Stitch by Stitch, a Warm Embrace

March 22, 2019
From left, Shelly Gans, Rosalie Longo, Jen Young, Kathy Spaulding, Emily Fine, Ann Davis, Alice Azarowski and Suzanne Olson of the Crazy Quilters group pause from their work at the Townsend Senior Center.

By Jon Winkler


TOWNSEND -- A group of senior citizens used their hobby to help children displaced by the fire at the Pine Ridge Estates apartment complex earlier this month by making and donating 13 quilts to them.

The women, who call themselves the “Crazy Quilters,” meet every Friday at the Townsend Senior Center to put their shared pastimes to good use. Janice Young, a Townsend resident and member of the group, said last Friday that the ladies make quilts as donations to various causes, ranging from fellow residents who have had serious stories to a fundraiser for Townsend’s annual town picnic.

“We’re a support group for any kind of support needed,” Young said. “We’re all different, but we all quilt. It’s a nice thing to do and we all feel better doing it.”

Like most Townsend residents, the ladies heard about the fire at the Fitchburg Road apartment building that left 48 people without a home on Feb. 4. Alice Azarowski, another Townsend resident and member of the group, said the quilters wanted to help the children affected by the blaze immediately.

“We wanted to feel like we could do something to help the kids,” Azarowski said.

That’s when Emily Fine, a Townsend resident who has her own quilting studio, suggested in an email the idea of making quilts for the children. Fine said that she’s been quilting for seven years after retiring from teaching and while she referred to making quilts as a hobby, she’s also donated quilts to local fundraisers and charities. When she heard that the Squanicook Colonial Quilt Guild in Townsend was donating quilts of their own to adult victims of the blaze, Fine thought the Crazy Quilters could offer a similar kindness.

“It’s what I do and that’s what people are for,” she said.

Azarowksi said that the quilters got to work on Feb. 8 and finished the 13 quilts in five days. The ladies even spent time after hours bringing quilt tops to Fine’s studio for more work. Young said that the finished quilts were delivered to the Townsend Ecumenical Outreach on Feb. 15 to be offered to impacted families.

While the quilters weren’t able to see the children picking up their gifts, member Rosalie Longo said that one girl, Tina O’Reily, sent an email to the group thanking them for their donations. It’s not the first time they’ve been thanked for their efforts, as evidence by the collection of thank you cards hung on the wall next to the table where they work at the senior center.

“It feels so fulfilling, a real warm and fuzzy feeling,” Longo said. “It’s the biggest project we’ve done so far.”

“It makes me feel glad that I’m doing what I’m doing,” Fine said.