Hand-made quilt helps senior programs

KAPA‘A — A quilt for a dollar?

Mari Woody, one of the quilting “students” at the Kapa‘a Neighborhood Center, had never done a quilt that didn’t go to a relative.

“This is the first time I made one that I’m not giving to a family relative,” Woody said.

Marta Hulsman, site manager for the Kapa‘a Neighborhood Center, said the quilt will be given away at drawing on April 5 to some lucky person.

Tickets for the quilt will be ready Wednesday and available for a dollar donation per ticket.

Woody is one of about 20 students enrolled in a quilting program headed by instructor Jane Vegas of Lawa‘i.

“This is the biggest class,” said Vegas, who also holds classes at other neighborhood centers around the island.

“It’s the best,” one student said enthusiastically.

Teaching the seniors for 18 years, Vegas started quilting more than 40 years ago, after learning the art of Hawaiian quilting from Hannah Baker, a University of Hawai‘i instructor.

Vegas used to make a quilt each year that was auctioned off, usually at the Senior Extravaganza, to benefit the seniors, but has now turned that task over to her students.

Hulsman said the students sometimes take a break from quilting to exercise or check out one of the other programs.

“People who enjoy quilting can just come down,” Hulsman said. “They can join the senior center program, but it’s not required. Mrs. Vegas will let them know what they need.”

As one of several programs sponsored by the county, quilting is free except for the materials.

And now, thanks to a recent policy change, people younger than 55 years old can attend as well.

Woody said she’s been doing patchwork quilting for about 30 years but only recently learned Hawaiian quilt-making.

For the quilt that will benefit the seniors, Woody said it took about three months to create, working for several hours in the evenings.

Woody said the material pieces were sewn together by machine, and those pieces were then hand-quilted.

“If I hand-quilted the whole thing it would have taken several years instead of months,” Woody said. “It’s a labor of love.”

Aaron Uyeda of the county’s Recreation Agency was impressed with the quality of Woody’s work.

“It’s a piece of art,” Uyeda said. “She sews everything by hand — even the small pieces.”

In addition to the Kapa‘a site, Vegas holds classes at the Koloa Neighborhood Center on Mondays, the Waimea Neighborhood Center on Tuesdays, Hanapepe on Thursdays and Lihu‘e on Fridays.

“I’m on the road five days a week,” Vegas said. “And the rest of the time, I’m busy catching up with the grandkids.”

On Wednesday, Vegas had an oceanscape quilt that she said will go to her great-great-grandson for his first birthday this month.

That piece was available when John, one of her sons, stopped in to have lunch with her, something he’s done for several years since his mother started the quilting program in Kapa‘a.

“He’s forgotten the road to Lawa‘i,” Jane said. “Now, he gotta come see me here.”

Hulsman said Kapa‘a Neighborhood Center will host the annual Seniors Valentine Dance on Feb. 15 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and she’ll be sure to have quilt tickets available for that as well.

For more information, call the Kapa‘a Neighborhood Center at 822-1931.


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the TERMS OF SERVICE. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. If your comments are inappropriate, you may be banned from posting. To report comments that you believe do not follow our guidelines, send us an email.