On pins, needles

Community supports FIS quilting project with donations, time

When Farragut Intermediate School dad Brian Elton read in a school newsletter about FIS art classes seeking quilting donations, he stepped up and helped in a very big way.

“I saw the need, and I reached out to Singer (Sewing) Corporation, where I had my first ‘real’ job after college — from 1999 to 2004,” said Elton, the school’s All Pro Dad chairman and a Rotary Club of Farragut member. “Vicky Merritt, a previous colleague in the service department there, donated a Singer S16 industrial-grade, straight-stitch quilting machine.” Elton then drove to Nashville, picked up the machine from Singer Sewing headquarters and delivered it to FIS.

Art teachers Christy Davis and Caitlyn Buchanan have been seeking fabrics, other donations and volunteer time so all 1,100 students could make quilts this year, which, in turn, would be auctioned off and the proceeds donated to Knox Area Rescue Ministries.

Davis said she had applied for a grant for the project, but the grant did not come through, so she is asking the school community for help.

“We’re so grateful,’ Davis said about receiving the machine. “I can’t even put it into words.”

“It’s just a huge blessing,” Buchanan said.

Davis said the teachers also are receiving $1,500 from Smoky Mountain Quilters of Tennessee,

adding 380 yards of square material is the goal.

“We’re making 38 queen-size quilts, total,” Buchanan said.

“The kids are hand-sewing the blocks, and once the blocks are made, then Caitlin and I will be sewing the blocks together to put it together for a quilt,” Davis said. “ ... We really want the kids to have the experience of making something with their own hands then seeing it help someone else in need.”

The classes will have an online quilt auction, with the proceeds benefiting KARM.

“A handful of (the quilts) are going to be at our art show at the Knoxville Museum of Art in the spring,” Davis said.

The quilts are part of the students’ studies on the Civil War era. Davis pointed out people of that time period had to make due with what they had, repurposing items and helping out their neighbors.

As such, the quilt project falls in line with their studies.

“The whole focus of the 1860s is that they helped each other,” she said. “They weren’t just on their own.”

In addition to the quilting project, Davis and Buchanan also are holding a Battle of Campbell Station Day, a school-wide field trip featuring re-enactments and speakers, on Tuesday, Nov. 15, at the school.