Love of quilting turns into so much more for grandmother
NATCHEZ — Joanne King is a nurturing grandmother and great-grandmother who loves to send gifts to her family, something to show that she truly cares.
She learned how to make quilts when she was a child, and last summer she thought to make a quilt for her grandson as a gift since he wouldn’t be able to visit that year.
“I thought I’d make a quilt for him for Christmas, then I thought I’d make one for each one of my children, grand children and great grandchildren,” she said.
What started as a homemade present to a loved one, turned into more than 40 handmade quilts King and her right-hand man, Sariah, 21, has put together in just more than a year’s time.
Sariah said King taught her how to make quilts at a young age, but didn’t get avid with the art until her grandmother called.
“The first one I made was when I was 10, but since then I’ve made one for my sister, my dad’s friend and for a friend that I plan to give a quilt to her for Christmas,” Sariah said.
One of her many recent projects include a quilt to her sister in Pennsylvania.
“I made one for my sister who walks with a walker and she’s always cold, so I made her one to wrap up in when she gets cold,” she said.
As King started sending quilts to her relatives in Pennsylvania, she got active in the community in Natchez when the members of the Master Gardner’s Club made a tour to her house for the Southern Region Master Gardner’s Conference to show off her yard work.
“They came to see my yard and I have some really good friends in the Gardner’s Club so I decided I had to do one for them too,” King said. “From there it just kept going and going, and now I’m on quilt No. 48.”
King has made quilts for many friends and relatives, but of the 48 she’s made, she has only made one for herself.
King recently submitted a quilt to a Master Gardner’s Club fundraiser Saturday to help raise money for the organization.
“I did one for Master Gardner’s and they sold chances on them,” she said. “A dollar a chance and they made $181. It goes to that organization.”
Making at least one quilt every week can get tiring, but King said Sariah is the reason she keeps going.
“I wouldn’t have done so many if she hadn’t come out and helped,” King said. “It’s a grandmother-granddaughter thing for us and I’m teaching her something that’s really a lost art.”
Sariah said she comes every Thursday between 8 a.m. and noon to help King with the quilts, which is the only time during the week she’s not at work or school.
On the weekends, she said she spends up to 10 hours working solely on quilts with her grandmother.
“Sariah is off only one day a week,” King said. “She usually comes out on her off day and sometimes she comes out before she goes to work.”
Sariah said with her life already frantic, she continues to make time for quilt making for the feeling of giving.
“I do it because I like to see people’s expression when they get it, because they don’t expect it,” Sariah said.