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Patchwork path to freedom

Photos by Christy Porter
Students Elam Berriault, Kayden Dunigan, Kimmie ReVelle, Nathan Umfleet and Malaina Lonning (right, from front) work on their quilt blocks with concentration and determination as teachers Michelle Meizler (front left), Connie Hebblethwaite (back right), and volunteer Suzie Blackburn (back left) assist when needed.

Volunteer Carolyn Wulff instructs Jeremiah Alkire on the fine intricacies of needlework while constructing a Sailboat block.

By Christy Porter, Managing Editor

Students of the Class of 2030 have been busy learning and creating a sampler quilt using the theme and history of the Underground Railroad.

While they work in groups of two on Monday and Tuesday afternoons, participating student volunteers are not only learning the history of the Civil War but are also learning basic life skills in sewing.

Volunteers Suzie Blackburn and Carolyn Wulff, and Licking R-VIII teachers Connie Hebblethwaite, Anita Reed, Carla Walker and Serena Hagler help students create quilt blocks that tell a story. Third grader Rachel Hagler, Serena’s daughter, also joins the group on Tuesdays. This is Rachel’s third year helping, and this year she is completing her own block.

Kayden Dunigan concentrates on threading his needle.

Meizler explains that the students begin by picking a pattern, they pick out their fabric, a print and a solid, and then they have to trace their pattern onto the fabric and cut the fabric to the correct pattern shape and size. A new experience for some is learning to thread a needle, making the stitches to join the pieces into the design intended, ironing the pieces and continuing to join the pieces until the block is completed.

“Owww!” exclaims Malania Lonning.

The students shared their priorities while stitching the blocks: 1) Don’t stab yourself with the needle. 2) If you do stab yourself, don’t bleed on it. 3) Don’t mess it up! These priorities were emphasized with the occasional “Owww!”

Nathan Umfleet and Kimmie ReVelle match pieces of their Monkey Wrench while volunteer Carolyn Wulff looks on.

Monday afternoon the first quilt block, a Bear Paw, was completed by Malania Lonning and she began a second, Jacob’s Ladder; Nathan Umfleet and Kimmie ReVelle continued their work on a Monkey Wrench; as did Kayden Dunigan and Elam Berriault on their Crossroads block; Jeremiah Alkire was diligently working on a Sailboat block. Tuesday’s students will continue to complete their blocks as well. Fourteen blocks will be pieced by the students, which will then be set together, quilted, and finished by experienced volunteers.

Elam Berriault watches closely as Mrs. Meizler helps piece a Crossroads block.

The fabric pictorial being created by Michelle Meizler’s sixth grade students will be auctioned off their senior year, 2030, with proceeds to benefit the Texas County Museum of Art & History located on Main Street in Licking.

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