Marie Senechal finished 250 quilted blankets for 2020 and has already given them all away to the children. It takes Marie at least 12 hours to finish a quilt and sometimes more if it has many small pieces to cut. For 2020, Marie spent 3,000 hours on her sewing machine making blankets of love for the children. She is a woman on a mission!
Bundles were given out to St. Matthews House, Golisano Children’s Hospital, The Shelter for Abused Women and Children, Al’s Pals, and Our Daily Bread Food Pantry. In a “normal” year, she would have 200 blankets.
By January first, Marie’s quilt pile is empty except for one blanket – a symbol that everything had been given out. But she always keeps one so the “chair” does not look empty. This hallway chair holds an ever–growing stack of blankets year-round.
According to Marie, it takes at least 12 hours to finish a quilt, and sometimes more. A crazy quilt takes longer since the cloth pieces are irregular with 100 or more pieces and no set pattern – anything goes.
It won’t be long before that pile grows taller; she is already preparing a Valentine’s Day bundle. But Marie needs to slow down per doctor’s orders. With too much sitting down in 2020, her back has been acting up. But she has been knitting more since this is something that she can do while lying in bed.
Marie does not drive a car but she gets around the Island on her motorized scooter, which she named “Bentley.” She uses Bentley to go to her physical therapy appointments twice a week, to go to the pharmacy and Winn Dixie, and just to get out. She loves to be outdoors and during COVID, it is her connection to the outside world and nature. With her motorized scooter, she can enjoy the beautiful cloud formations and winter blooms and count the Ibises and the birds on the rooftops. But more important to Marie is the daily connection with people – even from a distance. Even on a cold day, she would have on three layers and off she goes with Bentley.
Marie, at almost 92 years young, does not see herself slowing down. Quilting is her consuming passion, and she is thankful to friends who keep her supplied with thread, cut pieces of cloth and batting materials.
In 2020 Marie was awarded Marco Island’s Foundation of the Arts (MIFA) 2020 Artist of the Year. Her home is a gallery of her art pieces. Marie also considers her quilted blankets works of art.
Marie does have a life outside of quilting. She is an active member of the Catholic Council of Woman at San Marco Catholic Church and a member of the Marco Island Woman’s Club.