish the quilt. It was tedious, as the squares that make up that quilt are literally the size of postage stamps. It is neat to think that the grandmother I never knew introduced me to this creative hobby. I have been quilting for over 35 years.”
Gartrell says that after all this time she is still learning new techniques for quilting. She is fond of making quilts for people in need or to raise money for a good cause. In the past, she had made table runners that were sold to raise money for her church. She has made pot holders, aprons and lap robes to be sold to benefit women assisted by PEO. The group also makes baby blankets for Children’s Home of Poughkeepsie. The PEO quilting group meets weekly at Woodland Pond to work on these items. PEO uses the funds to provide educational opportunities for female students going back to college.
“My favorite quilted piece is the first jacket that I made in a quilting class,” said Gartrell. “I made it with a fall themed fabric with leaves and hues of gold. I had so much fun making that jacket, I signed up for two more classes and now I have three quilted jackets that I wear regularly. They are really unique pieces that I treasure.”
“The stories that we have heard and the pieces we have seen are extremely impressive,” said Michelle Gramoglia, executive director of Woodland Pond. “The residents have a vast amount of artistic creativity. We recently showcased their work in a special Works of HeART quilt showcase. The event was a huge success and everyone enjoyed sharing their work and family treasures.”