By Joyce DeWallace, Contributing Writer
Hudson – Quilting is one of the world’s oldest sewing techniques, dating back to the Egyptian pharaohs in 3400 B.C. The word “quilt” comes from the Latin “culcita” meaning a stuffed sack; it aptly describes the process of sewing three layers of fabric together to make a thicker padded material consisting of a quilt top, the middle insulating layer and the backing. Creating a quilt also involves steps such as designing, piecing, appliqué and binding.
At Hudson Senior Center, this process has been embraced by over 20 women who meet every Thursday morning to socialize, discover their artistic talents, and create colorful quilts that are donated to local charities.
“Learning to quilt has always been on my bucket list of things to do when I finally get the time,” said Senior Center Director Janice Long. “I knew Karen Jacobs loved to quilt and almost 10 years ago, asked her if she would help start something here in Hudson. She wanted to volunteer and give back to the community and gathered a few women who shared her interest.”
“We started the Silver Threads Quilters with a group of five ladies who wanted to help each other in a social way,” explained founding member Margo Theodoss. “We learned from each other; we helped each other, yet we never had a teacher.”
Joyce Beauchemin, another original member, started quilting over 20 years ago after her husband died.
“I helped start the Silver Threads,” she said. “Now we meet once or twice a week between 9 and 11:30 a.m. There are usually between 12 and 15 women here.”
The quilt group helped design their current work room during the Senior Center renovations and moved into their light and cheerful second floor space in August 2010. One wall is entirely lined with cabinets to hold the calico-printed fabrics and other sewing supplies. Six large tables have been pushed together to make a surface large enough for quilts and is rimmed by the busy, chattering quilters. During the rest of the week, other craft classes use the room.
“I’ve been coming for about three years on a regular basis and have made six quilts,” bubbled Helen Reske. “I love our center; it’s so bright. Everyone is so nice! They’ve taught me how to use the sewing machine and how to make quilts.”
When Karen Murphy retired, she was looking for things to do with like-minded people. As a lifelong quilter, this group appealed to her.
“Quilting is my art form. I love playing with colors and designs. I’m a fabric-aholic,” she confessed.
“Right now we’re all working on a project called ‘square of the month.’ Every month we get a different pattern for a 12-inch square, and we’ll put them together at the end of the year. Each square is different, and by December, we’ll each have a sampler quilt. This is a wonderful group of women. No one argues; everyone is very supportive of each other,” said Martha Berry.
The recipients of many of the quilts are local charities, particularly homeless veterans, a shelter in Marlborough, and young cancer patients in area hospitals. “Wrap Them in Roses” is a special project for babies in neonatal intensive care units. Those baby quilts are put over incubators. The ladies auction off at least two quilts a year, one at the Senior Center picnic in July and a second at the Fall Fair in November. Proceeds are donated to the Friends of the Senior Center.
“Anyone can be a member. A lady named Dorothy Vassell joined our group about three years ago. She had never quilted, and now she’s practically a professional. She picked it up so quickly,” explained Theodoss.
Those interested in joining should call the Senior Center at 978-568-9638 for more information.