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Quilters raise money for local food pantry

Nathan Baker • Sep 22, 2019 at 2:46 PM

Telling stories is about stitching together experiences, and visitors to this year’s National Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough can take home their own stitched-together pieces to help them tell others about their visit.

The Old Town Quilt Guild will sell member-made table runners, table toppers and placemats during the Oct. 3-6 festival at the Jonesborough Visitors Center.

Proceeds from the sale will again go to the Jonesborough Area Ministerial Association, a group of churches that operate a food pantry for residents in Jonesborough, Telford and Limestone.

Guild member and Table Runner Committee member Ginny Sharrow said the $2,600 raised last year for JAMA exceeded everyone’s expectations.

“We had no idea we would raise that much, but now that we’ve done it, we would like to raise that much again,” she said.

In 2017, guild members collaborated on a single quilt, which sold for $1,300. The following year, Sharrow said members thought making and selling smaller items would appeal to more buyers.

“Everyone’s in love with Jonesborough when they come here for the festival, and we’re capitalizing on that,” she said. “They want to take home a piece of the town and that wonderful feeling you get when you’re here.”

The quilting group has been busy sewing the items since last year.

Sharrow estimated there will be 140 carefully crafted pieces available at prices between $20 and $40. Normally, such items would sell for at least $75, considering the fabric and time spent making them.

The available decor items suit all four seasons and holidays like Halloween and Christmas. Some special designs include fabric depicting local barns donated by quilt supply shop Tennessee Quilts.

In addition to the JAMA fundraiser, the guild takes on other charitable causes, like sewing pillowcases for young patients at Niswonger Children’s Hospital. New patients are issued some of the hundreds of pillowcases made each year, and when they’re discharged from the hospital, they can take the cases with them.

Sharrow said it’s causes like those that help the guild fulfill its mission of community service.

With about 50 members, the close-stitched group also serves as a social outlet.

Before she moved to Northeast Tennessee from North Carolina to be closer to her children, Sharrow said she first made sure there was a local quilting group.

“I wasn’t worried about making friends, because I knew I would meet quilters,” she said. “I knew whatever church I find and whatever guild I find, there would be people I could be friends with.”

The Old Town Quilters welcome new members from any skill level. The group’s members meet monthly from September until June on the second Tuesday, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. in the Fellowship Building next to the railroad track behind the Jonesborough United Methodist Church on Main Street.

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