Local quilters join forces in effort to comfort Haitians | TheUnion.com

Local quilters join forces in effort to comfort Haitians

Scissors and sewing machines snipped and zipped at the Grass Valley Seventh Day Adventist Church as Nevada County residents raced to make quilts for homeless children in Haiti.

So far, they’ve stitched 79 quilts to send to earthquake victims, with more in progress at quilters’ homes. They’re part of a nationwide effort led by the nonprofit Project Linus to send 10,000 blankets homemade with love to the devastated Caribbean nation.

Forty women showed up at the church this week for two full days of quilting sessions, putting together thin layers suited to Haiti’s tropical temperatures. The pattern they used is simple enough that an experienced quilter can finish the project in an hour.

“It was very rewarding,” said Pine Tree Quilt Guild Chairwoman of Community Service Carol Phillips. “Everyone enjoyed doing something for Haiti.”

It’s the latest in a long list of service projects for the local quilters’ guild, which started in 1984 and claims 200 members in western Nevada County. The group gave 315 quilts last year to organizations, including Women of Worth and the county health department, as well as to fire victims.

Named for the character in Charles Schulz’s comic strip “Peanuts” who clings to a ragged blanket and sucks his thumb, Project Linus provides covers to needy people. A Nevada County chapter was founded in 2005 with the commitment to keep the donated blankets local.

When the national organization called for blankets to send to Haiti through the international “Heart to Heart” organization, chapter coordinator Susan Piper was torn.

“While our commitment to our Blanketeers is strong, my compassion for the children who are suffering in Haiti tugs at my heart,” she wrote to members.

Locals making blankets and quilts can specify if they want their project sent to Haiti or kept within the county.

The Adventist Church’s hall is well-suited for mass blanket-sewing operations. Filled with sewing machines, donated fabric, rotary cutters and other implements of construction, it accommodates community service quilting days about three times each month.

“It’s the perfect place, since we had the supplies and hall,” Phillips said.

She said people tend to stay on task during the marathon quilting sessions, but there’s always time for a bit of indulgence amid the charity.

“Everybody was really busy,” Phillips said. “But we always make sure we have chocolate.”

To contact Staff Writer Michelle Rindels, e-mail mrindels@theunion.com or call (530) 477-4247.

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