Thursday, Jan. 31, 2008

Student-made works will be donated for police use

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Brian Lewis⁄The Gazette
Bethany Moon sews the quilt she’s been working on since October.
The hum of sewing machines stops and starts abruptly in this classroom at Spark Matsunaga Elementary School as a dozen fourth- and fifth-grade girls quietly work on small, colorful quilts.

And then, ‘‘Ow! Not again!”

The needle strikes.

‘‘I don’t like the needle, it huts a lot,” said Paige Kistler, 9, who is working one with a butterflies.

‘‘Yeah, it does. It really hurts,” agreed Hannah Robin, 9, who was making one with sailboats and anchors.

The girls are members of the school’s Quilt Club, new this school year and likely the only after-school club devoted to quilting in Montgomery County Public Schools, said Sarah Webb, the third-grade teacher who oversees the club with art teacher Jennifer Fair and several volunteers.

Webb has been an avid quilter for years and decided to bring the craft to students at the Germantown school.

All of the 13 students in the club (all girls) are first-time quilters, though some have experience sewing.

They will present the quilts to members of the county’s 5th District Police station in Germantown next month. Officers will keep the quilts in their patrol cars and use them when they respond to calls that involve children, Webb said.

‘‘At this time of year, it’s really cold, so hopefully the police will give these to kids,” said Kristie Loo, 10, who was making a Winnie the Pooh quilt.

Webb decided to do the project after she learned that fourth-grader Kyna Robinson’s dad, George Hyson, is a county police officer. He put her in contact with Laurie Mombay, the victim services coordinator for the 5th District.

‘‘I just thought it was really sweet that these girls are working on something to be given to a child in distress or a child in need,” said Mombay, a novice quilter. ‘‘When [officers] come upon a child either in the course of investigating a crime or a traffic accident, they can give them away.”

The students said they were proud that their work would go to a good place.

‘‘I’m sad that you have to let the quilt go, but I’m happy that they are going to children who need them,” Paige said.

The quilters learned a lot, and for many the need for patience topped the list.

‘‘I wanted to learn to make quilts, and when I got here it was very enjoyable,” said fifth-grader Esther Kim, 10, who had no sewing experience. But a lack of ‘‘patience is my worst habit.”

Taylor Hamer, 10, has improved her skills with a sewing machine.

‘‘I had a lot of problems with stitches,” the fifth-grader said, working with her ‘‘Sunflower Farm” quilt. ‘‘I learned to be patient with the machine”

The club began work in October and by mid-January, she said, the needle had stuck her at least 100 times.

to help

The Quilt Club is in need of supplies. To donate money, quilting materials, sewing machines or other items, contact Sarah Webb at Sarah_E_Webb@mcpsmd.org or Jennifer Fair at Jennifer_L_Fair@mcpsmd.org.