In a year replete with celebratory programs and events to mark Canada’s 150th birthday, there are perhaps few projects that capture the Canadian spirit more than the undertaking the St. Albert Quilters’ Guild decided to throw their needles behind this year.
Ruth Adamchick, president of the local quilters guild, said the Canadian Quilters’ Association decided to create 1,000 quilts to go to Ronald McDonald House. “The only stipulation was that it would contain at least a piece of Canada quilt fabric.”
Since Ronald McDonald House provides a place for the families of hospitalized children to stay during their child’s treatment, the comforts of home are desperately needed. A warm, hand-made quilt can be a soothing sight. With plenty of experience creating pieces for charitable organizations, including the Zebra Protection Agency, Little Warriors and Quilts of Valour, the members of the St. Albert Quilters Guild were eager to contribute to this national call for quilts.
Reflectively, it’s easy to see how commemorating a milestone in the country’s history by helping where help is needed is truly a Canadian way of marking the occasion.
“There’s something in receiving a quilt, especially from an anonymous source, that makes you realize that people care,” says Adamchick. “I think that’s the biggest thing. To wrap yourself in a quilt that you knew took hours, time and patience, and the person didn’t know who you were, but cared enough to take that care and make [a quilt].
“In my understanding, my feeling about quilting, is it’s therapy – both for the quilter and the giftee, the person who receives it,” she said. “Because, for me, when I’m putting a quilt together, I’m also considering who is this for? And thinking about them and their suffering and wishing them well. It’s a form of prayer, it’s a form of spiritual connection with that person. So in the end, when that gets wrapped around them, you just think that that love comes through.”
The condition of having at least one square of Canada fabric was easy to fulfill – whether that be a pattern covered in beavers or maple leaves or hockey sticks – it simply had to have a Canadian connection. And considering the project was so accessible, in the final count, St. Albert’s quilters were able to pump out 42 pieces for the local Ronald McDonald House to distribute. On a national level, the Canadian Quilters’ Guild motivated the creation of over 2,600 quilts. A number well past their original goal of 1000.
To put that in perspective, Adamchick says that one finished quilt takes about 60 hours of work, whether that be one individual taking on the whole project or a work bee style situation where members work together to complete the piece. That means more than 2,500 hours of work went in to the 42 Canada-based creations produced here in St. Albert.
Adamchick points out that considering the organization’s long history of charitable quilt making, it doesn’t take much to get the guild going. “As things come up, if someone knows of a need somewhere, then they identify it to us and we get busy making quilts.”
How much more Canadian can you get?