Sandpoint Sewing Circle
Surprised by a Sew-In
Most Monday mornings find me at the Bodega Café on Cedar Street, where I meet with the Sandpoint Monday Writers for a two-hour free write. But the last winds of a frosty March blew in a wide assortment of crafters, who brought in their sewing and knitting for a Sandpoint sewing circle.
Members of the Community Action League, the Sandpoint Fiberarts Guild, the Triangle United Homemakers Club and the Sandpoint Teen Council decided to pool their resources and celebrate the coming of spring with a sewing day. They met at Café Bodega to make blankets, dolls and quilts for the hospital and bags of love.
What a distracting lot! They dragged in their sewing and knitting machines, each time letting the cold March air into the café. The baby on the floor - a reporter in the making - took notes and played with her wicker basket. Whenever she tried to explore, Tess, the café’s Australian Shepherd mascot, herded her back to her mother, who worked on a beautiful, snowy blue blanket. When she wasn’t babysitting, Tess socialized with the rest of the crafters, receiving numerous pats on the head.
The sewers and knitters seemed comfortable with each other. Scissors or needles in hand, their fingers worked the yarn and material like magic.
"It’s awful quiet," one woman said while cutting out a doll pattern.
"I can’t sew and talk at the same time," said the women next to her in the doll assembly line.
They laughed, and then the door opened and someone came in with a bag of felt.
"I have another big bag of fleece," the newcomer said, "in the car."
Wanita Willinger of the Sandpoint Fiberarts Guild jumped up.
"Let me help you with it," Willinger said, and they went out the door like two Energizer bunnies.
Dixie Stansell, the chairman on the Community Assistance League blanket committee, said that all the material they were using had been donated.
"Jennifer Park has the outdoor fleece company," said Stansell, "and she bags up all the extra pieces she can’t use and brings them to me."
The ladies on the CAL blanket committee separate the bags of fleece and use them to make blankets for the hospital. Every newborn receives a blanket because of these ladies. They also draw, cut and sew together the patterns of the Bed Buddies dolls.
Stansell said that she recycles the fleece to various organizations. Two boxes went to the Sandpoint Teen Council and to Camp Make-A-Dream in Montana. The teen council uses the fleece to make quilts to go in bags of love, and Make-A-Dream is an oncology camp for children age 6 to young adult.
Bags of Love, an ongoing project, go to children taken out of methamphetamine homes. Because of the toxicity of meth, children are not allowed to take any of their belongings with them.
The Sandpoint Teen Council works with teens in the area, sewing the duffel bags and filling each age- and gender- appropriate bag with a home-made quilt, stuffed animal, books, t-shirt and toiletries.
Margareta from the teen council said that they need monetary donations to help with the project and/or new books to go in the bags. Anyone interested in donating can call Margareta at 265-9648 or Marilyn at 263-2020.
Wanita Willinger of the Sandpoint Fiberarts Guild said she’s polymorphous perverse because she enjoys all aspects of fiber arts, from felting to knitting to beading to weaving with metal. This vivacious woman helped spark the idea of the sewing day.
"The women here today, and the groups they represent," Willinger said, "have hearts of gold. They’re wonderful people."
Willinger said that anyone interested in weaving, basket making, spinning, beading or just having fun, should come to the Spin In on Saturday, May 19 at the Cedar Bridge, downtown Sandpoint. The Sandpoint Fiberarts Guild, founded in 1984, will have displays and demos all day.
The Triangle United Homemakers Club will be hosting a "bring and buy sale" Saturday, May 3 at the Sagle Senior Center. Table rental costs $10. Contact Jean Ogden at 263-3793 for a reservation. Proceeds from this fundraiser will go to the 4-H Leadership Program.
The ladies and Charles from the yarn shop, who donated a knitting machine for the afternoon at Foster’s Crossing, had a wonderful time working together making warm blankets and dolls for the community. They hope to have another Sew In soon.