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Ann Arbor resident Mary Lindquist, owner of the Quilting Season, laughs when she talks about her busy shop being “a front” for all the charity work that’s done there, but on a more serious note, she said, “Our goal is for women to get in touch with their creativity and have fun.”

“Quilters are such givers because they understand how important quilts and pillowcases are. My customers have made over 22,000 pillowcases in the past seven years, or so, for C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital in Ann Arbor. When a child is admitted, they’re welcomed with a pillowcase and they can take it home.”

Her customers also make faceless cloth dolls that are used to help children understand the exam or procedure they’re about to undergo at the hospital, and many of the volunteer quilters make preemie quilts for the neonatal units. Both items go home with the patient.

The Quilting Season, located at 7025 E. Michigan, Suite A3, in Saline, also helps persons living in a nursing home for the “underserved.” Lindquist said, “We do Christmas for all their folks. We found out things they needed or wanted. The gifts are wrapped and put into pillowcases we make. We also do their birthdays. It’s (all) just to help them have a little more life in their days.”

And, every August, customers clean out their sewing room, and bring unwanted items to the shop for the “Donation Sale.” Items are displayed on tables for donations. Last year, the “sale” raised $3,300 — money which was donated to Saline Social Services to purchase shoes for schoolchildren.

Lindquist, 79, sees all their charity sewing projects as a way to keep the art of quilting alive. When her daughters, Meg Jalilevand of Ann Arbor, and Katrina Lovett of Saline, opened the shop in 2000, she remembers “quilting, back then, was much bigger than it is now.” She said, “We are working to keep it going because women out in the workplace need something to help them relax in the evening. Sometimes, sewing just two or three seams can take all the stress and tension of the day away.”

She also pointed to the fact that many women didn’t have home economics in school, therefore, she’s using her shop as a way to encourage them to discover the “joy of sewing” and “creating something.”

Lindquist, who learned to quilt in her 40s after being drawn into a quilt store in Beulah, took over ownership of the Quilting Season about four years ago, because both daughters “sort of filtered away.” She said, “One went back and got a master’s (degree), and the other one works from home, but both, along with sister Lisa Lindquist-Dorr of Tuscaloosa, Ala., continue to quilt.

Lindquist said the Quilting Season, which doesn’t focus much on garment sewing, is the only such shop in Saline. However, there are others nearby in Ann Arbor, but like with any craft supply store, she noted each “reflects the personality of the owner,” and “every store has different things.”

For instance, when it comes to fiber filling at the Quilting Season — Hobbs Heirloom Cotton Batting, “with a bit of polyester,” is her preference because “you don’t get the lumpy bumps or clumps” when you wash the quilt.

Lindquist takes great joy in teaching quilting to others, especially beginners. She said, “They’ll say, ‘I have this old (sewing) machine,’ and I say, ‘That’s perfectly fine because all it has to do is sew a straight seam, and you can quilt!’

Although the Quilting Season is filled with all sorts of goodies — colorful cotton print fabrics, patterns, notions, batting, and more — Lindquist is not one to push unnecessary items just to make a sale. She said, “There’s always more gadgets, but I don’t like to encourage people to buy a lot of things for just one project.” (Now, how considerate is that?)

In addition to creating charity items, customers often take advantage of “open sewing” at the shop by bringing in a project(s) of choice to work on. Lindquist said, “Women lead solitary lives and need community. They need to come together and find purpose in life. Sewing brings purpose. It’s wonderful to watch the things they make.”

Detroit News Columnist Jocelynn Brown is a longtime Metro Detroit crafter. You can reach her at (313) 222-2150, jbrown@detroitnews.com or facebook.com/DetroitNewsHandmade.

Contact The Quilting Season (7025 E. Michigan, Suite A3, Saline) at (734) 429-2900 or thequiltingseason.org. Email: info@thequiltingseason.com.

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