ELKINS - Each year, members of the Log Cabin Quilters' Guild of Elkins gather before Valentine's Day to share their love - by creating homemade quilts they call "luvies" to donate to others in need.
The group, which formed in 1986, began making their warm gifts in March 1992 in celebration of National Quilting Day. The quilters now gather the first Thursday of February, when they sponsor a day-long labor of love crafting their hand-tied quilts.
Members take their special quilts to their favorite charities. The luvies have been donated to several groups over the years, including Elkins Rehabilitation and Care Center, Youth Health Service, cancer patients, the Blue Angels, the United Way of Randolph County, Ronald McDonald House, Women's Aid in Crisis, Good Samaritan, Mountain Hospice, Hospice Care Corporation, WIC of Elkins, Nella's Nursing Home, Iveagh Trust, Mansfield Place, the Randolph County Homeless Shelter, Valentine's Personal Care Home, Courtland Acres, Talbott's Personal Care Center, Jennings Randolph Elementary School, the Darby Family Center, the Child Advocacy Center and new mothers at St. Joseph's Hospital.
Lucila Henderson, of Canaan Valley, shows one of the hand-quilted tops that will be transformed into a ‘luvie’ and donated to a local group or hospital. (The Inter-Mountain photos by Beth Christian Broschart)
This year, the group completed more than 40 of the lap quilts to distribute. Log Cabin Quilters' Guild members cut fabric, batting, backing and worked to put the luvies together. This year, the group met at St. Brendan Catholic Church to finish their loving gifts. Two church members, Marian Hanscom, of Belington, and Debbie Sorensen, of Mingo, volunteered to help put together the luvies.
Guild member Alberta Higgins, busy on the sewing machine, said the group uses every little scrap it has.
"I am sewing together pieces of batting so everything gets used," Higgins said.
"Scraps are used for catnip toys. I even found a lady who uses our empty thread spools to make snowmen and other crafts."
Joan Jackson, guild member, said everyone looks forward to the working day to make the luvies.
"This is our yearly community service project," Jackson said. "This is a good time to have this event, pending the weather. It gives members a good time to come together and network and make lap quilts for a great cause."
Jackson said the luvies are mostly hand-quilted; however, some are cheater prints.
"Some of the children's prints make nice quilts, so we use those," Jackson said. "Most are just pieced and are scrap pieces. Guild members make the tops at home, and we gather today to complete the quilts with backing and batting, and finally tying them into lap quilts."
During the day, the group also finished about 20 quilts for donation to the Elkins Dialysis Center.
Other community service projects for the Log Cabin Quilters' Guild include quilted items for breast cancer fundraisers, quilts for dialysis patients and quilts for the Quilts of Valor and Home of the Brave projects.
The Log Cabin Quilters' Guild sponsors a free quilt show each year in conjunction with the Mountain State Forest Festival. The 2013 show, at the Elkins-Randolph County YMCA gymnasium, featured quilts and a boutique offering quilted and hand-made items for purchase.
Currently, the Guild has quilts on display in Elkins at the Randolph County Community Arts Center through the end of February. Member Fran Kordek also has a solo display of her quilts at the center in the Maxwell Gallery. Kordek also completed the Randolph County Block for the Sesquicentennial Quilt on display in Charleston at the Cultural Center.
The Log Cabin Quilters' Guild began in the summer of 1986 when Pat Arnett, Jean Talbott, Marion Ballentyne, Colleen Strong, Fran Kordek, Mary Wilson and Lois Mahoney met regularly at Arnett's home. In September 1984, membership was opened to the public. Membership has grown from 12 in 1986 to its current 42 members in 2014.
The guild welcomes new members of any age. They encourage interest in quilting through learning and sharing, expanding a circle of friends with a common interest in quilting and providing an environment that motivates creativity and improving skills. The group meets at 7 p.m. at the Elkins Rehabilitation and Care Center the first Thursday of each month.