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Sewing, history, geometry, life . . . rolled in 1

Staff writer

Seven girls in a Salina after school program for at-risk students have been getting lessons in history, geometry, sewing and life with help from Hillsboro quilters Neva Kreutziger, Marie Kessler, and Mary Lancaster.

With the help of the quilters, the students have pieced squares for an Underground Railroad quilt.

The squares were joined together into a quilt top by the Hillsboro quilters. Batting, backing, and binding will finish the quilt.

Making the quilt is the grand finale of a program begun months ago.

“When we started, none of them had ever sewn before, so we had them practice,” Lancaster said.

The quilters have worked with the girls about 30 hours — a few hours here and a few hours there — over the course of five and a half months.

Most of that time the quilters went to Salina to work with the girls.

The Underground Railroad lesson began when Kessler’s brother-in-law Rick Reed, a retired history teacher from McPherson who now works for Teen Town, took the girls on a field trip to LeCompton.

Teen Town operates the Xcel after school program for students in grades seven through 12 that the high school freshman girls are taking.

“He took the girls to where there was a slave in Kansas who escaped through the Underground Railroad,” Kessler said.

He and the girls walked part of the Underground Railroad route.

Then to continue learning, the girls began the sewing portion of the lesson. In making the quilt, they have gotten lessons in geometry, history, and sewing. They also have learned a skill they can use all their lives, Kessler said.

At Kessler and Kreutziger’s quilting shop, they got to see a longarm quilting machine and other items used to make quilts.

Kessler showed them different stitching patterns used for machine quilting and explained that some quilts are tied, some are hand stitched, and some are stitched by sewing machines.

“It teaches them multiple things in one project,” Teen Town director Shawn Copeland said. “Kind of like life.”

Last modified April 8, 2021

 

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