Most people are familiar with the idea of a security blanket or a safety blanket and how something so simple can be all it takes to make someone feel better.
This is the idea the Russellville group, Stitch and Tie, has believed and used for several years.
Stitch and Tie is a local group made up of volunteers from the West Side Church of Christ in Russellville. The group gives blankets and quilts to cancer patients who are undergoing chemotherapy and other types of radiation treatment.
“This is just something I like,” Stitch and Tie member Margaret Grant said. “Especially when we are helping the cancer patients. When you take them a quilt, the face they make makes all your effort worthwhile.”
The group meets for an hour or more twice a month to make “lap robes,” which are small blankets or quilts that cover a person’s lap and legs, for cancer patients at Saint Mary’s Regional Medical Center.
Russellville native Ethel Jackson does the stitching for the quilts at her home. Many of the members said she does the majority of the work, but she did not start the club.
“I’ve been here the longest, though,” she said. “I started coming here in 2009. Since then most of those have passed away or moved away.”
Jackson cuts out the squares for the quilts and stitches the backing on the squares. When the group meets the members spend their time tying the quilts together using double knots instead of sewing.
Jackson said she has been quilting for more than 50 years. When she moved to Russellville, the first thing she did was join a quilting club.
“This is one of the few things I can still do at 80 years old to help people,” she said.
The group can usually make anywhere from two to 10 quilts at every meeting, depending on how many volunteers show up, but estimating how long each quilt takes is impossible.
“It’s one of those things where you pick it up here and there and do a little bit at a time,” Jackson said.
Once the quilts are tied together, the group will take the quilts to Saint Mary’s and allow the patients to pick out whichever quilt they want.
“They’re thrilled when we come. They’re always just real happy to be given a gift,” Grant said. “Its a rough time in their life. They all just have smiles on their faces when they get to pick out their quilt. We enjoy doing it.”
While most of the quilts made by “Stitch and Tie” go to St. Mary’s cancer patients, many of the quilts have gone to battered women’s shelters, daycares and homeless shelters.