March 11, 2010

Creative energy helps keep activities in community for residents

Creative energy helps keep activities in community for residents
By ALLAN TINKER
If energy is needed for creativity, Delores Helm has both, in spades. While she sometimes questions her own quota of patience, her willingness to help others learn crafts and sewing skills seems endless.
Helm notes that when people sent out flyers asking for suggestions or action on community needs, she saw that adult education was one of the things listed. She took on the task of finding a willing teacher of quilting techniques, Frances Rittenbach, to offer the class. They were offered at the Grace Lutheran Church in McClusky, on two different days, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 or 5 p.m. The eight participants who registered and attended the classes either brought their own sewing machines or used a “loaner” to work on the individual beginning quilt square. The square was made of eight different colored or designed pieces of fabric, each square 19 inches. There was also a list of supplies that each needed to bring with them.
“They learned to cut the pieces of the pattern; position the pieces with corners meeting exactly, and then they sewed them together. It is a challenge to learn a pattern, but Rittenbach showed us the short cuts. Also, when you sew a piece, you press a piece. This is crucial to a good quilt. You press every one,” she emphasized.
Helm is a beginner in sewing herself, not learning in childhood, but after she was talked into a quilting class and took one in Bismarck. She said she is too practical to do crafts, as she wants to be able to use what she creates. But she is always out for a challenge, she said.
One challenge is finishing the quilts of her mother, Martha Schlafman. There was a stack on a chair in the dining room, a colorful collection of patterns and squares, ready for the completing steps to usefulness. When she received the “boxes and boxes of items” she gave some to her sisters and has 10 or more left to do, she said.
In her farm home’s bedrooms were quilts that Delores has made, though she ties, not quilts, her finished bed coverings. Colors range from an intense red and purple combinations to muted greens and pretty flowers, the latter being one of her mothers. She also makes other quilted items for Christmas and other holidays.
 


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