Holley girls create surprise quilts as gifts for teachers

Busy hands urged needle and thread through calico fabric.

Young heads bent forward in concentration. Stitch followed stitch as excited cries rang out, “Mrs. Miner, look. I finished my name,” and “Help, Mrs. Ramsey. My thread’s in a knot.”

Each Tuesday and Wednesday near the end of March and all through April, girls from Michelle Hatchard’s and Kathi Collins’ classrooms met after school in Mindy Ramsey’s home to sew quilts as surprise gifts for their teachers.

Inspiration for the project came directly from Ramsey’s daughters Hannah and Alice.

“They wanted to have the girls from their classes come to our home and form a group called The Ingredients for Life Club,” said Ramsey.

“I was willing to do random short sessions. The quilts are the beginning.”

Ramsey asked Betty Miner to be, as she puts it, the brains of the project. The two met several times to outline the task ahead.

Willing helpers from the community were recruited, including Brandell Braatz, Karen Evans, Lydia Hull, Mary Hutchins and Susan Weber.

Their volunteer job descriptions included helping the girls cut quilt squares and operate the sewing machines, manning the ironing boards and untangling embroidery floss.

Some of the girls’ mothers supplied snacks.

Clandestinely discovering that Hatchard likes blue and Collins preferred brown, the young ladies chose appropriate fabric donated by Miner and Ramsey for each quilt during their first session.

Each girl cut and sewed squares together to form a four-patch design. Each one carefully stitched her name near the bottom of a large plain block of material.

Later, a heart-shaped piece of calico was added and hand-sewn just above each moniker. After Miner pieced each quilt, the girls tied them at intervals with embroidery floss.

Miner bound the quilts with narrow strips of fabric, and they were complete.

“I was very pleased,” Miner said. “The girls did a great job putting them together.”

The quilts arrived at Holley School nestled in colorful bags with cards. With eager anticipation, the girls excited watched each teacher unwrap her unexpected gift.

Once more, glad cries filled the air. This time, they came from the teachers.

“You can tell the girls took a lot of time and care in making the quilt,” Hatchard said. “They wanted to show me which part they did. I plan to leave mine hanging in my classroom for awhile before I take it home.”

“It was fun that the girls didn’t let on,” Collins said. “I’m thrilled. It’s a work of heart. I am happy and touched that someone would take the time to teach them to do this.”

“The quilts are beautiful,” said Principal Tiffanie Lambert. “The quilts are beautiful. I am very grateful the moms took time to work with the girls to show appreciation to the teachers. It’s not surprising considering the high level of parental involvement here.”

Allison, Celly and Hannah spoke for the girls.

“They are great teachers. We enjoyed making quilts for them,” Allison said.

Celly said she enjoyed the project, “especially when we tied the quilt and had banana splits afterward.”

“It was all fun,” Hannah said.