Southern Wake Quilters Guild

By | September 27, 2017

Dierdre presentsThis evening our guest speaker was Deirdre Jersey, president of Southern Wake Quilters Guild. Here are some of her remarks.
Southern Wake Quilt Guild was organized about 7 years ago to educate quilters, provide some fellowship just like Lions, and also to serve the community, just like Lions.
How can quilters serve the community? We have three chapters of outstanding national organizations – Quilts for Kids, Ryan’s Case for Smiles and Quilts of Valor. And most recently, one of our members has organized a group called Scrap Happy Quilters to take our scraps and make quilts for the homeless. That group is working with the 501C3, Church in the Woods serving Garner and south Raleigh.
Quilts for Kids is the most famous and perhaps the most popular group because who wouldn’t want to make a child’s hospital stay a little brighter with the gift of a quilt to take home. Plus, I’ll be honest, you can assemble a 40-46 inch quilt in a day. If you focus, you can get two tops done.
Quilt ModelsOur Chapter of Quilts for kids is run by two very enthusiastic quilters who are sisters, Bonnie and Vickie. It’s a family affair. They sort through donated fabric, invite quilters to cut kits and then distribute the kits wherever they can. Sometimes you can find them bowling for dollars to raise funds to purchase fabric. Southern Wake Quilters budgets $300 for their cause each year but in today’s marketplace that only buys about 25-30 yards of good quality quilting fabric.
Our guild members are some of the sewers but people from all over who know Bonnie and Vickie offer to help. Recently, I met a woman in her 90s who lives up Wake Forest way and she makes 12 quilts every week. She has a friend or family member drive her to Willow Spring to drop them off and pick up new kits. She is an angel.
This year over 1000 quilts were given to children hospitalized at UNC, Duke, (Triangle) ,Johnston Health, Levine’s Children’s Hospital (Charlotte and Jeff Gordan’s Children Hospital in Concord , and six other locations in eastern North Carolina. Two to three boxes of quilts per month are shipped to these hospitals at an average cost of $35 per box. Quilts for Kids relies on the generosity of individuals, corporations, and service organizations.
Each quilt takes approximately 3 yards of good quality cotton plus low-loft batting and a special Quilts for Kids label with a first name is applied so the children and their families know who was thinking of them. This year I’m challenging member to make at least two Quilts for Kids to be in a special President’s Drawing.
Ryan’s Case for Smiles has a slogan that says, “Helping Kids Feel Better so they can Heal Better.” And it’s a pillowcase – cheerful, graphic, funny, bright and sweet to lay on in a hospital bed. The cases each take a tad more than a yard of fabric but we mix and match as you can see from these examples. There’s the 27 inches of base fabric, then a contrasting three-inch flange and finally the nine-inch border, folded.
A hospital experience can be terrifying and traumatic for both a child and his or her family. Many of these young children are cancer patients or other traumatic illness or injury, and while others strive to find a cure, Ryan’s Case for Smiles helps with the stress and emotional impact of illness in the here and now. The whimsical pillowcases give children an emotional boost, while resources and tools help families better understand and cope with the experience.
Each month we are invited to sew evenings and Saturdays to either cut kits for these projects or sew them up. This year I’ll challenge our guild members to each make 5 for a special president’s prize at year-end.
Then Quilts of Valor – any veterans in the room? Thank you for your service.
The mission of the Quilts of Valor Foundation is to cover service members and veterans touched by war with comforting and healing Quilts of Valor.
Quilts of Valor Foundation began in 2003 with a dream, literally a dream. Founder Catherine Roberts’ son Nat was deployed in Iraq. According to Catherine:
The dream was as vivid as real life. I saw a young man sitting on the side of his bed in the middle of the night, hunched over. The permeating feeling was one of utter despair. I could see his war demons clustered around, dragging him down into an emotional gutter. Then, as if viewing a movie, I saw him in the next scene wrapped in a quilt. His whole demeanor changed from one of despair to one of hope and wellbeing. The quilt had made this dramatic change. The message of my dream was: Quilts = Healing
Catherine organized quilters – one or a group to sew a top and then one to quilt it – nowadays most quilts are quilted by “longarmers” because it’s fast and efficient.
The first QOV was awarded in November 2003 at Walter Reed Army Medical Center (WRAMC) to a young soldier from Minnesota who had lost his leg in Iraq. Catherine recalls:
Chaplain John Kallerson opened the door for us at Walter Reed primarily because his wife Connie Kallerson happened to be a quilter. She impressed upon him how comforting quilts can be. John also saw the value of awarding quilts to his wounded because of the message they carried – someone cares.
Through one of our Guild members we work closely with Military Missions in Action to identify recipients. If you don’t know MMA, you should invite them here to speak. I was honored in 2014 to be able to present three Quilts of Valor – one to a dear friend, National Guard Lt. Col. Sean Moser, retired who served two tours in Iraq; Captain John Dill, Army, two tours in Afghanistan and Mike Dorman, Coast Guard, retired and founder of Military Missions in Action.
Southern Wake Quilters enjoys an industrious and enthusiastic membership (82 currently), who donate their time, talent and treasures to making life a little brighter for those who may feel forgotten, and we do it “one quilt at a time.”