Heartland! The year that was…
This past year has been a very eventful one for the Heartland Quilters. Firstly, this group of twelve quilters made a grand total of 184 quilts! Think about that! Because of the work we did while we were having a great time, 184 people will receive a homemade gift that will warm them physically and emotionally and encourage them to know that others are making an effort to help them. Great job, right? While some quilts were held back for the 2018 quilt show (more on that later), the remainder were donated to five different charities – Siloam Mission, Quilts of Valor, Project Linus, Steinbach Family Resource Center, and MCC. The quilts for MCC will quite possibly leave the province for parts of the world that are experiencing distress, but the others are guaranteed to stay in Manitoba.
But wait! I’m getting ahead of myself!
We meet in September and have an amazing first day with a ‘show ‘n’ tell’ where we show off the quilts that have been made during the summer months. This, of course, has been done around the grandmothering and gardening that many of us enjoy, as well.
A special treat in October of this year occurred when Fiona McMillin came to us from Maple Cabin Quilts in Calgary and shared a new version of the churn dash pattern. Prior to her coming, the members took home coordinated fabrics and made churn dash squares. Fiona showed us how to change up the pattern to create something different. What a treat to have her here with us.
One event that the group looks forward to with great anticipation each year would be our in-house, members only quilt retreat in the middle of February. For two days, we start early in the morning, and work until mid afternoon, either working on a quilt project or learning a new technique.
This year we had one of our members, Yvonne, show the group how to do a ‘quilt as you go’ project. We all agreed, this technique has great potential. Here, Nell arranges the squares on the design wall.
Each year, the group is given a challenge to make a quilt that presents an opportunity for ingenuity, with parameters, and with a deadline of the next annual retreat. These quilts are displayed in the Playhouse on that weekend and the quilters are given the opportunity to adjudicate the quality of the finished project, according to the specific guidelines offered with each year’s individual and unique challenge. The quilt with the highest score is the quilt offered in the next raffle.
We eat together, laugh together, maybe play a game or two, and share stories. We leave on the second day, fatigued, but with a smile on our faces.
Fund raising takes up a huge amount of time, but we try to tie it in to the work we are already doing. As everyone who quilts knows, there are frequently left over quilt blocks when a quilt is done. These can be finished as pot holders. Little bits, or 5 inch squares can be turned into mug rugs (or coffee cup coasters). Some people are craftier than others, and they make surprising sale items. If these things are done shortly after a quilt is finished, the pile of ‘what will I do with this’ gets a lot smaller.
We appreciate the opportunity to get out into the community with the Clearspring Christmas Craft Sale in November. We choose an item to raffle and raise a bit of money with the ticket sales, and offer the craft items as affordable Christmas gifts.
The RM of Ste Anne has also graciously gifted Heartland with a grant. We are so thankful to have good people who see the validity in what we do and that stand behind us in this way.
We are grateful to the MCC for their generosity in gifting us with a grant. This comes to us in December, and believe me when I say these gifts are well used.
In February, the Steinbach Game and Fish invited us to participate in their annual banquet by donating a quilt. For this effort we received a lovely donation, as well as the ticket sales generated on this item. We thank you!
Early in March, we were contacted by Steinbach Family Resource Center to make a quilt for them that could be raffled off at the Hy-Life Fun Days Fundraiser. This was held on March 17 and 18 at LaBroquerie. This enabled them to receive a grant from Hy-Life. We were so pleased to support them this way.
In May of 2017, we held a Mother’s Day Raffle (tickets were sold, and the draw took place at Clearspring Mall), where the quilt chosen as winner of the 2017 Heartland Quilt Challenge raised a tidy sum for us. Other items were a culinary gift, and a spa gift.
Last May (2016), the quilters got together and presented a Quilt Show & Sale at the Quarry Oaks Golf and Country Club. With over 130 quilts of all sizes, we offered the community a chance to see what this group was making and sending to people who might be in need of the kind of comfort that comes only with a quilt. Driven to Sew was the only vendor we had room to accommodate, and in turn she offered up a gift for the ‘White Elephant Sale’. Ticket sales, craft sales and the white elephant ticket sales, combined with the proceeds from the raffle quilt raised enough cash to purchase some of the cotton fabric, batting and flannel we need to accomplish our purpose.
About this time, we realized that we would need to provide our own quilt racks, so we started looking for an affordable price. Imperial Metal Industries graciously offered a price we couldn’t refuse, and our resident welder put together an amazing set of racks. We then turned to Monarch Industrial Coatings to finish them off with a powder coating. Another bonus price. Thank you, Kelly Friesen, Harry Toews and Joe Gawronsky.
We hope to offer a quilt show in 2018, so please watch Quilt Manitoba for information on the date and venue for our next quilt show. We will also advertise in quilt shops and the local newspaper, and promise better signage on the best route to take to find us.
During this last year, Heartland Quilters have been busy making quilts for Siloam Mission for their Exit Up Program. We’ve almost completed that objective, and so this year at Siloam’s Annual Thank You Breakfast, Heartlander’s were awarded a Certificate of Appreciation. We are quite pleased with this recognition.
Also, just recently, we said goodbye to Ms Sherry Torchinsky, the lovely woman who originally set up our web page. She and her family have been posted to Ottawa and I think they will be very busy for quite a while getting settled in to their new neighborhood. Thank you, Sherry.
While we as quilters love what we do, the fact remains that we could not do as much without the generous support of family, friends and neighbors who donate their time, their fabric, and financial support. We thank all of you who partnered with us in whatever way you were able. While we cannot receipt fabric or time, all monetary gifts of over $20.00 will be extended a receipt for tax purposes.