Pine church group creates baby quilts for unwed mothers
By Deborah Deasy
Published: Wednesday, April 17, 2013, 9:01 p.m.
The Grace Full Stitchers sow love with thread and needle.
They meet to make baby quilts for unwed, expectant mothers.
“We always have fun,” said artist Shari Finney of Middlesex, a member of the nimble-fingered Stitchers, who also worship together at Grace Reformed Presbyterian Church in Pine.
The Grace Full Stitchers meet from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. one Wednesday each month at the Treesdale home of Karen Schwab, a registered nurse and wife of U.S. District Judge Arthur J. Schwab.
“Some of the ladies just like to embroider,” said Karen Schwab.
Others enjoy cutting, ironing and piecing together squares of colorful cotton.
A number of the women bring sewing machines.
All sit around Karen Schwab's dining room table, within steps from an ironing board set up in the nearby kitchen.
Everyone brings her own lunch.
The Grace Full Stitchers donate their infant coverlets to the Women's Choice Network, an organization that “empowers abortion-vulnerable women to choose life,” according to its mission statement.
“We love women. We love babies. We just want to support families,” said Amy Scheuring of Richland, executive director of the Women's Choice Network, which has offices in Monroeville, the North Side, Oakland and Pine.
All baby quilts made by the Grace Full Stitchers feature hand-sewn borders. Many also incorporate hand-embroidered squares.
Each quilt bears the Grace Full Stitchers' label with a couple lines from Psalm 130: “For you formed my inward parts. You covered me in my mother's womb.”
“It's just a really beautiful mom's gift,” Scheuring said. “Our clients — many times — are without a support system, and to have an heirloom, handmade quilt like this is a huge blessing to them that they really appreciate.
“They're really getting something that somebody put a lot of care and love into, and we hear that from the clients, that ‘This is something I'm going to save,'” Scheuring said.
The Grace Full Stitchers formed in 2009 after Scheuring spoke at Grace Reformed Presbyterian Church about the Women's Choice Network.
“We've had a lot of different women offer quilts, and everybody does an excellent job, but this group goes above and beyond,” Scheuring said about the Grace Full Stitchers.
Scheuring can't count the untold baby quilts made by the Grace Full Stitchers for unwed, expectant moms.
“They deserve to have something nice,” said Barbara Obaker, a member of the Grace Full Stitchers who taught French for 39 years at North Allegheny High School.
Other members of the Stitchers include Dr. Maribell McKelvy of Richland, a retired pediatrician; homemaker Mary Shear of Richland, a former secretary with 27 grandchildren; Judy Linhart of Dormont, a former member of Grace Reformed Presbyterian Church; and Patti Gomez of Cranberry, and her home-schooled daughter, Sarah Gomez.
“We do this because God has saved us, and he's given us different talents, and he brought us together at Grace (Reformed Presbyterian) Church, so we just want to share his love and truth,” said Shari Finney of Middlesex, Butler County, a former commercial artist.
“God created each of us,” Finney said. “No life is a mistake. He can bring good out of every situation.”
Deborah Deasy is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-772-6369 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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