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Sherborn demonstrates the power of quilt

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By Amelia Tarallo
Hometown Weekly Staff

After a rough day, most people come home, get into their pajamas, and wrap themselves in their favorite blanket. That is not always the case for people receiving cancer treatment. As a way to make the fight against cancer a little more comfortable, volunteers at the Unitarian Universalist Area Church in Sherborn spent Saturday, November 9, committed to one of the their Quilt-a-thons.

In order to have yet another quilt-making marathon, everyone takes over a different job. After finishing their quilt tops at home, volunteers spend the majority of the day finishing up five different quilts. Some people, armed with their personal sewing machines, spend their time sewing together different squares and parts of the quilt. A couple of people rely on their skilled fingers to sew in the binding to the quilts. Susan Weaver of Hopkinton starts the day by adding labels onto the back of the quilts, identifying who made them and adding a personal touch to these beautiful creations. Eventually, Weaver decides to change jobs. “Can I do some of this? My fingers need to take a break,” she asked one of her fellow quilters. Without even taking a break, Weaver moved to tying the quilts as someone else continued the label process. The nine women working together were more than ready to add to the pile of folded-up quilts in the corner.

Like many who receive the quilts, Sally Delmer deals with her cancer every day. As a recipient of one of the past quilt-a-thon quilts, she knows exactly what they mean. “I’m dealing with cancer and I remember when I was first dealing, what the quilt meant to me. I felt embraced by my congregation,” she recalls as she works on one of the quilts. Grabbing some straight pins from a purple magnet, Delmer begins to carefully place the needles along the boarder of the quilt. Delmer isn’t typically a quilter, but her skills come in handy during the event. “Everyone here has a skill,” says Delmer. “There is something for everyone to do at a quilt-a-thon.”

Two quilter work on measuring and cutting the backings for the quilts.

Two quilter work on measuring and cutting the backings for the quilts.

After the quilt-a-thon has finished, these unique hand-made quilts are taken to the sanctuary of the church to be blessed. Then, a volunteer brings them to their destined cancer center so that they can be gifted to someone receiving treatment.

“My favorite part is thinking of the look on the face of the recipient,” says Deborah Burke-Henderson, who has also dealt with cancer during her lifetime. She’s spent some of the day helping to tie a science-themed quilt, with a red circuit board border and squares depicting different dinosaurs.

Though it has only lasted a few hours, the quilt-a-thon has the chance to give someone else years of joy: a quilt to keep them warm during treatment or when they’re sleeping, or even a way to add a pop of color to their hospital room. More than anything, it gives patients the gift of knowing someone is keeping them in their thoughts - and hoping that they will get better.

The quilters will be at it again on the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday on Monday, January 20; volunteers of all ages and abilities are welcome. For further information, visit powerofthequilt.blogspot.com.

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