Stitched with love

Lorene Fox is finishing a quilt two decades in the making.
She started making the quilt 20 years ago for her daughter, but she never knew how to complete the blue and white blanket.
"I just kept putting it aside and never finished it," she said. "I've never done any quilting before. That's why I kept putting it aside."
When she heard about the Shuford YMCA's weekly quilting group, Fox recognized her opportunity to finally complete the quilt.
After several weeks attending the quilting group, Fox's quilt is taking shape and well on its way to completion.
"I've seen some of (the participants) go from not being able to sew a straight seam to doing beautiful work," said Betty Fulbright, the group's teacher. "Everyone helps each other out."
Group participants gather every Thursday at 11:15 a.m. in the Sparkman Community Center to quilt, crochet, sew and stitch.
The YMCA has had a quilting group for about 10 years, and about 20 people attend the event regularly.
The group makes quilts, baby blankets, lap quilts, table runners, pocket books and other items, they often donate those items to needy organizations or individuals in the community. Since last year, the group donated 75 lap quilts and 27 prayer shawls to area organizations.
The lap quilts are made for wheelchair patients who need items to keep their legs warm without getting the blanket caught in the wheelchair. Prayer shawls are often donated to elderly or terminally ill patients in Catawba County and the surrounding area.
"We just like to help out others when we can," Fulbright said.
The group received donations from fabric stores, and they also received a large donation from the A. Klein company when it went out of business.
"We don't waste any scraps," Fulbright said. "We use it all."
Participants donate $1 a week to fund other supplies, like quilting batting, needed in the group.
The quilters take anywhere from a few weeks to several years to complete their creations, but time isn't important.
"Every bit of this is done by hand - there are no machines," said Sue Johnson, of Hickory. "It's like therapy coming here. These girls are all friends."
Some quilting group participants are lifelong veterans when it comes to making blankets, but others, like Sarah Lamonica, of Hickory, are new to the hobby.
Fulbright encouraged Lamonica about seven years ago to attend the quilting group, and now, Lamonica is hooked.
"I never even thought about it before," she said. "But I love it. I love making things with my hands."