Elder sews blankets for Amerindian babies

by Glenda Williams

SUMMERDALE, Ala. (BNc) — Ralph Adams, elder for eight years at the Summerdale church, Summerdale, Ala., is a maker of baby blankets.

“I heard Jerry Davidson say he needed baby blankets for Guyana. My wife had crocheted for years, and I asked Jerry if he needed cloth blankets and he said he did. I knew that was something I could do. I came from a family of four boys and our mother always sewed,” stated Adams.

He buys good quality sheets at yard sales for $2-3 dollars each, or at stores with good discounts. People also give him material they aren’t going to use. One bedroom is so full of material that they can’t use the bed, he said. Adams cuts the material into strips 4″ x 39″ and alternating prints, or prints with solids, sews them together for his finished blankets, 36″ x 42″ or 42″ x 48.”

“They don’t have to be exact, and all the same size,” Adams stated.

Sometimes he cuts out rectangles 5 ½” x 7 ½” and sews them together, so all the blankets won’t look the same.

When asked what kind of machine he has, he quickly replied, “Oh, I have five machines.”

Adams has two set up in the kitchen, one on the table and the other in a cabinet close by. On one he sews the strips together, and the other has double needles to double stitch the blankets.

“I saw something one time that had double stitching and thought that would look good on the blankets,” Adams said.

Freddie and Ralph Adams met in December 1952, when both of them worked at NASA in Huntsville, Ala. He recalled how his boss told him to go down the hall and invite the girls to the Christmas party, and to bring their husbands. He did, and one girl spoke up and said, “She doesn’t have a husband,” referring to Freddie. Ralph said, “I responded by saying, ‘I’ll take care of her,’ and I’ve been taking care of her ever since.” They were married the following year on June 14, fifty-eight years ago. Adams and his wife have four children, two boys, two girls, and seven grandchildren.

When asked how they came to live in Summerdale, Ala., Ralph, who will be 79 on March 30, related how they always enjoyed going to Gulf Shores and Orange Beach on vacation. It seemed natural for them to retire in that area.

Ralph quickly admits that Freddie helps him with the blankets by giving advice on which colors look best together, or which color to use to line the blanket, and he does the sewing. He said if he gets up early before Freddie, he sews for thirty minutes or an hour. In the late afternoon he sews again, “a little bit each day.”

“I can make a blanket a day if I really want to,” Adams said.

When asked how many he has made in all, he replied, “I gave Jerry 45 the other day, and I’ve sent 63-64 already.” He said he sends some every four to six months.
Adams has been sewing the blankets for two or three years. Each blanket has an iron-on label with “Church of Christ, God loves you and so do we.”

Ralph and Freddie Adams have never been to Guyana. They have never seen a baby wrapped in a blanket that Ralph has sewn. Their undying love for the Lord, and the Amerindian babies in the Guyana villages urges them to press on. They heard of the need. They accepted the challenge and said, “Lord, here am I. I can do this, and I will.”

May their example encourage us to look for opportunities to use our talents and abilities for the Lord, and to say “Here am I, Lord. Send me.”

Barbara has been involved in missions for over 25 years, both in the field and in publishing.

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2 Comments

  1. bamagirl1960

    What an inspiring story, thanks for sharing! May you be blessed with the health that will enable you to continue sharing the love of God via your blankets. God Speed! your sister in Christ, Jeanette Raine Wellington, New Zealand

    ps Peace Toatelegese has started a knitting/quilting effort for the premature babies born at the Wellington Hospital. It has brought several of the women together sharing and nurturing one another from all ages, so is not only the love of God being shared by this effort the fellowship is growing among the sisters here in Wellington. Go Peace and all those that helped her make it happen.

  2. cindywelker

    I personally know these folks. They are a beautiful couple who love the Lord! What a blessing to see what they are doing in their “Golden Years”. Love them dearly!!!

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