How a Chesterfield sewing circle is spreading love by stitching colorful quilts

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. -- In this sewing circle with a purpose, members of the Holy Tearers wait on pins and needles for days like this.

At Christ the King Church in Chesterfield, dozens of women make up the group which meets monthly at the church on Huguenot Road.

“Lutheran women have been making quilts for probably generations,” Haar explained.

The Holy Tearers have been meeting since 1989 creating quilts. Their hand-made products aren’t for show and tell.

“A lot of ladies put a lot of time into doing this,” said Nancy Haar.

“It is kind of synchronized work,” said Stephanie Landers.

The quilts protect people from the elements. The operation is part of the Lutheran World Relief program which ships the comfortable and color quilts to people in need.

“All of the fabric you see here has been donated. The top fabrics,” said Rev. Ruth Fortis. “They’ll never know who made them. They’ll never be able to say, ‘thank you.’”

The quilts are sent to Richmond area women’s shelters to third world nations and areas like Charleston hard hit by Mother Nature.

Eighty-eight-year-old Bea Ribblett works harder than a Singer sewing machine. Bea has been quilting since she was five and hasn’t stopped.

“1000 quilts. I made 1000 quilt tops in the last three years,” said Bea. “I get up in the morning. Get my breakfast. Go into the sewing room and I enjoy doing it. About 50 hours a week I’d say.”

Even with failing eyesight and hearing, Bea will not be sidelined.

“So, it gives her purpose and meaning in her older years,” said Rev. Ruth Fortis.

The dedicated quilter inspires with each and every stitch. For Bea this is no hobby.

“I know. It is a full-time job,” she exclaimed.

This quilting project is strictly a team effort.

“This is tangible. This is a warm and comforting way for people to express concern for somebody else’s well-being,” said Nancy Haar.

Each member of the group shares a common thread. The women dedicate their lives to wrapping strangers in fabrics of joy.

“Every quilt we make touches someone’s life with a bit of God’s grace or God’s love,” said Rev. Fortis.

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