Stitch ‘n’ Pray sews quilts and friendships
By JOYANNA LOVE/ Senior Staff Writer
The hum of sewing machines and the sounds of laughter fill the room during Stitch ‘n’ Pray group at First Baptist Church in Clanton.
The group has met at least once a week for the past 13 years.
“At first we met at night, then we changed it to during the day,” founder Gwyn Loyd said. “We had enough people that didn’t work that we could do it during the day.”
The group meets on Tuesday afternoon and on Fridays.
“Everyone basically works on whatever they want to work on,” Loyd said.
Each member brings her sewing machine and the project they are working on. When it comes time to put the quilt layers together, the members often work together to help whoever’s quilt it is.
“We learn from each other,” Loyd said. “We teach each other things, and we travel together. We go to workshops together. We love to shop together.”
The group also supports each other though whatever is going on in their lives.
“We support each other spiritually as well as morally and anything that somebody needs help with,” Loyd said.
Loyd said she has been sewing and making quilts for decades.
“I saw a quilt and I liked it and I thought, ‘You can do that,’” Loyd said.
While this first attempt may not have come out exactly how she wanted, Loyd liked it and has continued quilting.
“I love meeting with my group,” Loyd said. “I love the support that I get from these ladies.”
The group has about 10-12 members right now. Loyd said the structure is “very laid back” and does not require attendance or dues.
Gwen Alexander said the group exchanges ideas, tips and equipment.
“We could all sit at home and sew, but it’s much more fun to do it together,” Alexander said.
She said she also enjoys being able to show others what she has done.
Melinda Maddox said she started quilting three years ago after Loyd taught her how.
“I had sewn all my life,” Maddox said.
After retiring, she became interested in the Stitch ‘n’ Pray group, and Loyd encouraged her to join.
The quilt Maddox is working on now is from a pattern that was featured at a workshop in Birmingham.
She said a few members are using the same basic pattern and have been able to help each other.
“I’ve always like to sew,” Maddox said. “I like the design element of it.”
Susan Dains said her favorite part of the quilts are the colors.
Maddox said the most challenging aspect of making a quilt was keeping all of the elements precise.
Dains, who has been in the group for a few months, said for her the challenging portion of a quilt is different for each quilt she does.
Maddox enjoys the group because the women have a common interest.
“We are truly blessed beyond measure that our church has given us this wonderful facility,” Loyd said.
Just how long it takes to complete a quilt varies from person to person.
“I have some that I have been working on for 20 years,” Loyd said.
Dains said she will often have multiple projects going at once.
“You work on something until you can’t stand it anymore and then you go work on something else, then you back to it again,” Dains said. “I’m never bored.”
Some quilts take more time because they are more complex.
“A lot of quilts are a lot more intricate than others,” Loyd said. “It takes a lot longer to put the blocks together.”
For Loyd, most of her quilt ideas come from patterns she has seen and changed a bit to fit what she wants.
“Most of us start with a general pattern, a design of some kind,” Loyd said.
Alexander said she decides which quilts to do based on fabric she likes and making changes to designs she sees.
The group is also working together on a Quilts of Valor project for a veteran.