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Friendship Club not just about the quilt

Phyllis M. Sicoli of Niagara Falls has been a member of the Friendship Club of the YWCA of the Tonawandas for 10 years and has yet to complete a quilt.

"My husband says, 'You've been quilting for 10 years and you haven't made a quilt yet?' " she said, "[but] I come because I like the ladies here and I like to hang around with them."

She hastens to add, however, that from her home, she has finished a quilt -- a shower gift to her daughter-in-law.

The Friendship Club, a quilters group, is 22 years old and made up of a dozen senior citizens who are happy to welcome new members.

Participants usually craft quilts for YWCA fund-raisers. Last year, the group quilted a Christmas tree skirt and wine bottle holders.

Florence Bielaski joined the group shortly after it started, and said the club is about more than just quilts.

"We've been together so long that we've gone through births, deaths and divorces," said Bielaski. She said group members also go out on the town together.

"We get together once a year for quilt shows, Christmas parties. It's a social thing, too," she said.

Rose C. Ronwell of Niagara Falls was one of the organization's first members.

She decided to join because she wanted to learn how to quilt.

"Well, I saw the ad in the paper, anyone who's interested in learning how to quilt. I was a widow at the time too, so it gave me something do," Ronwell said. "So I learned from here.

"It's good therapy," she said. "We talk about our troubles or anything that comes up in our personal lives."

Florence S. Fike of North Tonawanda also was one of the first to join the group.

"I watched my husband's aunt and uncle quilt, and I figured if his uncle can do it then I can do it," said Fike, also a member of the Twin City Quilters.

Good work takes time.

Mary Schlau, of the City of Tonawanda, has been working on a quilt her granddaughter designed when she was 10. She is now 12.

"She put pictures of soccer balls on it and her soccer uniform," said Schlau, describing the design.

While bringing the creation to life, Schlau mistakenly put the wrong backing on the quilt.

As a result, what should have been one quilting project is two quilts, said Schlau, pointing to the nearly completed soccer quilt.

The group meets from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. Wednesdays in the YWCA of the Tonawandas, 49 Tremont St., North Tonawanda. Call 692-5580 for more information.

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