Thread My Needle quilting

Daniel Dye / The Herald

Jacqueline Lacey, left, and Martha Piner work on a new quilt during a Tuesday meeting of Thread My Needle at the Elmore County Black History Museum.

Jacqueline Lacey and her group of friends have been quilting together since 1997. 

It is a passion they all found long before they formed Thread My Needle.

The group started out meeting at Lacey’s home. Come 1998, their workspace increased when the Elmore County Black History Museum asked if the women would like to work at the building.

The group has met nearly every Tuesday to quilt and for fellowship.

Lacey said she was exposed to the art form when she was a young girl.

“I’ve been interested in quilting ever since I was tall enough to see what my momma and those ladies were doing,” she said.

Martha Piner has been part of the group since the beginning.

The group had up to 20 but today it is down to four founding members and a few new additions.

“Most of the members have passed away,” Piner said. 

Lacey said the name of the group came about at one of the first meetings at her home.

“I decided I’d go up the hall and bring some more thread to work with,” she said. “One of the ladies who passed on told another lady, ‘Thread my needle.’ I thought that would be a good name. I didn’t say anything until the next Tuesday. That’s how we got our name.”

The group has enough material to quilt for many years, Lacey said.

“One of the ladies who used to quilt with us passed away recently,” Lacey said. “Her daughter brought all of this (material) to us last month. We got stuff here to last for years.”

The women of Thread My Needle are concerned about the future of the group due to their ages and the lack of interest from younger generations.

“The elementary school in Wetumpka would come over and we would do little squares and teach them,” Piner said. “We’ve been down to Carver Elementary and did presentations. We’ve been to the Alabama State Archives and had some presentations with the children that came through.”

The group hopes the interest from those events and the recent Dickens Christmas event held in downtown Wetumpka will draw more interest.

“That’s the big question,” Piner said. “How can we get more people involved? The ones who are creative and love art would enjoy this. The ones that love history, they would be interested in this.”

Lacey agreed the artistic skills involved in creating unique quilts and the history continued in each quilt could draw interest among younger people. 

“The main thing we hope is the younger people will continue quilting,” she said. “This art started with the Underground Railroad and we want this art to stay going.”

Thread My Needle meets 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. every Tuesday at the Elmore County Black History Museum.