Diane Sutton heard her friends in Memphis, Tenn., talk about how much fun it was to come to the Quilting Friends each year at the Mount Saint Joseph Conference and Retreat Center. Caring for her ailing husband had always prevented her from coming.
Her husband died in May 2013, so Sutton came to Maple Mount for the first time this year. “I like the camaraderie and how these women are really dedicated,” she said. “They want to make these quilts so wonderful.”
Each February, quilters come together to donate their time and talents to make the tops for the quilts that are raffled off each year in the Ursuline Sisters Quilt Club, as well as the quilts that are given away during two raffles at the Mount Saint Joseph Picnic. Other items that are made are sold through the craft booth at the picnic. All of the fabric is donated throughout the year. This year there are 26 quilters taking part.
“I was taught by Sisters of Mercy,” Sutton said. “I have a special place in my heart for doing things for other people. The nuns just do a wonderful job of doing for others. Anything I can do to help others is great.”
Sutton has been quilting since 1985. On Feb. 25, she was using plaid fabric that is too dark for other purposes to make quilts for men in prison. “I like making things for other people,” she said.
Mari Lynn Korte used to make the short drive from Rockport, Ind., to the Quilting Friends, but since she and her husband moved to Linden, Mich., six months ago, she had to drive nine hours to come to the Mount.
“I’m so glad I could come back,” Korte said. “I like to sew, to help the sisters and see my friends.” She’s come to the Quilting Friends for six or seven years.
“As long as I can drive, I’ll keep coming,” she said. “It’s good to get away from the snow.”
Carin Oliver, of St. Charles, Mo., came for the first time at the behest of her friend Ann Jacobs, Sister Amelia Stenger’s niece. She was enjoying her first time.
“I’m working on blue jean tote bags,” she said. “I’ve become a bag lady.”
Oliver began sewing when she was 13 “because I was tall and skinny and couldn’t find clothes to fit,” she said. She made her first quilt at 17 for her boyfriend at the time, and she hasn’t stopped since.
“These women really put their nose to the grindstone,” Oliver said. “We started at 7 a.m. Monday and we finished at 10:30 p.m. But it’s worth it to do something you love.”
Carolyn Salsman is from Bardstown, Ky., but she came from her winter home in Naples, Fla., to the Quilting Friends. She was taught by Ursuline Sisters from grade school through high school.
“I come for the love of quilting and to help out the sisters,” Salsman said. “It’s a fun time and a good thing to do.”
Mary Garcia brought a surprise this year from her home in Bartlett, Tenn. — her husband Al.
“She comes home talking about this every year, I wanted to meet all these women she talks about,” Al Garcia said. “They’re a busy bunch. They work well together and help each other out.”
Mary Garcia has been coming for most of the nearly 10 years the Quilting Friends have been gathering. “It’s like charity mission work, but we’re doing what we love to do,” she said.
She was a little concerned how her husband would adapt to being surrounded by so many women over the course of a week. They’ll celebrate 50 years of marriage this April.
“I think he’s having a good time,” she said.