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Sewing Fast Friendships

Kenysten Washington, 11, is learning to sew for a lot ofreasons, but one of them is that she’ll one day soon be able tomake her own clothes.

And the Piecemakers are helping her in her efforts. Thehomeschooled pre-teen met with them Monday and started her journeyinto sewing by making a pillowcase with an undersea motif.

“My mother bought the fabric and I picked the fish from thepile,” she said, indicating a large pile of quilting scraps.”

Her mother, Stephanie Byrd, said they had decided to work onlearning to sew together, in order to have something to do as amother/daughter team.

But Washington’s project wasn’t the only one under way Monday asthe quilting group gathered at the Lincoln County Public Library.They were also finishing up the last 68 of about 100 pillowcasesthey will take to King’s Daughters Medical Center this week.

The pillowcases will be given to children who are hospitalizedafter a process that involves washing, sterilizing and baggingthem, Piecemakers leader Kathy Etheridge said.

“These children are already sick, so we want to make surethey’re sterilized,” she said. “And sometime this week they’ll bewashed, pressed, and bagged so they’re sanitary.”

Fellow Piecemaker Betty Jo Myers said this isn’t the first timethe group has done the pillowcase project for a hospital. In thepast they have also sent bundles of pillowcases up to theUniversity of Mississippi Medical Center.

“We always do charity projects,” she said. “We do lap quilts fornursing homes, we take quilts to Dickerson Place, quilts for theCrisis Pregnancy Center in Monticello.”

And in addition to working for other people, the group alsoenjoys time together, finding that not only are they sewingpillowcases and quilts, they’re also sewing fast friendships.

“I do it to keep this old mind sharp, and also because there aresuch tremendous friendships here,” Myers said. “The teachers are soknowledgeable, and they’re willing to share their secrets withthose of us who have never quilted before.”

Etheridge agreed.

“We all believe we’re teachers and students, and when we learnnew skills from each other,” she said. “One day you’re a teacher,and one day you’re a student.”

And the group is open to the public, Etheridge said, and anyoneinterested is invited to call her at 601-835-1625.

Meanwhile, the newest members of the family, Kenysten Washingtonand Stephanie Byrd, said they will be back.

“It’s a good introduction to home ec,” Byrd said with alaugh.