Service of Love

Nimble Thimbles Quilt Club knits to keep veterans warm

With the melody of the “William Tell Overture” playing in the background, the women worked as quickly as they could to the frenetic notes.

About a dozen women with the Nimble Thimbles Quilt Club worked fast on their Jelly Roll quilts, chosen because of the speed the outline of the quilt allows the women to work.

They were on a mission to help veterans stay warm over the winter.

The quilting club based in Franklin has made about a dozen quilts to donate to Sarah Chambers, a Franklin Community High School sophomore collecting coats and hats for veterans. They also knitted hats, gloves and scarves and plan on making about a dozen more quilts.

The club is used to helping out in the community, where they craft quilts for the newborn nursery at Franciscan Health, families moving into their new Habitat for Humanity homes, veterans visiting Washington, D.C. on Honor Flights and hospice patients.

Nearly all 85 members know and love a veteran, making helping Chambers with her project a perfect cause for the club, said Virginia Shakal, a quilt club member.

“All of us probably have a family member or someone that we know who is a veteran or who was a veteran,” she said.

Chambers told the group about her project and how her father was a veteran and she saw needy veterans when she moved to Indiana and wanted to help. She started a coat collection across Franklin, and the coats go to veterans in the Indianapolis area.

Members of the quilt club decided they could help by making thick, heavy quilts that homeless veterans could use to keep warm.

A previous president of the quilt club had a mantra on how to pick the projects they would participate in, Shakal said.

“If it touches your heart, that is when you do something,” she said. “We just thought that was a worthwhile cause. She can’t do it alone, and we are all connected.”

Club members added two work days, in addition to their monthly meeting, to make sure the quilts were done in time for Chambers’ collection.

They chose to make Jelly Roll quilts, which feature small scraps of fabric and are noted for their ease and speed in constructing, a must for the quilters on a deadline, said Donna McElwain, president of the club.

“It is fast and it is a different project,” she said.

They made a game to see who could put their quilts together the fastest. At the end of the two work days, the women had made a dozen quilts for homeless veterans using donated fabric.

“That is all just part of what we do,” said Jan Haley, vice president of the club.

How to help

If you would like to donate a coat or other winter accessory to Sarah Chamber’s effort, four collection sites have been set up around the county:

American Legion Post No. 205, 1200 Park Ave., Franklin.

Franklin Community High School, 2600 Cumberland Drive.

Hi-Way Lanes, 400 N. Morton St., Franklin.

Umbarger Show Feeds, 111 S. Baldwin St., Bargersville.