Sylvan Lake Quilters are continuing their tradition of supporting the community whenever possible.
They donated more than 100 baby quilts to the neonatal intensive care unit at Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre, last week.
That’s the biggest donation they’ve made to the unit since they began supporting it ten years ago. And it brings the total number of quilts they’ve donated to the unit to over 750.
“We’ve just made that part of our group where it’s important that we give back for all that we receive,” said Debbie Mieske, one of the group’s 28 members.
The generosity doesn’t end there, however. In addition to the blankets donated to the hospital, the group has also given quilts and blankets to seniors and youth homes and fundraising events.
Members deliver donations to the hospital twice a year — once in summer, and again in winter. They’ve recently begun making pillow cases, which are sent to the hospital’s children’s ward, along with the donation of baby quilts.
Giving back is simply part of what being a Sylvan Lake Quilter is all about, said Mieske, who, upon hand-delivering the donations herself, is given a sense of how much they mean to those who receive them.
“The parents, the look on their faces — they’re in awe,” she said. “It’s a nice feel-good thing to let them know they’re not alone.”
Each quilt takes about three hours to make if stitched by machine, longer if by hand.
One way isn’t necessarily better than the other, according to Mieske. Rather, it’s a matter of personal preference.
The group often receives help from community members and businesses who support its cause, said Mieske.
“We have people and businesses donating fabric or money when they hear what we’re doing,” she said.
The group meets the second Tuesday of every month at the community centre, where they discuss future events and projects.
Members gather regularly to work together, share ideas and provide feedback to one another. They also hold a bi-annual quilt show, which coincides with the town’s 1913 Days. Money raised from that event helps pay for fabric used in donated quilts.
The group has more than doubled in size since it began in 2003 with a dozen members, and its current number of 28 could grow further yet.
“We’re open to anybody who would like to join,” said Mieske.
Individuals with an interest in quilting are invited to partake in learning at the community centre Aug. 18 to 22. Classes will be offered for both children and adults.
More information is available by contacting group member Joyce Thrush at 403-887-3287.
“Most people that (quilt) do it out of a love for it,” said Mieske. “I quilt for my kids, my grandchildren and for myself. I do it because I love it.”