Forward Living: A group that specializes in patching up

03/10/2011 7:00 AM |

As a tough winter draws to a close, there seems to be much that needs fixing up. Even on the North Fork where highway department crews are careful and competent, there’s an occasional bit of lawn or small shrub disturbed by a plow. Every now and then a pothole appears.
Winds tear shutters from our homes, concrete planters left outside crack, paint chips from doors and window trim when assailed by hail.

Yes, as I said, tough. That’s why I needed help with some repair jobs. Now don’t misunderstand me. My husband is more than handy when it comes to fixing things and he works hard. Trouble is, his idea of repair is demolish and start from scratch. You’ve no idea how many jobs we’ve got going. Some date back to the 1900s.

So when I heard of a group, more or less headquartered in Peconic, I took note. The group, I was told, spent considerable time doing patch work. Just what I needed — patch jobs. As I tell my husband, not every repair has to be a work of art.

I was, however, put off by the group’s name. ELIQG. That’s a strange-looking word and I certainly couldn’t pronounce it. But if their work was good, that was all that mattered. I decided to meet with them.

Right off I discovered the group had no regular hours in a North Fork store. I’d have to travel, at 7 p.m. (in the dark!), to Southold Town Recreation Center in Peconic to discuss my needs and determine if ELIQG was up to the work. But I was desperate, so I drove alone to meet with the group. My husband remained home, not understanding my impatience with his work schedule.

His staying home was fortunate since it turned out that, with one or two exceptions, every member of ELIQG is female. My husband might have felt uncomfortable. Then again, maybe not. What a novelty, thought I. All these women doing work usually reserved for men. Strange, though. I saw no nails, hammers, saws, levels, paint brushes, ladders — all things guys lug around when they’re patching up.

What I did see took me by surprise. This group I’d stumbled into, this ELIQG, was Eastern Long Island Quilters Guild, about 200 of ’em. The tools of their trade are scissors, needles, pins, tape measures. It was obvious I’d not get my garage door repaired or a few roof shingles replaced by the members of ELIQG. But I decided to stick around at the center. Maybe I’d learn something.

First, though, I want you to know ELIQG members must enjoy eating. Two long tables were filled with cake and cookies, coffee and tea. Made no difference I’d just finished supper. A second dessert began my evening’s adventure.

I thought it polite to say hello to ELIQG president Connie Klos. When I mentioned repair and patch work, Connie smiled and suggested I stay and hear what ELIQG is all about. The group began 30 years ago, Connie said. Its goal then and now is to celebrate the beauty of quilting, the creativity and skills involved, the joy of work with color and cloth.

Connie was especially enthusiastic as she spoke of Comfort Quilts Sewing Day. This year it’s on April 17 at the rec center. On that day ELIQG members meet and sew quilts for nursing home residents, for newborns in hospitals, for youngsters in need of solace. Over the past years many hundreds of ELIQG quilts have brought joy to recipients.

Heading again to the refreshment table, I met Riverhead’s Gayle Wagner, a 15-year member of ELIQG. Gail keeps returning to ELIQG because there are “always new techniques” to learn. Gail must be a good learner because she exhibits her quilting in shows from Riverhead to Orient. You can see her work at Cutchogue’s Old Town Art and Crafts Guild.

ELIQG has lots of classes. Some are taught by instructors from all over the country. For example, on June 1 there’ll be a lecture by Fran Kordek of West Virginia. Other classes are taught by guild members. May Watson of Greenport, as part of National Quilting Day weekend (March 12 and 13), will teach a class called Fanciful Fish-Fabric Collage. I saw the samples and I was hooked.

Want to see some of May’s work? Go to Southold Town Hall and check out the bicentennial quilt hanging in the lobby. May’s square depicts Greenport’s Floyd Memorial Library. A beauty!

Oh, I saw lots of beauty at the ELIQG meeting. Quilts, large and small, hung from clotheslines or were draped on racks. All a testament to the dedication and talent of so many quilters. I forgot completely my search for hammers and saws. North Fork needles and threads had won my heart — one small stitch at a time.

Ms. Lombardi is a resident of Cutchogue.



9 Comment

  • Was Ms. Copel misquoted, or did she actually say “…….what US as parents think they should do.”

  • The only problem I have with the “pressure” on children reg. school is the homework. I have three in High School and throughout their entire educational experience they’ve had homework at least 4 days of the week. My youngest is in 9th grade and involved in many activities after school including Blue Masques and track and will come home from practice at 6pm or later and still have a few hours of homework. I guess if she didn’t care about her homework quality it would only take an hour but she is just as proud of her homework as she is about everything else, that is why it takes so long. She’s very meticulous. Add to that the fact that she is up by 5:45 and out of the house by 6:45am everyday and you can see why I feel the way I do. She goes to bed as soon as she’s finished with everything but she is still exhausted. I’m exhausted watching her try to juggle all these activities and sometimes feel like I should insist that she drop something but on the other hand, you’re only in school for a short time and I want her to experience everything that she wants to do… of course if she didn’t “like” what she was doing she wouldn’t be doing it but still, kids in today’s world are pushed far harder than my or even my parents generation. Is it worth it? I guess we’ll know in 4 years when she graduates. In the meantime I’ll just keep my eyes on them and make sure I put a stop to it if I feel it’s getting out of hand.

  • There is more to life than just getting into a good school and we are placing way too much emphasis on being able to present a well-rounded resume on a college application. As a result, our kids are, or will be paying the price.

  • Sam, thanks for bringing up an issue that is on a lot of peoples minds today.

  • How to fix the problem: STOP requiring students to think that if they don’t go to college that they cannot be successful. STOP telling students that they HAVE to be stellar students in order to be successful. STOP teaching students to take tests that mean absolutely NOTHING and teach them the academic basics while incorporating life skills. This is the way that is was done MANY years ago. Let me preface by saying that I think sports and extra curricular activities are vital to a students education…with that said, my son plays 3 sports a year, by choice, not requirement. One sport a season because that is all any student can REALLY handle.
    Bottom line: Students can and have handled the “stress” of school for MANY years and most including myself handled it well. Life lessons include doing the best that you can at what you can do. NOT all students are athletes or even college material. The schools need to STOP putting undo stress on our children and go back to focusing on providing a good solid education that includes real academics and life skills and the ability to play sports or participate in extra curricular activities. By the time they graduate, if they want to be a plumber….so be it…great money it in! If they want to join the service, so be it…great job experience…If they want go into commercial fishing…so be it…people make plenty of money doing it. College is for the exceptional, not the norm….GET OVER IT.

  • I disagree with the viewpoint that “college is for the exceptional, not the norm.” Many an average student has found in college a pathway to interests and achievements he or she did not anticipate. While college isn’t for everyone, I don’t think that approaching the matter with a closed mind is the way to go.

  • It has nothing to do with a closed mind. We are training our children that the only way to be successful is to go to college. In order to get into college they have to hit certain milestones. This includes being involved and creating a resume. I am not opposed to that necessarily. The question is whether or not we put to much pressure on our children in high school. The answer is YES…but for all the wrong reasons. Students have been highly involved for generations in their educational years and most survive the process just fine. Like the student described in this article, I too was an active student, but learned to take on only the things that I truly was devoted to AND I worked almost full time as well. Rather than encouraged our children that it takes hard work in order to be successful, we allow them to become “overwhelmed” and make attempts to lighten the load while still given them the “rewards” of being exceptional. In turn, colleges now must lower their standards in order to accomodate “the norm” which is actually below average.
    Our children MUST be challenged, MUST be devoted and MUST have the opportunity to be successful in their own right.

  • I saw the movie and felt it was a wonderful conversation starter. One person in the movie said something to the affect of how kids are not preparing for college, they are preparing their college applications.
    My concern is all of our kids who are going to college – and taking out thousands of dollars in loans. (heaven forbid they don’t go to a “good” expensive college and mom can’t put the sticker on her back window!) Upon graduation, getting a job is very difficult and they are burdened with a huge loan(s) to pay back.
    I have observed that very few people I know are actually doing the job/profession they went to college for after High School. Think about it. What is your job/profession? Was it what you went to college for at age 18? I know a small handful of people who are…I know more who returned to college as adults.
    As a mom of 2 High School students, I am very aware of the reality of their futures and will guide them to the best of my ability.

  • The homework, especially at the middle school level, needs to be looked at.