When you are an avid quilter, but have run out of friends and family to make quilts for, what do you do?
For two women in Nakusp, the answer was easy: make quilts for those in need.
For the last two years Marilyn McKinnon and Anne Barrington have made and sent quilts to the Society of St. Vincent de Paul in Prince George. The society is an international lay Catholic service organization dedicated to helping anyone in need. When the pair decided to make the quilts, they had one goal in mind, which was to use only material that was donated.
“We’re using scrap fabric that is donated, or that Anne and I have,” said McKinnon. “We’re going through our stash for the middle part, for the batting, and I’m piecing it all together, so nothing is being purchased, it’s purely time.”
When they started making the quilts, they wanted to donate the quilts to an organization close by, but they ran into a problem. None of the places they called wanted the quilts.
“I phoned three places, and they wouldn’t accept them,” said Barrington. “Then I phoned St. Vincent de Paul, and they were ecstatic.”
About 33 quilts were sent in last year, and about the same amount will be sent this year. Along with the quilts they made to be sent up north, McKinnon and Barrington are also making quilts for those in need in Nakusp.
They received a donation of several bags of jeans from the local thrift store that couldn’t be sold. They cut the legs off, washed them, cut the pieces into squares, and made them into what are called tied quilts. It’s one of the old fashioned forms of quilting. The denim is put together, flannel is put on the back, and the material is then tied together.
McKinnon and Barrington have been in discussion with Anne Misculin at the Arrow and Slocan Lakes Community Services, and it was agreed that the two women would sell raffle tickets for one of their quilts during the annual Stuff The Bus event for the local food bank. All proceeds raised from the raffle would then be donated to the food bank.
Last year, Barrington took the quilts up herself, because she and her husband were visiting family in the area.
“When I brought them up last year, and told the lady that myself and Marilyn had done them, she cried,” said Barrington. “It was the first time ever that someone did something like that for them.”
This year, the quilts will be taken up by her stepson, who is a priest in Prince George.
When asked why the women wanted to send the quilts up north, the answer was a simple one.
“We’re hoping to look after some people up there, and some people down here,” Barrington concluded. “I don’t think we can do any more.”