The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

May 6, 2012

Jo Ellis: For Carthage group, making quilts, toys a labor of love

By Jo Ellis
Globe Columnist

CARTHAGE, Mo. — Reduce, reuse, recycle.

The environmental motto is also the bottom line for a group of Carthage women who use their sewing talent not only to help the environment, but also to provide useful and needed items for others.

Four years ago, Marjorie Bull, who has been quilting all of her life, had an idea to use the many pieces of leftover material to make small quilts for babies. As a volunteer at the Jasper County Records Center, she worked with Jeanne Hill and Jo Stocker, who volunteer at the center and also have quilting experience and expertise.

They soon were joined by Ellen Yost, and the group now has grown to almost a dozen women who ply their skills with a needle. The baby quilts are given to each mother who delivers at Mercy McCune-Brooks Hospital in Carthage.

They also have made lap quilts for patients in local nursing homes and at the Missouri Veterans Home in Mount Vernon, and twin-size quilts for children at the Ozark Center’s Turnaround Ranch in Joplin. Stuffed toy animals are another product of their passion to turn leftover fabric scraps into something that can be loved and treasured.

Some quilt tops are handmade, some are machine-stitched and others are tacked. Marjorie has even made some that are hand-embroidered — indeed a labor of love. The women get together and quilt in Marjorie’s kitchen for the small quilts. For larger pieces, they set up in the United Methodist Church Fellowship Hall.

A few weeks ago, the women invited everyone who had worked on any of the projects to a dinner of recognition and celebration for the 911 items they had produced to date.

They are especially grateful to the Carthage Kiwanis Club, whose members have donated money for them to buy the batting to fill the quilts, and to all those who have dug out their fabric scraps.

“People have been really good to give us things,” Marjorie said. “We can do a lot with scraps.”

The group’s official title is RCWW & Associates (Record Center Widow Women & Associates).

The “associates” had to be added to cover those volunteers with husbands.

Anyone wishing to help with donations of fabric scraps or anything that can be repurposed for the group’s quilts and toys may call Marjorie at 417-358-6301— “if you can catch me,’’ she says — or get in touch with Jeanne Hill at the records center, 417-358-1100.

Address correspondence to Jo Ellis, c/o The Joplin Globe, Box 7, Joplin, MO 64802 or email