Grannies and campers pose with each camper’s individual quilt. In the foreground, the group’s LWR Quilt is coming together.

Quilting with the Grannies

A SPECIAL EVENT has been happening at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Chapel Hill, N.C., for the past three years: a week-long intergenerational quilting camp called “Quilting with the Grannies.” The camp started three years ago and involves the “Grannies” of the Holy Trinity Quilters teaching the younger children in their church and greater community. Lenore Shimota, a quilter and retired teacher, had the idea to start this and she and the other Grannies came together and made it happen.

The campers range from third graders to teenagers, and each camper is matched with a Granny to ensure safety and to build a real relationship. The campers get to choose their own fabric from the accumulated inventory, learn to sew the quilts together, learn from each other, and go home with a 50” x 60” quilt for themselves!

You might wonder how the Holy Trinity Quilters have been able to get the younger generation interested in quilting — and run this camp for three years. Lenore Shimota puts it quite simply: “children love to make machines work.”

In fact, the Grannies even have returning customers! Twelve-year-old Anna Shimota has attended the camp for all three years and said she liked the camp because the Grannies are all “really nice and it’s just a fun way to do something productive.” Sarah Watson, 14, also a third year camper, mentioned how cool it was to see how the quilts “start with pieces of cloth” and eventually become a blanket. Anna’s advice to new quilters or kids who want to try making a quilt is to “concentrate at the beginning” and not to give up! Sarah notes that while it may seem intimidating at first, it’s actually really fun.

In addition to making their own quilt, the campers made a quilt to donate to LWR, adding to the 129 other quilts for LWR made by the Grannies.