Linnea Johnston says she wanted to challenge, inspire and get folks to just take a moment and think about freedom.
As challengers were working on their projects for the Quilts of Valor Contest at Ben Franklin Crafts & Frames, she asked that they remember that their quilt will be gifted to a local hero.
“The recipient of their quilt stood in harm’s way,” said Johnson, who heads the fabric department at Ben Franklin Crafts & Frames in Grass Valley.
“They left the wire to do patrols in over 130-degree heat. They lost buddies and came home with their war demons. Their quilt of valor should be quality made so that it can last a lifetime of daily use.”
Making quilts of valor is not about mass production, Johnston says, rather, it’s about honoring and comforting those who have served our nation while at war.
Ben Franklin Crafts & Frames, the Quilts of Valor Foundation and the Friends of Nevada County Military are striving to send a strong message of support from the community to deployed and returning troops and their families.
Johnston said the organizations will do so by covering combat service members and veterans touched by war with comforting and healing quilts of valor.
The 11 artists will gift their quilts to local heroes during a special ceremony in December through The Friends of Nevada County Military.
The contest started on July 4. Each entrant purchased a plain, brown paper-wrapped packet of fabric (tied together with a remnant cut from one of the fabrics). Enclosed in this packet were three fabric selections (one yard each) that must used in the quilt.
Each packet was unique, Johnston said. The entrant was allowed to add more and/or use different coordinating fabrics, but had to use the fabrics enclosed.
“Twenty-four packets went out,” Johnston said.
“I would have been happy with just one finished quilt coming back to gift to a veteran. Imagine my surprise when 11 beautiful quilts were turned in. I almost cried.
“I’m an Army brat — born at the Presidio in San Francisco, Dad served in Vietnam. This contest meant a lot to me, and I am so grateful that this community stepped up, took the challenge, and now 11 local heroes will be recognized and thanked for their service to our country.”
To qualify for the grand prize basket of gifts valued at more than $200, entrants had to meet the table of requirements and turn in the quilt to the fabric department of Ben Franklin Crafts & Frames in Grass Valley by Nov. 1.
The winner will be announced Monday, Nov. 11, which is Veteran’s Day.
If anyone would like to donate additional handmade quilts for The Friends of Nevada County Military, they can be dropped off at the Fabric Department at Ben Franklin Crafts & Frames.
Call 273-1348 for more information.