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August 24, 2013

Never too young to stitch

PLATTSBURGH — Elise Beauharnois, 6, stitched the seams of a sunflower-patterned place mat on her maternal great-grandmother’s vintage black Singer sewing machine.

Beside her, “meme” Anne Gillette Burke, offered gentle instruction.

Beauharnois’s sister, Rene, 8, was also piecing together a similar place mat with their other grandmother, “grammie” Mary Lou Beauharnois.

The basement-level room was filled with grandmothers and one aunt, members of the Champlain Valley Quilters’ of New York, teaching their granddaughters and niece the art of quilting.

The Cupcake Kids Sewing Circle zipped around selvages like they were born to it. Maybe, it’s just genetics.

The idea to establish the intergenerational-quilting guild was the idea of Velma Peryea of Altona.

“The reason we started this is because some of the quilters, just loving to quilt, wanted to get our grandchildren together to pass on our art,” Velma said. “And, we just did not ever seem to find the day to do it. I just thought, ‘Why don’t we start a junior guild because, as adults, we have so much fun in our guild?’ I just passed the word out and talked at the meetings. As you see, the grandmothers all stepped up.

“We have our beloved grandchildren with us. And an aunt — well, she’s like a grandmother — and she is going to be a grandma. This is how this started.”

The Cupcake Kids Sewing Circle’s goals include teaching basic-quilting techniques, enjoying the camaraderie of others their own age, taking a spin-off of everyone else’s likes and dislikes, and learning from each other.

“We went to a quilt shop,” Velma said. “To watch those girls grab fabric and put colors together, it was an absolute thrill. So, they’ve really bonded. We’re doing community projects. Now, we’re doing place mats for Meals on Wheels, and ARC also, and personal use.”

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