A bit of comfort


More than 20 women gather to sew pillows for oncology and breast-care patients at Franklin Memorial Hospital.

FARMINGTON – Women cut, sewed, stuffed and packaged pillows in a variety of colored material Wednesday to give to oncology and breast-care patients at Franklin Memorial Hospital.

More than 20 women, all members of the Franklin County Extension Homemakers, set up shop downstairs at the Farmington Municipal Building to participate in the Pillows for Caring project.

It was 11:30 a.m. and already five boxes were packed and they were working on a sixth with 2 hours left to work.

The goal was to make 50 U-shaped neck pillows and 50 square comfort pillows but they had already exceeded that by then, Lois King, co-chairwoman of the project, said Wednesday as she ran material for a neck pillow through her sewing machine.

Frogs, flowers, hats, cats and berries were among the decorations adorning the different materials from flannel to terry cloth to cotton.

People not able to help dropped off stuffing and material.

There are 11 homemakers’ groups in Franklin County with more than 180 members.

Most belong to county homemakers’ extension, a volunteer-based organization affiliated with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension.

“I’m always doing something,” Betty Snell of Strong said as she stuffed a pillow.

Her group in Strong, she said Wednesday, makes quilts for fire victims.

“We get to see people from different groups, Inez Wheeler of Chesterville said Wednesday as she cut edges of sewn material so it would lie flatter after it was stuffed.

“I enjoy any part of sewing. I do a lot of mending at home,” Marie Kohtala of Vienna said Wednesday as she worked alongside Wheeler.

“I like knitting,” Wheeler said. “I do a lot of mittens for schools.”

Claudia Bechtel of Weld was among those hand-sewing the pillows closed.

A woman put a stuffed pillow atop a pile already on the table.

“Oh no, more?” Bechtel asked as she pushed and pulled her needle.

The women plan to present the pillows to hospital representatives during their annual meeting Thursday, May 18, at the First Congregational Church in Farmington.