Sewing lesson turns into act of kindness

Published 10:05 am Wednesday, February 11, 2015

NW0210 Homeless Quilts F

It started as a lesson in sewing and became a lesson in helping others.
When 10-year-old Kylie Knight approached veteran quilter Patty Schultz for lessons on her new sewing machine, she knew she wanted to use her new skills to help others. The pair decided to use the time to make quilts for homeless people.
“Everyone should have something nice and warm,” Knight said. “I wanted to help others, so maybe when they look at it they will remember and think someone gave this to me because they care.”
The two then set to work on making quilts using repurposed wool clothing Schultz found at yard sales.
“I would go to yard sales and buy old wool skirts and coats,” Schultz said. “Then you felt the wool so that it can be used for quilts.”
To felt the wool, Schultz heats the material using a clothes dryer so that it will shrink. Once the wool shrinks it can be washed and used for quilts without worrying about it shrinking even more.
“These are not heirloom-quality quilts,” Schultz said. “They are made to provide warmth.”
After the wool was prepared, they cut the material into squares and put fleece on the back for extra warmth and softness. Then came the part Kylie liked the best — designing the quilts.
“It is fun,” she said. “Doing things you like relaxes you. Color blending is the best. It’s like painting when you make sure all the colors go together.”
The crafty quilters use a design board that takes up most of a wall in Schultz’s quilting room to plan how the quilts will look before sewing them together.
“You can try out different designs and see how they work before putting them together,” Knight said.
So far the pair have made six quilts, and Schultz said they are working to distribute them to people in need.
“We want to stay local and give them to those that need them, preferably in Carter County and Elizabethton,” she said.
The project is not over for Kylie, who says she can make a simple quilt in three or four hours.
“This is probably something I will keep doing,” she said. “I get to practice sewing, and I can do something for others.”

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