You choose, we deliver
If you are interested in this story, you might be interested in others from The Journal Gazette. Go to and pick the subjects you care most about. We'll deliver your customized daily news report at 3 a.m. Fort Wayne time, right to your email.
Louise Nahrwold, left, and Joan Landin, right, members of Senior Circle work on quilts for children in the burn center of St. Joseph Hospital.

Volunteers create quilts with donated fabrics

Margaret Milner member of Senior Circle works on quilts for children in the burn center of St. Joseph Hospital.
Joan Landin member of Senior Circle works on quilts for children in the burn center of St. Joseph Hospital.

Tucked away in a back room of the St. Joseph Medical Office Building, a handful of volunteers with the Senior Circle program have been hard at work piecing, pressing and stitching together quilts for children in the Pediatric Burn Unit at the hospital.

Many of the materials with which they work are donated. And on this particular Wednesday, the ladies working – Margaret Milner, Louise Nahrwold, Joan Landin, Sandy Heck – are making works of art out of the hodgepodge of donated cotton fabrics.

The project began in March, and since then, they’ve taken more than nine blankets to the children’s burn unit. Some of those had been donated as completely finished quilts, and four of them were completed – start to finish – by the volunteers from Senior Circle, Milner told me when I visited the group of ladies July 18.

They’re an easy group of women to talk with, and I found myself wishing I had the time to sit and learn from them – my quilting/sewing skills could use a little bit of work.

Alas, what I was really there for was to get the word out about their program.

The women meet for 2 1/2 hours every other Wednesday. They bring their own machines. They have a system. They have put a blanket on the wall that the squares of fabric stick to for purposes of arranging them before stitching them together. They have quilt pattern books they look through for inspiration and patterns to follow.

But what was most impressive to me – besides the love with which they are doing this – is how they take random groupings of fabric and find other random groupings of fabric that match. I watched Landin do it when I was there and was really struck by what she came up with.

It’s a challenge she enjoys, Landin said.

Because the fabric is donated, they work with what they have at the time.

And, after each quilt is sandwiched together and quilted (on Landin’s long-arm machine), the binding is stitched on by hand along with a label that reads “Made by the loving hands of the quilters at Senior Circle.”

The women only use cotton, including the batting (the center of the “quilt sandwich” that gives it the puffy quality).

If you happen to have some extra fabric around the house and have been wondering where you could donate it, the Senior Circle will take it. They also are in need of thread and batting. Remember, cotton only for these special quilts.

The Senior Circle is located at 700 Broadway, Suite 100 (that’s the Medical Office Building south of the main hospital building).

Joyce McCartney is not a craft expert. She is, however, interested in crafting of all types. She shares her experiences and those of area crafters. To reach her, call 461-8364 or email Also, visit her blog at There, you will also find the weekly knitting podcast Math4Knitters.