Debbie Hardy’s friend Mary Garcia has been trying to convince her to come to Maple Mount for the annual Quilting Friends retreat for years, and this year Hardy was able to make it work.
“It’s better than she described,” Hardy said, who resides outside Memphis, Tenn. “I’ve enjoyed all the women here, they’re just the kindest women to be around,” she said. “I enjoy the creativity and all the stories of the past. It’s peaceful, relaxing and someone else fixes breakfast, lunch and dinner for us.”
The Quilting Friends are women who take four days out of their schedules to come to the Mount Saint Joseph Conference and Retreat Center and make quilt tops to be used for the monthly Quilt Club drawings. Sisters and friends do the quilting of the tops, and the week of Feb. 26-29, Ursuline Associate Mary Teder was quilting while the others sewed. The proceeds of those drawings help the retired Ursuline Sisters.
Betty Stallings, 87, of Rockport, Ind., and Eloise Hughes of Grandview, Ind., have come since the effort began at least 10 years ago. Stallings’ sister-in-law was the late Sister Consolata Stallings, who died in 1969.
On Tuesday, Stallings was working on a Cheese and Crackers quilt using 1930 preproduction prints. At her fingertips was her trusty 1929 Singer Featherweight sewing machine. “I do 90 percent of my sewing on this, you can make a quarter-inch seam, and that’s what quilts take,” Stallings said. She loves coming to the Mount every year. “You meet people from everywhere, and they are all so friendly.”
Sister Amelia Stenger, director of development for the Ursuline Sisters, said 24 quilters arrived Feb. 26 and will leave Feb. 29, after putting their completed tops on display for the sisters to see.
Carolyn Salsman, from Bardstown, Ky., had her Dots and Dashes pieces spread out on the floor. She hasn’t been back in five years because she’s usually in Florida this time of year, but she came with her friends Faye Kirtley and Merline Long.
Long, of Louisville, has been coming for eight years, since she first asked how she could get invited. She was working on a quilt top made of feed sacks. “It’s a great group of sisters here, we’re doing something in return,” Long said. “They do a great service.”
Kirtley, from Bardstown, said the love of quilting brought her back for her fifth time. “We’ve made so many quilts, we don’t know how many we’ve made,” she said. She was working on Grandma’s Scrap Bag quilt.
Jane Blankenship, of Murray, Ky., was working on a colorful toddler quilt. She was taught by Ursuline Sisters for 11 years at St. Joseph School in Mayfield, Ky., so she tries to come every year. “I wanted to come do something for them,” she said.