Church group makes quilts, bags for those in need

2013-10-17T00:00:00Z Church group makes quilts, bags for those in needBy Phil Villarreal Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

Knot Sew Perfect is a sewing circle that’s as adorable as its name.

The group includes about 12 female members of New Life Bible Fellowship Church, many of whom are in their 70s and older. Church members donate fabric, and the group meets to fashion it into bags to give to foster children with Aviva Children’s Services and Child Protective Services, as well as quilts to send to impoverished communities in Mexico and Senegal.

The group meets from 9 a.m. to noon the third Tuesday of every month at the church, 4900 W. Cortaro Farms Road.

Eleanor Havens, 90, said the meetings are an opportunity to bond with friends while helping others, and downplays her role in the group.

“I really do enjoy it,” she said. “We have a good time. My health is definitely good for 90 years old. I thank the Lord every day. Don’t praise me too much. I’m just a common, ordinary person from the state of Kansas.”

Havens started sewing shortly after she married Nels Havens, who would go on to become Marana Unified School District superintendent. He died in 1999.

“I sewed my own clothes because we couldn’t afford anything else,” she said, adding that she used her husband’s neckties to make quilts for her three children. She has lived near Marana since 1976.

“I just think it’s an awesome group of women who have been doing it and get together,” said Norma Havens, Eleanor’s daughter, who says her eyes well up with tears when she thinks of foster children receiving the group’s bags.

Havens finds kinship, shared purpose and comedy in Knot Sew Perfect. The group sometimes gets together for potlucks at her home.

“We are just a really close group,” Havens said. “It’s not a burden to do it. It’s a pleasure. We love to serve the Lord.”

The Rev. Greg Lavine said he appreciates the group because it bridges the generation gap.

“It’s a great group of friends that get together, support each other and have fun with what they do,” he said. “It brings generations together. I think in some ways, the church is the last place in our culture where the ages can mix together, so we really encourage that. The group is great for that. Not just older ladies, but younger gals can interact and find a purpose and community around a kind of traditional hobby.”

Knot Sew Perfect member Lee Etta Fanning, 72, said the work is intense. Members stand on their feet for much of the sessions, working together to assemble the items. Usually the group cranks out three or four quilts a session.

“I just get rewarded,” Fanning said of taking part in the group. “I feel that we’ve done something good, using scraps of fabric and not wasting money, being very frugal. It’s a joyful time. We have a really good time around the table.”

Contact Phil Villarreal at 573-4130 or pvillarreal@azstarnet.com.

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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