While it can be tough to honestly appraise one's own work, the quilting group that meets each Monday afternoon at Zion Lutheran Church in Egg Harbor City knows their handiwork may not win prizes anytime soon.
Only one member of the quartet had any experience with the craft before joining the group, and in their three years together, they have only once placed in competition, as runners-up.
Their stitching may occasionally be uneven, and their edges sometimes frayed, but these mistakes are their identity, giving rise to the oft-repeated, three-word refrain from which the group derives its name.
"It was just before Christmas (three years ago) and we were doing things, and we were laughing so much, because if there was a mistake, the first thing we said was, 'It doesn't matter,'" group member Sigrid Ware said. "It doesn't matter."
But one thing that does matter to the It Doesn't Matter Quilters is helping out.
For three years, they have dedicated much of their summer meetings to making quilts and crafts for the A Spot of Teal quit show and fundraiser in Williamstown, held Sept. 28-29, and again participated this year. The group's entry fee will go to support the A Spot of Teal Organization.
The name of this year's quilt is "TEAL Mountains" and the quilt, imperfections and all, is made up of elements symbolic of the battle against cancer. There are plateas, which represent the stages of treatment, and cliffs, which represent the perils along the way. Even the imperfections and flaws in the quilt add to the tableau.
"Everything that can go wrong in a quilt can go wrong in life, but that doesn't mean you can't end up with a beautiful quilt - or end up beating cancer," group member Lin Weinbaum said.
In addition to exhibiting the quilt, Weinbaum sold a variety of crafts, made by the group, at the event. They donated their proceeds to a member of the Zion Lutheran congregation who is fighting cancer; the total amount raised was not yet available.
Weinbaum, the only member of the group with prior quilting experience, is its de facto leader. She has been sewing since age 8, she said, and is a descendant of Amish and Mennonites, who are prolific quilters.
A few years ago, Weinbaum had an ovarian cancer scare of her own. Her daughter had severe cramps, a common symptom of ovarian cancer, but an evaluation by a specialist showed that they were instead caused by a strangulated ovary, she said.
Teal is to ovarian cancer what pink is to breast cancer, and for this fundraiser, it serves as an acronym from Take Early Action and Live, because early detection and quick action can reduce the death toll of this disease.
"I'm going to be bringing brochures and paperwork back for the ladies here, that women don't have to die from this any more," Weinbaum said.
The quilting group is made up of just four ladies, and they are always looking for new members. Experience is not necessary, and while quilting is a focus, the group is more than that.
"We do road trips, we go to lunch, we do all kinds of things," Weinbaum said. "It's not just quilting - we shop together, pick out the fabric together."
The It Doesn't Matter Quilters meet Mondays from 1 to 3 p.m., and the church also hosts a sewing group Tuesday mornings from 9 to noon. Those interested need not be church members to join.
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