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Stitching the stories of time

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By Harry Kane
Hometown Weekly Correspondent

Some people say that quilters are the best storytellers.

A group of elderly women gather every Friday morning at the Needham Senior Center to shoot the breeze while quilting. And they tell stories, too.

“We just come here and bring our projects,” says Cathy Cummings. “Whoever shows up, shows up. It’s pretty relaxed.”

The ladies sit around a table and sip coffee or tea, quilting kits open and their fingers at work. There’s always a little bit of gossip to go around, and then it’s back to the patchwork.

“I can’t remember which throw I’m on,” exclaims Joan Gorman, in stitches.

The language of quilts is steeped in history. It’s an American tradition that embraces cultural differences and symbolizes the storied heritage of the towns across the nation.

Connie Hood, another Friday morning quilter, explains that there are three layers to every quilt: the patterned quilt top, the batting or insulation inside and the backing.

Much like a story with a beginning, middle and end, the quilts tell multi-layered stories themselves.

A quilt can take months or even years to make, explain the ladies. “It depends on the size and how much time you put into it,” says Cummings.

Quilts come in all shapes and sizes, from quilts for a bed to table runners. They can even be made for the tops of pillows.

Cummings uses a lap hoop to keep the quilt she is working on stretched so it doesn’t get lumpy while she stitches.

It’s a passion and a pastime for these ladies at the Needham Senior Center to meet once a week and join in the camaraderie of discussing a myriad of topics regarding what’s happening in the community.

And for the Friday morning quilters, it’s patchwork for the mind.

Margie Jones, who works on a handmade quilt, says that they welcome anybody to stop by and join them on Friday mornings.

As the ladies thread the quilts they work on, so too do they continue to tell a narrative thread of the goings-on about town.

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